Valery Gergiev, one of the world’s most famous Russian conductors and a member of a close circle of loyal supporters of President Vladimir Putin, owns more than $ 100 million in property abroad that he has never announced in his homeland.
For this reason alone, he should be fired as artistic director of the Mariinsky Theater.
An apartment in Manhattan, a villa near Rome, a cape near Naples, Dutch citizenship … This was shown by Alexei Navalny’s team in an investigation that began in 2019. This is another example that Russia is ruled by hypocrites, liars, and crooks, Navalny says in a nearly one-hour film released Tuesday.
In just 8 Italian cities, Gergiev owns properties, including restaurants, parking, a baseball field, a park, and a palace in Venice for about $ 100 million. They were bequeathed to him by the Japanese harpist Yoko Nagae in 2015 but were not declared in Russia, and his property declarations from 2017 are not available.
Conductor Mark Kadin: Putin will fight to the end, even if it costs the destruction of Ukraine
Boycotting Russian artists will not in any way affect Putin’s policies
There will be no boycott of the works of Russian composers – Putin is not interested in classics
The Russians will be to blame for what has been happening in Ukraine for decades
Putin will fight to the end, even if it means the destruction of Ukraine
Mark Kadin is one of the leading figures in Bulgarian musical life. Since 2017 he has been the chief conductor of the symphony orchestra of the Bulgarian National Radio and has previously performed on the Bulgarian stage. He was born in what is now Ukraine, then part of the USSR, but spent most of his life in Russia. He graduated from the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow. He has conducted many musical ensembles, including the Moscow Virtuosos, the Russian National Orchestra, the Israeli Symphony Orchestra, the Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra, and others. Dnevnik spoke with Maestro Kadin three weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began about the impact of the war on culture, the boycott of Russian musicians, and expectations of a way out of the conflict.
Mr. Kadin, the tragic events in Ukraine have also affected cultural life. We have witnessed several examples of boycotts of Russian artists – Valery Gergiev, Anna Netrebko, and Denis Matsuev because they refused to take a firm stand against Putin. At the same time, Russian musicians are being fired for their anti-war stances. Is there a right move in this situation?
– This applies not only to artists but also to every Russian. If you have a position – whatever it is, and you are silent, it means complicity. Of course, many public figures are afraid to say what they think, because Russia is currently living under conditions of complete censorship, and even if you say something in public, there is no guarantee that you will be heard. For this reason, many artists are silent and waiting. Some leave Russia: for example, famous media personalities such as Alla Pugacheva, Maxim Galkin, and Ivan Urgant. People are afraid that since the beginning of the war, 14,000 to 15,000 anti-war protesters have been imprisoned. And sadism reigns in Russian prisons.
In another interview, you say that 90% of cultural figures in Russia support the government. Do so many people believe in Putin, or are they just really worried about expressing an opinion other than what is acceptable?
“I can’t know for sure.” However, I guess most of them believe in Russian propaganda that denazification is taking place in Ukraine. Even those who are aware that there is a real war there expect more that Russia will win and the situation will return to normal.
The Ukrainian Cultural Institute has also called for a boycott of Russian artists who openly support the Putin regime or refuse to oppose it. The argument is that any support currently given to Russian culture is support taken away from Ukrainians. What would be the real effect of such actions in your opinion?
– I fully understand the emotional reaction of Ukrainians, but my opinion is that culture is not to blame. Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff are not guilty. During World War II, Europe had a similar attitude toward German music. But English conductor Henry Wood had once said that Wagner was not guilty of being Hitler’s favorite composer and performing German music on the BBC Promises. In my opinion, this is the right attitude, because, in the end, people are not to blame. If we look at the situation now, many contemporary Russian artists continue their concert performances. It all depends on the reaction of each director of a theater or impresario, on his position and opinion. That is why some artists continue their work and others do not. There is no central body that would ban Russian culture. Everything is decided individually.
Cardiff’s Philharmonic Orchestra recently removed Tchaikovsky’s Overture 1812 from its concert program at the last minute because it was “inappropriate.” Do you think that in such a situation there is “inappropriate” art?
– This work was written on the occasion of Russia’s victory in the Patriotic War in 1812. Not only the orchestra in Cardiff, but two other Japanese orchestras removed it from their programs. In the context of events, it is inappropriate because it has a military tone.
