Gidon Kremer on Putin’s Russia: ‘I cannot bear the mass hysteria, and the mass lies’

In an interview (in German) on Bayerische Rundfunk, the great violinist avows his love for Russian culture and artists while reiterating his public opposition to the Putin regime. Listen here.

kremer

Translation:

BR Klassik: „Mr. Gidon Kremer, in October 2013 you gave a concert in Berlin under the slogan „To Russia with Love“ with which you wanted to draw attention to the political situation and especially to the human rights in Russia. Current events in Ukraine and also in the Russia Federation are causing great concern. How strong your love to Russia is strained by that?“

Gidon Kremer: „I have a complex relationship with Russia. I am not a native Russian, but I used to live in Moscow for over 15 years. Need to mention, despite the fact, that I was born into a German family, I spent my childhood in Latvia, therefore for most of my life I spoke Russian, I have a lot of Russian friends. Amongst them are many composers and performers. So the Russian culture of course means a lot to me. But – what is happening there these days, what Russia does to the world, with all this I totally disagree. It is alienating and upsetting to me. It makes me realize to what degree my thinking and attitude are completely different.“

BR Klassik: „You said that despite your deep connection, love and emotion to this country the present situation in Russia makes it difficult for you to accept its current state.“

Gidon Kremer: „It is about politics. It is not about a single person within this politics that makes everyone loose its mind . It is about a tendency that i is quite well known here in Germany. A collective madness named patriotism. All that is alienating me. Maybe it is because of the personal story of my family. Maybe as well because of my admiration for true personalities and truth as such in particular. Anyway it is hard for me to bear with this mass hysteria and endless lies.“

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  • For those of us who don’t know German, could someone post a translation? I have been an admirer of Kremer for many years, and would like to know his opinion.

  • Good for him. Of course, first of all he’s Latvian and second, has lived in the West for years. Though so does Netrebko and so could Gergiev and others.

  • It would be more helpful if Mr. Kremer had more fully explained what he meant by: “[b]ut – what is happening there these days, what Russia does to the world, with all this I totally disagree. It is alienating and upsetting to me. It makes me realize to what degree my thinking and attitude are completely different.“ and the specific human rights violations in Russia to which he was alluding. It would also be helpful to learn what other human rights violations committed elsewhere he is or is not concerned about, and how he would prioritize them.

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