Vladimir Putin Postpones Paris Trip, Cancels Visit to Fondation Louis Vuitton

Putin had museum-hopping on his agenda, not talks about Syria.

French President Francois Hollande welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin in Paris, 2015. Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images.

Vladimir Putin has canceled an upcoming trip to Paris after François Hollande commented that Russia could face war crimes charges over its bombardment of Aleppo, and suggested the two have a talk about Syria instead of going museum-hopping, as was originally planned.

Putin was meant to attend “Icons of Modern Art: the Shchukin Collection” at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, an upcoming exhibition of 130 works by masters of the early 20th century that once belonged to Russian collector Sergei Shchukin.

He was also set to attend the opening of a new Russian Orthodox Cathedral and cultural complex, located on a listed UNESCO world heritage site and built by Wilmotte & Associés Architects. But according to the Kremlin, both these key events were taken off the agenda.

“Certain events were planned connected with the opening of a Russian cultural-spiritual center and the holding of an exhibit. Unfortunately, these events dropped out of the program, and for this reason the president [has decided] to cancel the visit to France for now,” said Dmitry Peskov, Putin’s spokesman, on national TV, the Guardian reports.

Henri Matisse, La Danse (1909-1910). Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton and The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.

Henri Matisse, La Danse (1909-1910). Courtesy of Fondation Louis Vuitton and The State Hermitage Museum, Saint Petersburg.

In an interview broadcast on Monday, Hollande insinuated that Russia should appear before an international criminal court for its bombing of Aleppo, Syria, and continued to say that he would have to talk about Syria if he were to receive Putin. The Kremlin pushes the trip’s cancellation on France, maintaining that Putin is “ready to visit Paris whenever it is comfortable for President Hollande.”

The Shchukin Collection exhibition marks an official partnership between the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the Hermitage Museum, and the Pushkin Museum. The latter two institutions held a number of works from Shchukin’s collection, which was split among state museums after the October Revolution in 1917.

A program of dance and musical events accompanies the exhibition, intended to “bear witness of the artistic dialogue between France and Russia at the beginning of the 20th century and still present within the contemporary.” It seems like, for now, the two countries’ presidents can’t have a dialogue of their own.

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