Russian head of children’s book jury resigns after war propaganda allegations
COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – The Russian head of a jury awarding the biennial Hans Christian Andersen prize for children’s literature announced her resignation on Tuesday, after allegations of her involvement in Russian war propaganda.
Russian artist Anastasia Arkhipova was elected to head the jury by the Basel-based International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) in September.
The award, whose winners include Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, is regarded as the highest international distinction given to an author and illustrator of books for young people, according to the IBBY.
Since her election, Arkhipova has faced pressure from some member countries to step down over her role as board member of the Moscow Branch of Artists Association of Russia (MOCX).
MOCX last year launched a contest that, according to its website, encouraged artists to submit artwork that would promote Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Several member countries including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Baltic countries have said Arkhipova’s work at MOCX is not compatible with her role as head of the children’s literature award jury.
Last week, Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II withdrew her protectorate of the award. The mayor of Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, last week asked IBBY for the Danish fairy tale writer’s name to be kept out of the prize.
“(Arkhipova) is mindful of the perception of the outside world,” the IBBY said in a statement on Tuesday after its board accepted her resignation at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday.
“IBBY strongly and unequivocally condemns Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine,” it said.
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Bill Berkrot)