Gergiev, other arts leaders sign government petition supporting annexation of Crimea

Posted on: March 31, 2014

In Friday’s (3/28) New York Times, Neil MacFarquhar reports, “Russia’s Ministry of Culture recently called leading artists and intellectuals to suggest that they endorse a petition hailing President Vladimir V. Putin’s annexation of Crimea, setting off impassioned accusations from the literati that the Kremlin was resurrecting repugnant Soviet methods. Boldface names immediately signed: Valery Gergiev, the director of the Mariinsky Theater in St. Petersburg and the principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra; the pianist Denis Matsuev; and Vladimir Urin, the director general of the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow.… opponents of the Crimea venture responded with a mixture of derision and outrage, issuing their own diatribe.… Some opponents raised what they considered a larger and more troubling concern signaled by the Culture Ministry’s effort: that the annexation of Crimea seemed to crystallize the renewed use of ideology and loyalty as the measuring stick for good citizenship, a tool for control that faded with the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union.… Polls indicate that at least 75 to 80 percent of Russians support the annexation of Crimea, a piece of Russia until it was granted to Ukraine as a gift in 1954. ”

Posted March 31, 2014