As Putin’s little adventure continues apace, the retaliation against Russia grows, in various forms, both serious and silly. The latter is exemplified by stuff like this:
EA is removing all Russia-linked teams from its wildly popular FIFA and NHL video game franchises.
Ouch. That’ll get the Russkis out of Ukraine toot sweet, you betcha. As will this:
FIFA and UEFA have suspended Russia’s national teams and clubs from international football until further notice due to the country’s invasion of Ukraine. The move makes it likely that Russia will be excluded from this year’s World Cup and the women’s Euro 2020 tournament.
That’s going to hurt a little more, because the Russkis are football crazy. Still, not much in terms of geopolitical leverage. Then there’s this:
The Haas Formula One team has terminated Russian driver Nikita Mazepin’s contract “with immediate effect” following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The decision comes on the back of F1’s decision to terminate its contract with the Russian GP. That contract had been until 2025. Haas also ended its sponsorship with Russian company Uralkali, owned by Mazepin’s father.
Now that’s interesting because the F1 cognoscenti will note that the hapless Nikita was easily the worst F1 driver in years, only getting his seat because his Daddy owns Uralkali, Haas’s largest sponsor.
(As such, Haas may have killed two birds with one stone, so to speak.)
But they announced Mazepin’s termination before they pushed Uralkali away — which I have to admit, made me a tad uneasy. Granted, Mazepin’s father is a crony of Putin, but it seemed a little like overkill to axe the driver — he wasn’t responsible for the Ukranian invasion, and if we’re going to toss every individual Russian out of their field of endeavor just for being Russian, that seems to me to be wrongheaded, as so many of these blanket actions so often are.
Which brings me to this injustice:
Soprano Anna Netrebko withdrew from her future engagements at the Metropolitan Opera rather than repudiate her support for Russian President Vladimir Putin, costing the company one of its top singers and best box-office draws.
Anna who? This Anna, is who:
But that’s not the relevant part of this. (As it happens, the 50-year-old Netrebko is not the svelte little thing she was at age 20, but then, who is?)
But all that aside, Anna Netrebko has one of the greatest soprano voices of the past century, and as she’s got older, it has only got better. Forcing her to quit engagements simply because she “refused to repudiate her support for Russian President Vladimir Putin” is clearly a bad thing.
Let’s be clear, here, and remember exactly who we’re dealing with: regardless of her actual sympathies, if she were to come out and say, “This asshole Putin should quit invading Ukraine”, not only would her career end, but there is a good chance that she would be assassinated by the loathsome Unit 29155 for her opinions.
Think I’m exaggerating? Try this, and this, and this. Note that none of this took place in Russia: nowhere in the world is safe when it comes to this criminality.
We should quit being childish about this — it’s not the first time, either; remember “freedom fries”, FFS? — and while I have no issue with punishing teams or people actually representing Russia, let’s not take out the sins of the country on its innocent citizens, cursed simply by an accident of birth.
Oh hell; Anna’s also one of the most beautiful women in the world, so why not indulge ourselves?