RIA Novosti: Putin warns against moves to close Ukrainian library in Moscow

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(RIA Novosti – December 25, 2015)

Vladimir Putin has intervened in the case of the Library of Ukrainian Literature in Moscow, whose director is in custody and facing charges of inciting hatred, RIA Novosti news agency reported on 25 December.

Natalya Sharina was held on 28 October when the Investigations Committee carried out a search of the Library and found “Russophobic” publications. Her arrest and the charges against her have since been described as “disgraceful” and “absurd” by the head of the Russian Presidential Human Rights Council, Mikhail Fedotov (see “Russia: Head of Ukrainian library in Moscow detained” and “Arrest of Ukrainian library director is ‘disgrace’ – Russian rights council head”, by BBC Monitoring on 29 Oct and 5 Nov 15).

“One thing we must definitely pay attention to is the Library and it should not, of course, be lost, absolutely not,” Putin said during a meeting with the Presidential Council for Culture. Russian and Ukrainian literature share much in common “and! we must of course preserve this”, he said.

The accusations against Sharina are based on the Library’s possession of works by Ukrainian authors that, in the opinion of the Investigations Committee, amount to “anti-Russia and anti-Russian propaganda”. She is under house arrest, which on 25 December was extended by a court in Moscow until 28 January, RIA Novosti said.