Movement Detroit: Russian DJ Nina Kraviz no longer performing at music festival

Local Ukrainian community asked Kraviz denounce Putin ahead of performance

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 03: Nina Kraviz performs at The Barn Stage on Day 1 of Field Day Festival at Victoria Park on June 3, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Lorne Thomson/Redferns) (Lorne Thomson, 2017 Lorne Thomson)

DETROIT – Russian DJ Nina Kraviz will no longer perform at Detroit’s Movement Electronic Music Festival next weekend, event organizers announced Thursday, two days after local Ukrainians issued a letter demanding the DJ to denounce Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kraviz, who has an international presence, was scheduled to perform at the Downtown Detroit electronic music festival on Sunday, May 30, just ahead of headliner Jeff Mills. Event organizers announced Thursday that the Russian DJ and producer is now “unable to play Movement this year.”

The announcement comes just days after members of Metro Detroit’s Ukrainian community issued a public letter to Kraviz, asking her to denounce her home country’s president amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. The group claims that Kraviz has been largely silent on the issue, and that the musician has previously shown support for Putin on social media, referencing two specific posts from 2014 and 2016.

“You have previously expressed open support for Putin, including via statements made shortly after his annexation of Crimea in 2014, and in subsequent social media posts,” the letter to Kraviz reads. “You continue to tour and perform, profiting in democratic countries, while Ukrainian civilians suffer and die daily at the hands of the Russian Federation for the same freedoms that allow your livelihood.

“You have spoken of the evils of racial injustice and the need to combat climate change, yet remain silent on the murder of thousands of Ukrainians carried out by your countrymen,” the letter continues. “Your vague Instagram video posted in February depicting the word “peace” ignores that Russia bears full responsibility for this war.”

Click here to read the entire letter.

The Ukrainian community’s letter, which was shared as a petition, garnered more than 800 signatures as of Friday, May 20.

At around the same time Ukrainian community issued the letter to Kraviz, the DJ posted a statement on her Facebook page, saying she has never supported “politicians or political parties,” and doesn’t “understand politics and the social processes it creates. So I don’t think it is right to talk about what’s happening on social media.”

“I have always believed that the mission of music and musicians, electronic music, techno and house scene is to unite completely different people erasing borders and patterns rather than divide them,” Kraviz said. " ... Making, releasing and playing good music is what I love most.”

You can read Kraviz’s entire statement below.

Members of the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan say Movement Detroit organizers declined their request to comment on the invitation to Kraviz. Event organizers did not specify whether Kraviz was removed from the May 30 lineup, or if she backed out herself.

Movement Detroit said they will soon announce the new lineup for May 30 following Kraviz’s exit. Jeff Mills is still scheduled to headline that evening on the Movement Stage.

The call for Kraviz to renounce her alleged support for Putin comes as Ukraine continues to fight for survival three months after Russia invaded the former-Soviet nation. In addition to sanctions issued on Russia and many of its stakeholders, nations around the world have been banning Russian teams, stars and artists from participating in or performing at competitions and events in an effort to condemn the nation’s actions in Ukraine.

Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelenskyy told Russian reporters in March that cultural figures and athletes from Russia may not feel like it themselves, but they “have to understand they’re an instrument for the country’s international image ... When people are dying (in Ukraine), you should at least be uncomfortable.”


Related: Ukraine says it repels Russian attack as war grinds in east


About the Author:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.