What Gergiev really said to Putin. Did the Guardian get it badly wrong?

It looks like the Guardian got really overheated. I’ve received the Russian report of this morning’s radio phone in with the Russian prime minister.

Gergiev had just flown in from Spain and was generally upbeat about Russia’s achievements (as he usually is). He does not credit Putin personally with these improvements, nor does he liken him to Prokofiev or Peter the Great. The Guardian needs to look more closely at its reporting.

But the question is: why did he make the call in the first place? Probably put up to it by Putin’s minders.

Here’s the Russian text. Use google, if you like, to translate:

???????? ????? ??????? ???????? ?? ??????? ???????. ???-?? ?????? ?? ?????? ????? ?? ????????, ???-?? ???????? ? ?????????? ?? ??????? ?????????. ? ? ??????, ? ??????? ???????-??????? ???????? ? ???????, ????????? ????????? ????. ???? ?? ??? – ???????????? ??????????? ?????? ??????? ???????.

?? ?????????? ???????? ? ?????? ?? ???????, ??? ??? ?????? ?????? ?? ?????????.

– ?? ?? ?????? ???? ????????? ? ???????, – ????????? ? ?????? ??????? ?????? ???????????? ? ???????. – ? ???? ???? ??? ??? ?????-?? ????. ????? ????? ?? ???????? ? ??????. ?????? ????, ??? ??????? ?????? ???????? ? ???????, ???????, ?? ? ?????? ?????. ?? ??? ????????? ?? ????? ???????, ?? ??? ?? ???????. ???????, ? ????????, ? ??? ?? ??? ???????? ??????? ?????????

? ??????, ????? ??????? ??????? ????????, ?? ??????? ?????? ?? ????:

– ???????? ????????????, ?? ???? ????? ???????? ??????. ????????? ??? ??????? ?? ??, ??? ??? ????? ???????? ? ???????. ??? ??????. ? ??? ????? ? ??????, ??????? ? ???? ???? ??????? ???????? ??, ??? ? ?????? ??????. ?????? – ? ???? ? ?????????? ? ?????????? ?????????? ?????. ???????? ?? ?????????? ??? ???????? ???????. ?????????? ??????? ?????????? ?? ???????? ?????? ????????? ??????? ??????????? ?????? ????????? ?????? «????? ? ?????????», ???? ??? ????????????? ????????????. ? ????? ?????? ???????? ???????? ?????????? ?????????? ? ?????????, ??????? ??? ????????? ? ???????: «?? ?????????? ?????? ??????????» – «??». – «? ?????? ???? ????????????. ???????????. ??? ??????? ?? ???????????». ?? ???? ???????, ??? ?????? ????????? ????? ????????? «????? ? ?????????» ??????? ??? ???????? ?????????? ????? ?????????? ????????????. ??? ? «????? ? ???», ? «????? ????????». ?????? ? ???????? ?????? ????, ???????? ???? ?????? – ??? ?? ?????? ?????? ????? ? ????, ??? ??? ? ?????? ?????????? ?????????, ??????, ????????????. ????????? ?????? ?????????! ? ??? ????? ??????????, ??? ??? ???????? ??????? ?? ???? ?????? ???? ??? ?????? «?????? ??????», ? ???? ???????? ? ??????. ??? ?? ??? ?????? ???????.

– ??????? ??????????, ??? ??????? ?? ?????????, ?? ? ???? ????? ??????? ? ??????, – ??????? ?????. – ?? ?????? ??????? ??? ??????????, ??? ??? ?????? ? ?????? «????? ? ?????????». ??? ????? ??????? ?????? ????, ??? ??? ?????? ???????? ? ?????? ????????. ?? ???????, ????????, ????? ??? ?????? ???? ???????????? ???????, ?? ????????? ????? ????????? ? ????? ???????????? ???? ? ???? ???? ???????: «??? ??????? ????????? ?? ?????, ??? ?????? ?????????? ? ??????». ? ??? ? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ??????????. ? ?????? ??????????. ? ??? ?? ? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????????. ? ?????, ?????? ?? ????, ??? ?? ?????? ??????? ? ?????? ???????, ???-???? ????? ???????? ??????????? ?????? ? ???????. ??????? ?? ???. ??? ????? ?? ? ????????, ????? ??????? ???????? ???????? ? ???????.

??? ???????? ??????????, ? ??? ????? ??? ??, ??? ? ??. ? ??? ???????, ??? ??? ????? ??????. ?, ???????, ?? ??????? ??? ?????? ???????, ? ???? ?????? ??? ??? ????, ????? ????? ??????????. ?? ????????? ??? ???????? ???????? ??????, ? ????? ??? ???-?? ?????? ? ?????????????, ? ?????????? ???????? ? ????????. ??? ?????? ?????? ????. ?????? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ???????????? ????? ????? – ??? ????, ?? ??????. ???, ???????, ????????? ? ?????????. ??? ?? ?????? ???????? ??????? ?? ????? ?? ????? ????????? ????. ? ????? ?????? ?? ??? ???? ??????? ? ????????????? ????????, ??? ????????? ??????????, ??? ????? ??????? ????????????? ? ???? ?????. ? ????? ???????????, ??? ????? ??????????? ????? ????????????. ??, ??????????, ? ???? ??????????? ????? ?????????, ????? ?????? ?????????????? ??????????? ???????????? ? ???????????? ????????, ????? ??? ????????? ?????????? ??????????. ??? ??, ??? ? ???, ??? ???????? ? ?????????? ??????? ???????????.

