COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Russia’s president of the jury that awards the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Children’s Literature Prize announced Tuesday he was resigning following allegations of involvement in Russia’s war propaganda.
Russian artist Anastasia Arkhipova was elected head of the jury by the Basel-based International Youth Book Board (IBBY) in September.
According to IBBY, the award, which includes Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, is considered the highest international honor for authors and illustrators of books for young people.
Since her election, Arkhipova has come under pressure from some member states to resign from her role as director of the Moscow branch of the Society of Russian Artists (MOCX).
MOCX launched a contest last year encouraging artists to submit artwork promoting Russia’s “special military operations” in Ukraine.
Several Member States, including Sweden, Finland, Denmark and the Baltics, have stated that Arkhipova’s work at MOCX is incompatible with her role as jury chair for the Children’s Literature Prize.
Last week, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark withdrew her protectorate of the award. The mayor of Odense, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, asked her IBBY last week to exclude the name of the Danish fairytale author from the award.
“(Ms Arkhipova) is mindful of the outside world’s perception,” IBBY said in a statement 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)