And is it possible that Russian composers will be banned from performing in Europe, as happened to the music of Richard Wagner, whose works have not been played in Israel for years because of his anti-Semitic views during his lifetime?
– Rather, I do not think something like this can happen. Wagner was still Hitler’s favorite composer, and that was the reason he was banned. I think Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, Shostakovich, and other Russian composers are safe because, as far as I know, Putin is not interested in classical music. There will be no boycott of their work.
Could such a measure against Russian artists change anything related to Russia’s policy in Ukraine?
– This is a completely meaningless decision because Russian politics depends on only one person named Vladimir Putin. And all measures, including sanctions, which are causing the Russians to collapse financially, would not work. In such a situation, what kind of culture to talk about in general, as the whole country is practically broken. And even this economic collapse does not affect Vladimir Putin’s policies.
You also recently conducted a concert in which you joined the initiative of leading orchestras around the world to pay tribute to the victims of the war in Ukraine. Although music will not bring back lost lives, can we at least help us understand why such fratricide has taken place in the 21st century?
“It is a fratricidal war.” Yes, music will not change anything, but it is important to try to draw attention to this tragedy. Many people simply want to ignore the fact that Ukraine is at war, ignoring the information that is flooding us. However, I believe that people need to think about both the causes and the consequences of this tragedy to avoid new conflicts in the future, although I am pessimistic and believe that this will not be the last war in the 21st century. . Still, this war must be a great warning to all.
You were born on the territory of today’s Ukraine, some of your relatives still live there, but at the same time, you are a Russian citizen. Was it difficult for you to take part in this conflict?
– I do not feel like an ethnic Ukrainian or Russian. In my younger years, we were all from the Soviet Union, and then there was no such division between Russians, Ukrainians, Georgians, and Belarusians. We were all Soviet people and there was no reason for enmity between us. So I don’t feel like part of one country. For me, it is not the nationality that is more important, but the position we take. If Ukrainian planes bombed Moscow and St. Petersburg, I would side with the Russians. But now Russian planes are bombing Kyiv and Kharkov, that’s the reality.
Before the invasion, President Putin more or less denied Ukraine’s right to exist as a nation with a separate culture. What is your comment on that?
– In my opinion, Putin is in complete delusion and has a completely wrong idea of the world. People around him inspired him with various ideas – Panslavism, and Russian-imperial thinking, and he became obsessed with them. He thinks that he is a unifier of the Russian lands. This has become a fixation for him. However, the truth is that this war caused a huge gap between the Ukrainians and the Russians. I have no idea how relations between these two peoples will be restored. Probably at least 2 to 3 generations should pass. You see what happened in Germany after the Second World War, even today’s generations bear the trauma and guilt of their predecessors. I think something similar will happen to the Russians.
Were you surprised when Putin invaded Ukraine?
– Putin has been leading Russia for 22 years. In 2007, he was asked by reporters how long he thought he would rule the country. His answer then was that if you are president of Russia for more than 7 years, you will go crazy. At the beginning of his reign, he had surrounded himself with various advisers, including many liberals, but unfortunately, after a while, he left around only the so-called Panslavists, and this proved fatal. His thinking changed. When Russian troops entered Syria years ago, Putin said the army was there to train. This seemed rather strange to me, and I wondered what kind of war Putin was preparing for. Even then, I suspected that his words were not accidental.
How do you explain the support of so many Bulgarians for Putin?
– In my opinion, the sympathy of Bulgarians for Russia is mainly for historical reasons. Our language is very similar, so is our mentality, so he suggests that this is one of the reasons. In the last 10 years, however, with the development of the Russian information presence in Bulgaria and the intensification of Russian propaganda, people have unfortunately become accustomed to the fact that everything that is said in Russian is true. Russian media, such as Russia Today, broadcast only pro-government messages, and those that showed the other point of view are no longer there because they have been destroyed. If Bulgarians had access to both points of view, they would hardly believe so blindly in Putin and his policies.
When do you expect this war to end?
– It is difficult for me to make such predictions, but I can say that I have a bad feeling. I would like to be wrong, but I don’t think anything good will happen because Putin will not back down. He will fight to the end, and where this end is unknown. Whether this means that Kyiv and Kharkov will be destroyed, like Stalingrad in 1943, is very possible in my opinion. Nevertheless, I very much hope, I even believe, that such a heroic defense of the Ukrainians, which the whole world is witnessing, will not allow the destruction of a European country.
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