The Welsh Orchestra Defying the Ukrainian Coup Regime

A Welsh brass band has been touring Crimean venues this month. This is totally unacceptable, according to the Kiev-based government of Ukraine – installed after the 2014 coup. Quite why these ten individuals playing traditional music in theatres around Crimean cities is so distasteful remains a mystery. For our part, it seems an innocent enough exercise, and perhaps a nice way to celebrate a peculiarity of history that ties Wales to that part of the world.

The Ukrainian government felt strongly enough about it to “take steps”.

First, the Ukrainian ambassador to Britain wrote to the organization, requesting they cancel the tour:

They also tweeted about it:

…and wrote to the Foreign Office, who in turn wrote to Symphoninc Brass Wales:

Quite why two different national governments felt the need to pressure a small group of people from travelling to a perfectly safe part of the world, we do not know. Certainly it was nothing to do with risk. And what kind of PR coup does a small orchestra – only 10 pieces – really offer the Russian Federation?

The whole situation reeks of desperation and insecurity really. A sweaty palmed, convulsive need to keep control of a situation that is rapidly slipping out of their grasp.

The small Welsh orchestra went on the tour anyway, and apparently had a great time.

If any of our readers are aware of any similar circumstances – of state pressure being brought against individuals or small groups – please let us know.


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Mikhail Simonyan
Reader
Mikhail Simonyan

I express the words of support of my colleagues from Welsh who came to the Crimea and spoke to people who are no different from people living in England!
In general, in the 21st century it is wild when art is made up of fictitious political frameworks! Culture has no boundaries and art is eternal, then that will survive any conflict.
The goal of musicians is to speak to people in any conditions and carry the good and eternal that is in music.

Yours most sincerely
Mikhail Simonyan

SteveKomarnyckyj (@SteveKomarnycky)
Reader

Hilariously my comment re racism drew a typically patronising response from a “progressive” which also revealed their support for a Russian imperialism, and really have no idea of how Nick Griffin shares their views. White supremacists with a red flag…

SteveKomarnyckyj (@SteveKomarnycky)
Reader

I am used to encountering ethnic hatred from Brits of a supposedly left wing hue (and their Neo Nazi friends such as Griffin) but this thread is a real showcase of xenophobic ignorance.

Paul Harvey
Reader
Paul Harvey

Surely you mean Brits of a right wing hue, who indeed would count neo-nazis like Nick Griffin as their friend? Please don’t take this as patronising, but I think you may have a fundamental misunderstanding about left-wing politics and right-wing politics. Left wing politics is predicated exclusively on a class/power based understanding of the world and sees ethnic hatred and xenophobia as a function/effect of capitalism, power and control. Right wing politics is slightly more complex as the spectrum takes us from the ‘corporatism’ of Italian fascism to the race based ideology of Nazism (with extreme forms of right wing… Read more »

vexarb
Reader

Why Kiev should welcome a visit from Welsh Brass Band. By Rostislav Ishchenko in today’s Saker:

“Once upon a time US Presidents came to visit Kiev. At the dawn of Poroshenko’s reign the vice-president regularly came. Then the Secretary of State occasionally appeared. And now its the turn of the .. second echelon figure of the U$ administration – John Bolton, national security adviser. Moreover, since .. such guests became a rarity, Ukrainian politicians, while longingly waiting for any important guest from Washington….”

Paul Harvey
Reader
Paul Harvey

Perhaps when they finally get the independence they deserve from the fascist regime in Kiev, the region could be renamed ‘Donbrass’ – as the mere mention of a copper coloured musical instrument seems to get these vile neo-nazis in a frenzy!

o.j. frowein
Reader
o.j. frowein

I have warm memories of this beautiful peninsula Crimea with a long culture & friendly people. Not surprised that this Welsh Brass Band went to Crimea as part of Russia they appreciate culture & civilization in contrast to the Nazi regime of barbarians in Kiev whose only interest is murdering innocent people in Odessa & Donbass.

ourblue
Reader
ourblue

Just a thought. Why, when objecting, and wishing to prevent the Welsh brass band touring Crimea, did no correspondence appear to take place between Ukraine and the Welsh Government? I lived in Wales for 30yrs and state for a fact that should you be so ignorant or stupid to suggest a Welshman is British first and Welsh second you are going to have at best a few lose teeth. Why should respect be given when non is shown?

GrigoryZinoviev
Reader
GrigoryZinoviev

I don’t think the Ukrainian government is too keen on devolved governments: they could have saved themselves a lot of hassle if they’d devolved Donetsk and Lughansk.

Richard
Reader
Richard

Of course. Crimea did have an autonomous government : one which was commandeered at gunpoint by Russian stooges at the time of the annexation. Before a hastily organised referendum which presaged the ethnic cleansing of Moslem Tatars
As for this being a tour of ‘Crimea’ it was actually a tour of Russia with Crimea thrown in at the end. Plainly this band were willing participants in a propaganda coup by the real ‘fascists’ here . It’s disappointing that they have refused to respond so far to any of the dissenting voices that have been raised.

