Roger Waters Posts Open Letter To Putin After Poland Cancels His Concerts Over Ukraine Comments

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Roger Waters Posts Open Letter To Putin After Poland Cancels His Concerts Over Ukraine Comments

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Over the weekend, a pair of Roger Waters concerts that were scheduled to take place in Poland next year were canceled by Polish officials due to an open letter that the musician shared last month directed at Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.

Kraków councilman Lukasz Wantuch told the Associated Press that the city, which owns the arena where the shows were to be held, would not tolerate the venue to be used by an artist spreading objectionable views. “He doesn’t realize the truth,” Wantuch said. “He doesn’t understand what is going on in Ukraine.” He is planning on calling a vote to declare Waters a “persona non grata” in the country.

Waters posted an open letter directed at Wantuch on his Facebook page on Sunday, in which he clarified that his management company did not cancel the Poland shows, as was initially reported, and that Wantuch “seems to know nothing of my history of working, all my life, at some personal cost, in the service of human rights.”

Waters followed that up with a separate open letter on Monday directed by Russian president Vladimir Putin. “Dear President Putin, since The Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on February 24th this year I have tried to use my small influence to encourage a ceasefire and a diplomatic settlement that addresses the security needs of both Ukraine and The Russian Federation,” he wrote.

Read the full message below.

Recently I have been reading comments on social media, asking why I’ve written to Mrs. Olena Zelenska but not Mr. Vladimir Putin? Very good question, I’m glad you asked, here it is.

Roger Waters’ open letter to Vladimir Putin.

Dear President Putin, since The Russian Federation invaded Ukraine on February 24th this year I have tried to use my small influence to encourage a ceasefire and a diplomatic settlement that addresses the security needs of both Ukraine and The Russian Federation. In that endeavor I have written two open letters to Mrs. Olena Zelenska the wife of the Ukrainian President. These letters are readily available on the internet. I am increasingly asked to write to you too, so here goes. Firstly, would you like to see an end to this war? If you were to reply and say, “Yes please.” That would immediately make things a lot easier. If you were to come out and say, “Also the Russian Federation has no further territorial interest beyond the security of the Russian speaking populations of The Crimea, Donetsk and Lubansk.” That would help too. I say this because, I know some people who think you want to overrun the whole of Europe, starting with Poland and the rest of the Baltic states. If you do, fuck you, and we might as well all stop playing the desperately dangerous game of nuclear chicken that the hawks on both sides of the Atlantic seem so comfortable with, and have at it. Yup, just blow each other and the world to smithereens. The problem is, I have kids and grandkids, and so do most of my brothers and sisters all over the world and none of us would relish that outcome. So, please Mr Putin indulge me, and make us that assurance.

Alright back to the table, if I’ve read your previous speeches correctly, you would like to negotiate a state of neutrality for a sovereign neighboring Ukraine? Is that correct? Assuming such a peace could be negotiated it would have to include an absolutely binding agreement not to invade anyone ever again. I know, I know, the USA and NATO invade other sovereign countries at the drop of a hat, or for a few barrels of oil, but that doesn’t mean you should, your invasion of Ukraine took me completely by surprise, it was a heinous war of aggression, provoked or not.

When Mrs. Zelenska replied to me via Twitter, I was very surprised and mightily moved, if you were to reply to me, I would mightily respect you for it, and take it as an honorable move in the right direction towards a sustainable peace.

Yours sincerely
Roger Waters

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