– ???????? ????????? ??? ??????, – ??????????? ???????. – ????????, ????????? ??????? ???????? ?????????? ?????????? ????. ?? ???? ???? ??? ?????.? ????? ??? ? ?????????, ?????? ?? ???? ? ???????? – ??? ????????? ??????, ???????????, ???? ?? ??… ?????? ?????? ? ?????????? ????, ????? ??????? ???? – ??? ??? ??? ??????? ?????. ???????????, «?????????» ? ??? ????? ?????????? ?????? ?? ????????? ????-????? ??? ???????? ????, ????? ????? ??????????. ? ?? ??? ?????, ??? ???. ? ? ?????? ???????, ? ???? ? ???, ??? ???????????, ?????????? ?????????? ?????, ?? ????? ??????????? ????. ? ????, ??? ?? 2018 ???? ???????? ???????? – ????????, ???????????,??????. ????? ? ??????? ???????? ??? ?? ?????? ???? ?????? ??????? ????? ???????? ?????????? ???. ??????, ?? ?? ????? ?????? ?????? ????????? ??????. ?? ????? ????????, ???????? ??????. ???? ?? ????? ??????, ????????, ??? ??? ??? ???????? ??????????. ??? ????? ????? ????????????.

– ??? ?????? ???? ????????????? ???????? – ??????????????? ? ???????? ??????-???????.

– ??? ???????, ????? ??????? ???? ????? ???????, ? ??????????, ? ????? ?? ?????????? ??????????? ??????, ????? ????????, ??????? ?? ???????, ?? ??????? ????, ?? ???? ?????, ?? ???????, ?? ?????? ?????????????, ??? ??????????, ??? ?????????, – ????? ??????? ???????. – ?? ??? ?????? ??? ????? ?????????? ?????????. ??? ???????, ???????, ??? ????????????? ? ?? ????? ?????????? ????????????? ??????? ??????. ?????? ???, ????? ??????, ?? ???? ????? ? ???? ?? ????? ??? ?????????? ?????? ?????? ??? ?????? ????????? ?, ??? ???????, ????????? ?? ????? ????????. ???????, ??? ? ?????? ?? ??????????. ? ?????? ???? ?? ??????????? ?????? ? ???????????, ? ???? ?? ????, ? ??? ???? ????????, ?? ???, ??? ???????, ??????? ? ???, ??? ? ???? ???????, ? ????????? ???????, ?? ? ? ?? ???????? ??????????? ????? ?????????? ????????? ??? ??????????? ????? ????????????, ?? ??? ? ??????? ?? ???? ???? ??????? ???? ????????? ????????. ???? ? ??? ??????? ????… ?? ? ??????? ???? – ???????, ??? ?? ??? ???????????, ???????

– ??????? ??????????, ?? ?????????????, ??????????, ?? ???????? ?????? ??????? ????????, – ????????? ?? ???????? ? ???? ????????? ???????? ?????? ?????.

– ? ???????? ????, ?????? – ?????????? ???????. – ?? ???????? ???? ???????? ??????????, ? ?????, ??? ???? ?? ? ????????. ?? ????? ????, ?????????? ????? ??????????????, ?? ????? ???????, ????? ???????? ????????, ? ??? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ??????? ??????????: ?? ? ?????????? ????????? 530 ??? ? ???!

– ? ????, ??? ?? ???????????? ?????????? ???????????? ?? ?????????? ??????, – ???????? ???????.

– ??, ? ??? ???-?? ??????-?????????? ???????? ?????? ? ?????? ??????????? ?????????. ???, ???????, ????? ?????????? ????? ????? ??????.

– ? ?????, ??? ?? ?????? ? ????????? ???????? ? ????? ?????? ? ????????? ?? ??????????. ?? ??? ??? ????????? ???????.

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  • Frankly, I do not see how posting the Russian text exonerates Gergiev. True, he does not directly say, “Vladimir Vladimirovich, you are like Prokofiev! You are like Peter and Catherine!” However, Gergiev’s references to these figures could be calculated to praise Putin. The story about Prokofiev speaking with someone who disliked his “Romeo and Juliet” (after its “successful premiere,” as Gergiev notes) seems to be meant to encourage Putin and, perhaps, to present his situation as analogous to that of Prokofiev: sure, there may be some critical voices, Gergiev could be suggesting, but they shouldn’t distract us from the many good things that Putin is doing.

    You might treat the above as speculation, as indeed it is. However, I would suggest that if it were not Gergiev’s intent to liken Putin to Prokofiev, he need not have mentioned that Prokofiev had critics. If Gergiev simply wanted to point out that Russia had produced great cultural figures, he could have named them without also noting that, like the President, they were criticized in their time.

    As for the Peter and Catherine bit, I would again suggest that this may be meant indirectly to flatter the President. noting that his government has done much to support the arts in St. Petersburg in a way that continues the positive legacy of earlier rulers who made the ertswhile imperial capital into a center of culture. Again, no direct comparisons are made, but it is hard to ignore the implications.

    I cannot read Gergiev’s mind, but I don’t think that suggesting that the conductor was put up to this by “Putin’s minders” is enough to absolve him of blame. It is fair to raise questions about comments like the ones that Gergiev made, and I hope that readers will continue to do so.

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