Russian IBBY Chairwoman participating in Russian war propaganda; Danish Queen withdraws as protector

Russian illustrator and art professor, Anastasia Arkhipova, is Chairwoman of IBBY, awarding the prestigous Hans Christian Andersen Award for writers and illustrators of children’s books. Photo: Bookind

Danish Queen Margrethe II has withdrawn from her protectorate of the Hans Christian Andersen Award awarded every year to writers and illustrators of children’s books.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) has been forced to consider whether it is responsible to allow a representative of the Russian cultural society to award the world’s most prestigious prize for children’s books while Russia bombs Ukraine.

Six months after the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian illustrator and art professor, Anastasia Arkhipova, was elected at IBBY’s congress in Malaysia as the Chairwoman of the jury.

Upon the election Sweden, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Estonia and Lithuania unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Chairman in resigning while IBBY’s Danish department did not wish to sign the joint request.

Chairwoman of Danish IBBY, Birgitte Reindel, says the issue has led to significant discussions among members of the Board.

– Generally, we should communicate. We should not throw people out, but continuously drive communication, Birgitte Reindel says.

Subsequently, the Board of the Danish IBBY has withdrawn its nominees.

Chairwoman of IBBY’s International department, Sylvia Vardell, has stated the members does not represent their respective countries but only themselves as writers, drawers or publishers.

According to Danish public media, DR, Anastasia Arkhipova, apart from being an art academy professor and having received countless awards, is the Chairwoman of Moscow Association of Artists (MOCX) – an organisation currently involved in promoting Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The organisation recently held a contest emcouraging Russian artist to create posters, videos and memes for social medias with the purpose of promoting the “special military operation” among the Russian population and “strengthen the reunion of historic Russian countries.”

Russian-born Eastern Europe-expert and leader of think-tank European Resillience Initiative Center, Sergej Sumlenny, says contests like this is a deliberate Putin-strategy and a way of continuing organised propaganda of the Sovjet era.

– She (Anastasia Arkhipova red.) is Chairwoman in an organisation actively participating in, not just a war but also a genocide, and that is a problem, says Sergej Sumlenny.

The Hans Christina Andersen Award has been referred to as the Nobel Prize of children’s literature and has previously been awarded to Swedish Astrid Lindgreen, Norwegian Jon Ewo, Finnish Tove Jansson and Danish Cecil Bødker and Ib Spang Olsen.

The organisation was founded after World War 2 to drive peace through cultural exchange and children’s learning.


About Jeannette Hinrup

Jeannette Sophie Hinrup is a Danish environmental geographer traveling South East Asia while writing for ScandAsia.

View all posts by Jeannette Hinrup

9 Comments on “Russian IBBY Chairwoman participating in Russian war propaganda; Danish Queen withdraws as protector”

  1. To Pavel’s comment: where does it say she is “strictly against the war”? Among countless posts (available to public) after the beginning of the war neither one directly condemns it. One black picture on February 24, and one quotation by Tolstoy against the War on March 3, that’s it. Unless there are plenty of posts, hidden from public, there is no indication on her facebook profile that she is against the war in Ukraine.

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