Last week, the Mayor of Vilnius, Remigijus Šimašius, posted on Facebook about how the Estonian concert organizer Artmusic was trying to get permission to organize a Kremlin history-themed propaganda spreading concert entitled “Songs of Freedom” in May 2020 in Vilnius’s central square.
A letter sent to Šimašius asked for permission to hold a free concert featuring two collectives – the Soprano Ensemble and the Turetski Choir. The letter states that the „Unity songs“ concert series has already taken place in eight cities around the world during 2018 and they wish to organize similar events in Vilnius, Riga and Tallinn in 2020.
In his posting, Šimašius points out that the letter requesting permission does not mention anything about the origin of the performers or the financing of the concert. Fortunately, Lithuanians are used to and rather mistrustful of these types of similar ventures and searched out the information that had been left out of the requesting letter.
The project website indicates that the venture is a joint venture between the City of Moscow, the Russian Ministry of Culture and the Russian Foreign Ministry that took place in Rome, Paris, Washington, New York, Toronto, Warsaw and elsewhere in 2018.
Looking at the website, there is no doubt that it is a rather vigorous Kremlin propaganda event that is in reality a Trojan horse that is being organized in various cities around the world. The pictures on the website make it clear that the concert is closely intertwined with Russia’s biased historical ideology. At the center of the concert are large red stars, St. George ribbons and Soviet military paraphernalia. The intensity of their use is varied according to the location of the event, being at times cautiously reserved and at other times more significantly blatant.
The mayor’s Facebook posting also features a letter written in Lithuanian by Zoja Goor, the director of the concert agency Artmusic, which reveals the plan of the event.
Zoja Goor has been active in Estonia for a long time and has brought Russian entertainment to Estonia. She has organized concerts in Estonia among others for Filipp Kirkorov, Iosif Kobson, Valery Leontiev, the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra and other concerts. She has also previously brought the afore mentioned Turetsky choir to Estonia.
The concert series is a rather blatant version of the Kremlin’s assault of soft power where this Trojan horse is being played out in various cities. The letter revealed that concerts are planned to take place in Tallinn, Riga and Vilnius.
It was not clear from the Tallinn City Registry of Documents whether permission has already been sought to distribute Russian propaganda in Tallinn.
Propastop will keep an eye on the situation and will report immediately on any further developments.
Photos from the concert series website