Dmitry Ozerkov, who headed the contemporary art department at the Hermitage Museum, has left his post and the country. He explained his decision by saying he didn’t want “to do anything with today's Russia”. Ozerkov's post, in English, has been published on his Instagram page, and here is a fragment:
After Russia sent its troops to Ukraine, dialogue and respect ceased to mean anything in Russia, the news has been replaced by propaganda that says nothing about Russian armed forces to be accused of numerous crimes against the civilian population. As a Russian citizen I saw this shame as my own fault too and I shared this opinion. Then my choice was to stop doing anything in and for today’s Russia. I left the posts of the head of the ITMO’s A&S program, of the curator of Zifergauz, of the curator of MastersDigital and other local projects. I quit the City Council for Culture under the Governor of St. Petersburg.
I salute all for whom the Greek word Exodus, used by the writers of the Septuagint, has become the only possible way out of the current situation. Russia squeezed out all of us who wanted nothing but good to its culture.”
In his post Ozerkov says he decided to leave after the war began, but made the final decision after the interview with the museum's general director was published.
In June, Hermitage director Mikhail Piotrovsky said in an interview that with the help of the war in Ukraine, Russia was making “great global transformations” and that war was “the self-affirmation of people, the self-affirmation of the nation.”
“We have been retreating, retreating, now we are not retreating. A turn has been made. And it is already clear that it’s the final one. Everything started in 2014 in Crimea. Crimea created a situation where it was no longer possible to do otherwise, we had to turn around,” Piotrovsky said.
Piotrovsky's interview was published in Rossiyskaya Gazeta under the title “Why it is necessary to be with your country when it makes a historic turn and choice”.