Director Vlad Troitskyi: “You have to offer foreign viewers a unique product but inscribed in their coordinate system”

Aspen Institute Kyiv held a conversation dedicated to culture. The Institute involved Ukrainian cultural figures and community members — leaders of various fields — in the dialogue. Director Vlad Troitskyi explained the anti-human nature of Russian literature, cited examples of the Russians’ use of soft power in Europe, and shared the secret of the success of Ukrainian cultural products abroad.

All Russian literature speaks of the uselessness of a man

When Vlad studied Russian literature, he realized there were no positive heroes. When the full-scale invasion began, Vlad Troitskyi felt himself a Russophobic. He considered war to be madness and decided to discover whether it and its nature were accidental.

— I lived during the Soviet Union era, and we all studied Russian literature. The concept of “great Russian literature” was axiomatic. At that time, it seemed that Pechorin, Onegin, and Raskolnikov were heroes. All Russian literature speaks of the uselessness of a man: neither to themselves nor to anyone else. It is fundamentally anti-human. And, unfortunately, you can’t say – let’s forget about this feature; everything will pass. Unfortunately, it does not work out that way, so all these are inertial processes.

The Russians use soft power very powerfully in Europe

Vlad Troitskyi is in France. He spoke about the influence of “great Russian culture” – ballet, fine arts, literature, theater, etc., using the example of this country. By holding round tables and conferences on, for example, the study of existentialism, the founder of which seems to be Dostoevsky, the Russians formed a whole cultural, intellectual environment in France, which they “fed.”

— In France, Italy, and Germany, there is a terrible combination of the left – post-communist, pacifist, anti-colonial movements, which the Soviet Union fed through the KGB, and the right-wing, because Dostoevsky is the absolute symbol of the right word. The Russians continue to work with it actively, including working through culture. They use soft power very powerfully.

Vlad added that Ukraine, unfortunately, did not systematically work on its external positioning before the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.

From the changing trends point of view, you have to communicate with the locals to offer them a unique product inscribed in their coordinate system.

Vlad talked about the Ukrainian art front, which was created after the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. During this time, it was possible to hold more than 160 performances in different countries. In his opinion, the secret to success is not to close yourself off; but to be open and ready to learn without losing your roots.

— Creation of collaborations works effectively. When you combine power with all the superstructure in the Old and New Worlds, production, and technologies, you get a product of a different quality. For example, European or American theaters lack crushing energy. We may lack competence. From the changing trends point of view, you must communicate with local people. And to do so in this oversaturated market, offer them a unique product that fits into their coordinate system – festivals, venues, etc.