Francisco de la Torre received the Pushkin medal from Vladimir Putin in 2018. / sur

Mayor of Malaga is to give back the medal awarded to him by Putin

Francisco de la Torre has come under pressure to return the award ever since Russia invaded Ukraine last week

FRANCISCO GRIÑÁN Malaga

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last week, the mayor of Malaga has seemed reluctant to cancel the city’s cultural links with the country and had indicated that he hoped the new exhibitions at the Russian Museum in the Tabacalera building would be able to go ahead. Today, 4 March, however, Francisco de la Torre has announced that not only will there be no new exhibitions for the time being, but he will be giving back the Pushkin medal which Vladimir Putin awarded to him in 2018.

The mayor has come under pressure regarding both these matters from the Junta de Andalucía and opposition politicians on Malaga council, but he made his decision after a conversation with the director of Cultural Relations at Spain’s Foreign Ministry, Guzmán Palacios, who advised him that it is impossible to carry out financial operations with Russia at present and therefore Malaga’s agreements with the Russian State Museum of St Petersburg are currently not valid.

De la Torre, who made clear his “absolute condemnation of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine” during the past week, now says the return of his medal and the suspension of the agreements with the Russian Museum are a “direct message to Putin about the effects of his madness in invading Ukraine”.