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Russian conductor Spivakov renounces award from Lukashenka

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Vladimir Spivakov / culture.ru​

Russian conductor Vladimir Spivakov has given up the Order of Francysk Skaryna, which he received from Alyaksandr Lukashenka in 2014. Spivakov's open letter was recently published by the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

Spivakov wrote that Lukashenka awarded him with the Order for Special Services in the field of humanitarian and charity activities, achievements in the national and state revival, in the protection of human dignity and rights of citizens of Belarus. "Apparently, at that time these concepts were still close to you. Today I still share these values, but not with you, the ruler who created the living conditions for his people incompatible with humanism and democracy," he writes.

According to the conductor, "obscurantism, tyranny, violence and endless examples of extreme cruelty, with which the authorities suppress the will of many citizens across the country," reign on Lukashenka's "holiday" today.

Spivakov recalls that he has repeatedly performed in Minsk and other cities of Belarus. Recently our country celebrated the 10th anniversary of the "Vladimir Spivakov invites you" festival.

"Today my heart beats in tune with the people of the Republic of Belarus who rightfully demand observance of basic rights and freedoms, including the rights to peaceful protests. Therefore, in this situation, I am forced to abandon the Order that you awarded me with earlier. I am ashamed to wear it, as it is related to your reign. Your "black" power is your great weakness. People are born to be loved, not humiliated, let alone maimed," the artist says.

The decree to award Vladimir Spivakov with the Order of Francysk Skaryna was signed by the Belarusian leader in February 2014 -- just before the 70th birthday of the maestro.