Admin
Reader

Just to clarify, are you alleging the Crimean referendum was rigged and that Moslem Tatars have been murdered by the Russian government?

TheSociologicalMail
Reader

Haha well done to them! They have our support 🙂

King Kong
Reader
King Kong

The Ukronazies can shout and scream all they want! They remind me of Israel , are they related? Weird Ukros are nazi and any real jew would despise them, I certainly do, but I am only part jew.
I am going to Crimea next year, who will stop me? Certainly not the doggies in Kiev.

GrigoryZinoviev
Reader
GrigoryZinoviev

Does anyone know of anyone who has been punished by the Ukrainian government for entering Crimea without their permission? I’ve been to Crimea a few times recently and wouldn’t mind to vidit Odessa.

Hope
Reader
Hope

Thanks for that link to the truly fascinating story of John Hughes and the founding of Donetsk!
The Symphonic Brass Wales website also has links to videos of other bands, from New Zealand and Italy, touring Russia and Crimea earlier this year:
https://www.symphonicbrasswales.com/russia-2018.html

Jim Scott
Reader
Jim Scott

So the Ukrainian tools of a violent American planned coup that toppled a legitimately elected government are angry about a Welsh brass band playing music to the people of Crimea who voted to leave the illegitimately created Government of Ukraine.
The Ukrainian Government and their US overlords should be careful about what they wish for because if the people of Donbass and Crimea decided to stay with Ukraine they probably would vote for a non fascist government and chuck most of the current Government out of the parliament.

Francis Lee
Reader
Francis Lee

I can’t see any future for a unified Ukraine as the whole thing was put together like a lego set. Novorossiya was gifted by Lenin to the Ukraine in 1922. This area was traditionally part of Russia and populated by ethnic Russians with most of the industry in Donetsk, Lugansk, Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk and Crimea, Nikolaev and Odessa. Then the western segments on the left bank of the Dnieper, including Lviv, was once a part of both the Austro-Hungarian and Polish empire, was moved west en bloc by Stalin in 1945. This area always was and still is the strong hold… Read more »

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

Well, I can see that in a world of paranoia, if the historical connection were between Wales and Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine (seeking autonomy and reintegration into Russia), then a Welsh band visiting Crimea (no Welsh connection but already reintegrated into Russia) might seem provocative.

Far more likely that there was some personal link between a band member and Crimea which led to idea of a summer tour.

Summer tours are traditional in British musical groups……

tutisicecream
Reader

A window into the real world. A news story with merit which makes a wonderful change from the usual nonsense in the WMSM about Russia. I’m sure they enjoyed themselves this is evident from the video. I imagine they had to fund the trip themselves although the FCO can fund these things if they choose – I hope someone can prove me wrong. But judging by the Friday afternoon missive from the FCO I think this most likely have been the case. FCO can find £23 million for head chopping affiliates in Syria, nothing for British citizens performing cultural exchange… Read more »

vierotchka
Reader

With regard to the Ukraine’s reaction, it is totally petty and smacks of desperation.

vierotchka
Reader

Most of the world’s best brass bands are in the UK and especially in Wales! 🙂

https://www.4barsrest.com/rankings/

rtj1211
Reader
rtj1211

Plenty of good ones in the North of England too. They were associated with mining communities. Male voice choirs were another tradition in those regions – Huddersfield has a particularly well known one.

vexarb
Reader

”In Huddersfield, in Huddersfield / There was a girl who would not yield” — to the tune of “The Red Flag”.

Jen
Reader
Jen

The Russian Federation’s response to the events in Crimea and eastern Ukraine that have occurred since February 2014 – restrained and minimal, not reacting to petty and spiteful provocations, offering support only when asked for and where this support is much needed and cannot be provided by any other nation – has certainly paid dividends to the Russians and nothing at all to Kiev or its supporters in the EU, North America or elsewhere in the West. Ukraine increasingly finds itself being cast adrift by the EU, NATO and the IMF. All the money that Victoria Nuland and the IMF… Read more »

Baron
Reader
Baron

This from a government that tolerated one of their diplomats to celebrate his birthday on Facebook with a cake in the form of a book with ‘Mein Kampf’ written on it. He was warmly congratulated by his colleagues. The man was dismissed only after a blogger with massive following (Anatolij Sharij,1.5mn) pointed it out.

Hugh O'Neill
Reader
Hugh O'Neill

From the enclosed video link, I noticed that the orchestra director was one Craig Roberts. No relation presumably to Paul Craig Roberts, whose writing is a counter blast to the prevailing propaganda. Culture brings people together, whilst politics divides. Well done the Welsh for sticking it to the Anglo-American Establishment. The spirit of Glendower lives on.

tutisicecream
Reader

And the spirit of internationalism.

The Brass Band tradition in mining communities across the UK was always linked to the Trade Union movement. Solidarity and support from Russia during the miners strike of 1984-85 has clearly not been forgotten.