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Russian Orthodox choir denounces group of men wearing pre-war Z symbol shirts at Sydney City Hall event

A choir of the Russian Orthodox Church has distanced itself from a group of men wearing “disgusting” pro-Russian symbols to attend a government-sponsored performance in Sydney.

Numbers wearing shirts with the letter “Z”, a symbol of support for Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, in front of Sydney City Hall after a performance by the Russian Orthodox Men’s Choir on Friday night. men gathered.

This symbol is not prohibited in Australia.

A video of the self-proclaimed “protest livestreamer,” known on social media as Chriscoveries, shows men walking down the aisle to the stage and standing in line facing the audience.

A man was also filmed shaking hands with Russian Consul General Igor Ardjayev.

When Chris Coverles asked why they were there in the video, one man said it was “to help Russia.”

As the group makes their way down the aisle, the audience can be heard saying, “I do not approve. I completely disagree.”

The state government agency Multicultural NSW and the City of Sydney sponsored the event, which said the pro-Russian display was not part of the performance.

Shortly after last year’s invasion, pro-Russian troops in uniforms without insignia are depicted above a tank with the letter “Z” depicting the Donetsk region of Ukraine.()

In a statement to ABC, the Russian Orthodox Men’s Choir of Australia said it had no relationship with men.

“The choir condemns the group for trying to sow the seeds of division in an attempt to tarnish the image of this concert,” the statement said.

“The Russian Orthodox Men’s Choir of Australia is apolitical and promotes peace, harmony and inclusion.

“We look forward to working with our partners at future events to ensure that similar incidents do not occur.”

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“Disgusting Public Exhibition”

Photos and videos of the event have been shared on a social media group run by pro-Putin YouTuber Simeon Boykov, known as the “Australian Cossack.”

Ukraine’s ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Miloshnichenko, denounced the group’s attendance as a “disgusting public exhibition”.

“Z stands for Russian invasion, rape and murder of Ukraine,” he tweeted.

In January, Miroshnichenko summoned a tennis star Novak Djokovic’s father was banned from entering Australia when he was seen posing with a man wearing the ‘Z’ symbolafter Djokovic beat Russia’s Andrei Rublev in the quarterfinals.

Screenshot from a YouTube video taken at the Australian Open at Melbourne Park. His three men are shown, including Srjan Djokovic (left).()

The Russian and Belarusian flags were banned from the tournament after the Russian flag was waved in the opening round.

A spokesperson for the city of Sydney said Friday night’s event at Sydney Town Hall was explained to the council as a performance by communal choirs from Greece, Serbia and Antioch to celebrate the Orthodox Easter.

The event organizer applied for and was approved for a free venue rental subsidy.

“The City of Sydney will not tolerate expressions of hate or discrimination anywhere in our city. We are disappointed that this event, which was planned to celebrate our diverse community, has been hijacked by a political group. ‘ said the spokesperson.

“We are reviewing what happened and the impact this event may have on future bookings with this and other organizations.”

Australia’s anti-Kremlin organization, the Svoboda Alliance, wrote to Sydney member Alex Greenwich expressing “deep concern” over the appearance of the Russian aggression symbol at a concert.

It has previously lobbied for a ban on the Russian “Z” symbol, alongside the Nazi swastika.

Multicultural NSW chief executive Joseph La Posta said he was sure the Russian Orthodox Men’s Choir didn’t know the group was coming.

“I condemn all forms of violence, the glorification of violence and the symbolism of violence,” he said.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-05-02/sydney-russian-orthodox-choir-z-shirt-men-war-ukraine-putin/102290226 Russian Orthodox choir denounces group of men wearing pre-war Z symbol shirts at Sydney City Hall event

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