A Finnish Official Plays the Cello to Support Ukraine, Irking Russia

Finnish Minister for European Affairs Anders Adlerkreutz, a longtime critic of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, accused Russian President Vladimir V. Putin of leading a “mad war” and urged Western powers to go to Kiev. He called for the tanks to be sent.

On Sunday, Adler Kreutz tried a different tactic. He posted a video on social media of himself playing a patriotic Ukrainian song on his cello to mark the 500th day of the conflict. The video also shows images of bombed buildings alongside phrases like “unspeakable aggression” and hopeful symbols such as fields of sunflowers and doves taking flight.

Adler Kreutz said in an interview, “I wanted to give comfort to Ukrainians here in Finland and elsewhere, and make it clear that they were not neglected and that their culture, music and language were not forgotten.” I wanted to do it,” he said.

Surprisingly, the video garnered over a million views on various platforms and was inundated with comments from Ukrainians who were moved by its performance.

Russian officials attempted to depict the video as part of the West’s efforts to sway public opinion ahead of this week’s NATO meeting attended by President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. (Finland became the 31st member of the alliance in April, a strategic defeat for Putin.)

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reportedly appeared on television this week, denouncing the NATO meeting as a “glamorous performance” based on “the worst traditions of Western manipulation.” Russian news coverage. She continued, “Finnish government ministers are recording cello solos to help Ukraine.” Russia has been very critical of Finland’s entry into NATO in recent months. saying It has “lost its independence”.

The video features the Ukrainian song “Red Viburnum in the Steppe” written during World War I, which has long been associated with Ukraine’s war for independence.

Since the invasion, the song has emerged as a popular anthem to the Ukrainian cause. A few days after the war began, Ukrainian musician Andriy Kryvnyuk of the band Boombox recorded a defiant performance with a rifle pointed to his chest.

Last year, Pink Floyd released a reworked version of the song featuring Kryvnyuk to raise money for the Ukrainian people, the first new song in almost 30 years.

Since the invasion, Ukrainians have used music to draw attention to their suffering, following a tradition of improvisation by civilians in conflict zones, the Balkans, Syria and beyond. Last year, a cellist played Bach in the middle of a deserted street in Kharkov against the blown-out windows of the regional police headquarters.

Adler Kreutz, who began studying cello at the age of 11, said he was inspired by Ukrainian musicians, including Kryvnyuk. He recorded “Red Viburnum in the Meadow” at the Parliament Building in Helsinki in February, playing various musical lines which he later mixed.

He said it was important to use culture to draw attention to Ukraine.

“I tell the Ukrainians that we see you, we know you, we support you, we have not forgotten where you came from and what you are going through. I want to send a message that,” he said. “We can easily forget about war, but this is a message we really need to repeat.”

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