Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky, known more for his ideology than his cultural expertise, has long been the punching bag of the country’s liberal intelligentsia. The latter have let rip since one of Medinsky’s deputies was arrested last week on embezzlement charges. Criticism has started to come from the Kremlin as well now. Vladimir Tolstoy, the great-great grandson of the Russian novelist Leo, and cultural adviser to President Vladimir Putin, said on Wednesday that if he were culture minister, “I would’ve regarded myself responsible." Putin has also indicated his displeasure with Medinsky at recent meetings, with lingering looks that have become fodder for a viral video titled “The Minister is Suspect”.
In a statement on Thursday, cultural figures on the ministry’s public council warned of the corruption scandal being used to stoke a “witch hunt” against the ministry and the culture sector in general.