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J.K. Rowling has hit back at a claim made by Vladimir Putin that the West is “trying to cancel” Russia, just like it did the author herself.

The Russian President likened himself to Rowling during a bizarre televised address, accusing his foreign enemies of “progressive discrimination”.


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But Rowling rubished Putin’s comments, tweeting: “Critiques of Western cancel culture are possibly not best made by those currently slaughtering civilians for the crime of resistance, or who jail and poison their critics. #IStandWithUkraine.”

As Reaction deputy editor Alice Crossley noted last week, Putin’s ire with institutions removing works by Russian artists “plays exactly into his hands by isolating Russia and leaving its citizens no alternative to submitting to his rule”.

Yet the irony of Putin’s parallel is almost too obvious to mention. This is a man who banned all swear words from Russian art, film, theatre, music and media, muzzled the country’s free press, and threatened dissidents with lengthy jail sentences for failing to follow the Kremlin narrative.

The Atlantic’s Helen Lewis has a wise suggestion for a President wading into the culture wars: “Perhaps the time has come for Vladimir Putin to go on Joe Rogan’s podcast.”