May 24, 2024

Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters’ shows canceled in Poland after controversial Ukraine letter

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Pink Floyd’s co-founder Roger Waters is starting to feel the backlash of his pro-Putin comments. His planned concerts at Tauron Arena in Krakow in April have all been canceled.

Waters published a controversial open letter on his website in early September to Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska. In the letter, Waters wrote that he opposed the West sending weapons to Ukraine to aid the country in its war against agressor Russia. In the same letter he attacks her husband, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, by using wording which is in line of the Kremlin’s excuse for attacking Ukraine.

In a reaction Waters says: “It is true that a town councilor in Krakow, a Mr Łukasz Wantuch has threatened to hold a meeting asking the council to declare me ‘Persona non grata’ because of my public efforts to encourage all involved in the disastrous war in Ukraine, especially the governments of the USA and Russia, to work towards a negotiated peace, rather than escalate matters towards a bitter end that could be nuclear war and the end of all life on this planet.”

And he adds: “Not withstanding that this chap Łukasz Wantuch seems to know nothing of my history of working, all my life, at some personal cost, in the service of human rights, he, in an article in a local newspaper urged the good people of Krakow not to buy tickets to my show (…) If Wantuch achieves his aim it will be a sad loss for me as well as for Krakow residents.”

Wantuch’s called the musician “an open supporter of Putin” and his planned performances in Krakow “a shame for our city.” And he finished by saying: “Let him sing in Moscow.”

“Stalin was the big saviour in World War II”

It’s not the first time that Waters gets into trouble with his pro-Kremlin beliefs. In an interview on CNN with Michael Smerconish he falsely claims that NATO promised they wouldn’t approach the Russian border when Gorbachev negotiated the withdrawal of the USSR occupation troupes from the whole of Eastern Europe. Such deal never existed and when asked about it the Russian government was unable to publish any document supporting the claim.

Waters also claims in the interview that “Stalin was the big saviour in World War II”, a war which Stalin himself helped to start in 1939 together with Nazi Germany.

A little historical reminder for Waters. After Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939 Stalin ordered the Soviet invasion of Poland on 17 September. The ensuing Soviet campaign included political murders and other forms of repression, targeting Polish figures of authority such as military officers, police and priests. A wave of arrests and summary executions followed and Stalin’s NKVD sent hundreds of thousands of people from eastern Poland to Siberia and other remote parts of the Soviet Union in four major waves of deportation between 1939 and 1941. After the war the Soviet-Union occupied a large part of Europe installing a terror regime which costs the lives of millions of people. Sounds like something we also see Putin doing indeed.

His fellow colleagues of Pink Floyd released a single called “Hey Hey Rise Up” – with Ukrainian singer Andriy Khlyvnyuk from Boombox – to raise funds for humanitarian relief in Ukraine and have distanced themselves from Waters’ comments. Waters, who departed the band in 1984, did not contribute to song.

author avatar
Bernard - Side-Line Staff Chief editor
Bernard Van Isacker is the Chief Editor of Side-Line Magazine. With a career spanning more than two decades, Van Isacker has established himself as a respected figure in the darkwave scene.

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