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Russian Ballet Funds Deaths of Ukrainian Children

July 15, 2023 | 0 Comments

What: A peaceful protest against South African cultural cooperation with russia. Inviting russian performances to South Africa contributes and normalises the russian violence against Ukrainian civilians, particularly women and children

Where: Outside the Artscape Theatre in Cape Town (D.F. Malan St, Foreshore, Cape Town, 8001) 

When: 12 until 23 July

We, the Ukrainian Association of South Africa, call on the South African Art and Cultural Institutions to immediately and unequivocally condemn russia’s colonial war on Ukraine and to stop any cultural cooperation with russia and its artists. We appeal to South African writers, artists, musicians and other personalities to terminate all links with russian artists until the russian military forces are withdrawn from the Sovereign territory of Ukraine and  Ukrainian borders are restored in full. 

Supporting russian-registered ballet companies before russia ends its aggression on the territory of Ukraine, financially and directly contributes to the daily bombings of Ukrainian civilians. In addition, supporting russian ballet dancers before they openly speak out against the russian military aggression means supporting the torture, rape, and executions of dozens of Ukrainian artists.


Since 2020, the Swan Lake performance in South Africa was presented as a product of St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre (SPBT). In 2023 (since the war initiated by russia on Ukraine’s territory), the performing company’s title was taken down and  changed to “A Truly International Company” with “South Africa’s Finest Musicians”. Additionally, Artscape and Computicket’s web pages do list the name of the performing company. But make no mistake, the cast of the performance is the same (Irina Kolesnikova, as Prima Ballerina of the SPBT and Margarita Avdeeva, as the soloist of the SPBT). The messaging from SPBT is the same as well. In order to divert attention from this (and perhaps fool the South African public), and right before their performance, the presenting company registration suddenly changed to an Australia-based company.


Truth remains, that no matter how they position themselves now, the St. Petersburg Ballet Theatre (SPBT)  is registered in russia, pays taxes to the russian government and  has a long history of cooperating with the russian government and russian military. Neither the company nor any of its ballet dancers have formally condemned the russian atrocities in  Ukraine and have not condemned the killings of Ukrainian civilians by the russian army.

For 500 days now, Russia has used  cruel military aggression against the sovereign Ukraine, threatened the world with a nuclear attack, and increased hunger and poverty on the African continent, all in violation of the UN Charter, Human Rights, Nuclear safety, and all moral and ethical norms. 

Russian aggression against Ukraine has targeted Ukrainian Identity:

  • UNESCO has verified damage to 260 historical Ukrainian sites
  • Over 60 Ukrainian ballet dancers and artists were killed including the soloist of the National Opera House of Ukraine, ballet dancer Oleksandr Shapoval
  • Russians tortured and executed dozens of Ukrainian artists specifically for having a pro-Ukrainian position
  • 9 theatres have been deliberately destroyed by the russian army. On March 16, 2022, Russians reduced the Theatre in Mariupol to rubble killing as many as 600 people, women and children, hiding inside.

In the past, Ukraine has supported the cultural boycott of Apartheid South Africa and since 1963 offered refuge to hundreds of South African freedom fighters. Ukraine played a critical role as a chair and deputy chair of the Anti-apartheid UN committee. In 1958, the ANC called for the cultural boycott of Apartheid South Africa and in 1980 a boycott –A Great Moral and Positive Weapon‘ was used at the international level. The UN General Assembly requested all states to prevent all cultural, academic, sporting, and other exchanges with South Africa, and appealed to writers, artists, musicians, and other personalities to terminate all links with South Africa. Ukraine and Ukrainians were not silent nor neutral at the time of Apartheid.

The consequences of the Russian invasion have already hit the most vulnerable people in South Africa with the increased fuel prices, food shortages, financial instabilities, and the reduction of funds for development. 

The Ukrainian Association of South Africa appeals to all SA art and culture communities to heed their social responsibility, and to stand up against Russian military aggression.

We call on the South African Art and Cultural Institutions to make their voices heard and reaffirm the values of human rights, dignity and respect for international law, as well as the principle of national sovereignty, all  cornerstones of South Africa’s Constitution. 


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” (Desmond Tutu)

#StandForFreedom #StandWithUkraine #StopRussianAggression

For more information please contact us: 082 722 7231 or 076 735 5501 Kate; or e-mail to [email protected]. www.uaza.co.za