The West's cancel culture targets all things Russian over Putin's invasion of Ukraine

"There was so much concern about potential 'Islamophobia' after 9/11, and 'anti-Asian' backlash after China unleashed covid on the world, and yet it seems to be open season on Russians right now," Daily Wire podcast host Matt Walsh tweeted.

Updated: March 13, 2022 - 10:33pm

Following Russia President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, Russian restaurants in New York City are experiencing backlash, some American grocery stores are no longer carrying Russian vodka, a renowned Russian soprano was forced out at New York's Metropolitan Opera, and an Italian university suspended a course on Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky.

In New York City, despite many owners of Russian restaurants opposing Putin's invasion of Ukraine — or even being Ukrainian themselves — they have experienced canceled reservations, bad reviews and social media campaigns, unusually low turnout, and vandalism, The New York Times reported.

Even as some restaurants have plastered signs in support of Ukraine on their doors, they are still dealing with backlash from customers. Some patrons, however, are showing support for the restaurants as they struggle to cope with the commercial fallout from the invasion, according to the Times.

"We just thought Russian businesses are probably being unfairly treated, and it would be the right thing to do to have dinner here," a customer at Russian Samovar told the Times last week. "There tends to be a lot of virtue signaling in how people behave these days, and to take it out on a business like this is unfortunate."

Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, one of the Metropolitan Opera's top box office draws, has withdrawn from future performances at the venue, as Met General Manager Peter Gelb said that "with Putin killing innocent victims in Ukraine, there was no way forward."

On his podcast Tuesday, Victor Davis Hanson suggested that Russians who have refrained from speaking up in opposition to Putin may not have much choice. "[T]o go after these Russians and say, you know, 'You're associated with Putin, and you haven't spoken out' — well ... maybe if they spoke out, they'd go after their family in Russia," he said. "Are you trying to tell me that Putin's not capable of that? Of course he's capable, of course he has."

Daily Wire podcast host and bestselling author Matt Walsh compared the treatment of Russians to other forms of bigotry, tweeting on Monday: "There was so much concern about potential 'Islamophobia' after 9/11, and 'anti-Asian' backlash after China unleashed covid on the world, and yet it seems to be open season on Russians right now. It's almost like bigotry is okay as long as the targets are perceived to be white."

On Thursday, a Meta spokesperson confirmed that Facebook and Instagram would allow users in some countries to violate the company's rules and call for violence against Russians and Russian soldiers with regard to the invasion of Ukraine, Reuters reported.

"As a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine," a Meta spokesperson said in a statement, "we have temporarily made allowances for forms of political expression that would normally violate our rules like violent speech such as 'death to the Russian invaders.' We still won't allow credible calls for violence against Russian civilians."

Author and columnist Larry Taunton retweeted an article on the Meta announcement, saying, "And people wonder how we ended up with Japanese internment camps."

Walsh jokingly tweeted a picture of the Dostoevsky novel "The Brothers Karamazov" and a trash can, writing: "Chucking all my Russian literature in the trash. Dostoevsky was a Putin stooge anyway. #StandWithUkriane"

"Guys it was a joke not a suggestion," he wrote in a later tweet, as he posted a screenshot of journalist Alessandra Bocchi's tweet that the University of Milan banned teaching Dostoevsky.

Bocchi replied to her tweet with an update on Monday, reporting that the professor who was asked to suspend his course on the Russian author resigned. The Italian university said he could reinstate his course if he included Ukrainian authors, but he said he wasn't an expert on Ukrainian literature.

American grocery stores Kroger, Publix, and Food Lion have all said they removed Russian vodka from their shelves, according to Business Insider. Some bar owners are also dumping out their Russian vodka.

However, "[l]ess than 1% of vodka consumed in the United States is produced in Russia," CNN reported, noting that more than half of all vodka in the U.S. is American-made.

"If you're posting the Ukrainian flag and boycotting Russian vodka but you're still going to vote for Democrats and you still won't support oil production in the United States," Walsh tweeted, "kindly shut the hell up you ridiculous virtue signaling phony."

On Wednesday, Jack Posobiec host of Human Events Daily and a veteran Navy intelligence officer, tweeted sarcastically:

"Cancel the Nutcracker and Swan Lake

"Round up everyone who studies Stanislavski or Baryshnikov

"Put everyone who reads Solzhenitsyn, Emma Goldman, or Ayn Rand on a list"