Press release from Ministry of Culture

Sweden’s cooperation with Russian and Belarusian cultural actors


Sweden condemns in the strongest possible terms Russia’s unprovoked, illegal and unjustifiable aggression against Ukraine. Russia’s actions are an attack on the European security order, and European countries now stand in solidarity with Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Extensive sanctions have been imposed in a short period of time against Russia and the Russian central government. The Government is now continuing to push for sanctions against Russia, support to Ukraine and strengthening Sweden.

“Culture plays a key role for freedom of expression and democratisation, not least in times of war. Support must therefore be given to those who voice support for democracy, including artists, journalists and cultural actors. That’s why as Minister for Culture, it is one of my top priorities to support free speech, artistic freedom and individual artists and journalists in every way that the Government and I can,” says Minister for Culture Jeanette Gustafsdotter.

The following applies regarding cultural cooperation between Swedish cultural institutions and public authorities and Russia and Belarus:

  • The Government encourages immediately stopping all contacts and cooperation with state institutions in Russia and Belarus, and that no new contacts or undertakings be initiated.

  • There are, however, individual contacts between cultural actors in Sweden, Russia and Belarus. Many individual cultural actors, journalists and artists in Russia and Belarus are part of a grassroots and sometimes open opposition to the Russian central government and its actions. It is not possible to equate individual Russian and Belarusian cultural actors with state institutions and categorically urge breaking all contacts with cultural actors.

  • The Government’s starting point is that Swedish cultural institutions and public authorities ensure, in each individual case, whether potential individual contacts and cooperation are appropriate. We encourage Swedish cultural institutions and public authorities to take particular account of the security policy aspects of such cooperation.

  • The recommendation from the Government is that Swedish cultural institutions and public authorities should maintain a very strict position regarding payments, managing applications, implementing projects, concluding agreements, etc. that involve Russian and Belarusian recipients.

Press contact

Tora Heckscher
Press Secretary to the Minister for Culture Jeanette Gustafsdotter
Phone (switchboard) +46 8 405 10 00