Speaking during a televised meeting with cultural figures, Putin claimed that the West is “trying to cancel a whole thousand-year culture”. Ms Rowling has been criticised for her views on Trans rights, with many people distancing themselves from the author as a result. In an essay, the Harry Potter author said she was concerned about “the new trans activism… pushing to erode the legal definition of sex and replace it with gender”.
The Russian president likened the situation in his own country to that of Ms Rowling, claiming that Russian writers and books are being “banned”.
He said: “Today they are trying to cancel a whole thousand-year culture – our people.
“They are banning Russian writers and books.”
He said that J.K. Rowling was cancelled “just because she didn’t satisfy the demands of gender rights”.
He added: “They are now trying to cancel our country.
“I’m talking about the progressive discrimination of everything to do with Russia.
“They’re now engaging in the cancel culture, even removing Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Rachmaninov from posters, Russian writer and books are now cancelled.”
Putin then likened “cancel culture” to book burning, which took place in Nazi Germany.
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But Ms Rowling hit out at Putin for his comments, expressing her solidarity with Ukraine.
Sharing an article about Alexei Navalny, the main voice of opposition to Putin who has been jailed in Russia, Ms Rowling said: “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”
Putin’s comments about cancel culture come despite a crackdown on free media in Russia last month.
In late February, the Russian Duma approved a law making it a criminal offence punishable by up to 15 years in prison for the publication of “fake news” concerning its armed forces.
The law also makes it an offence to call for sanctions against Russia.
The BBC was forced to “temporarily suspend” the work of its journalists in Russia, with Director General Tim Davie saying that the new law appeared to “criminalise the process of independent journalism” in the country.
Independent Russian TV channel, Rain was barred by the Russian government after they referred to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as a “war”.
Meanwhile, Russia’s top independent radio station, Ekho Moskvy, was also closed.