Sad video: Gergiev repeats Putin propaganda on Ukraine and gays

Sad video: Gergiev repeats Putin propaganda on Ukraine and gays


norman lebrecht

June 29, 2014

Ahead of the Mikkeli Festival in Finland, Valery Gergiev has given an interview (in English) to Vesa Siren on the issues of the day. He ignores the Russian-sponsored corruption of the last Ukrainian government, calls the new regime ‘fascists’ and endorses the annexation of Crimea. (he has not visited the disputed areas; his information is Kremlin sourced).

On the anti-gay law, he says it has nothing to do with gays.

Click here to watch the video. Highlight quotes:


Russian President Putin presents a Hero of Labour award to Mariinsky theatre director Gergiev during an awards ceremony in St. Petersburg

Valery Gergiev on…

Ukraine fighting: It’s a problem of Ukraine. Not of Russia. Ukrainian people kill each other.

In Ukraine (there are) too many Nazi elements. The other part of Ukraine don’t want to stay with the Fascists. Russia now takes tens of thousands of refugees from eastern part of Ukraine.

Soprano Karita Mattila’s refusal to work with him: Putin maybe doesn’t know who is Karita Mattila. Karita Mattila doesn’t understand anything in politics. Especially in Ukraine. … How will she look in the eyes of mothers whose children were killed?

Crimea annexation: I made one statement: the people of Crimea should be saved immediately. I was asked if my position on Crimea was to ignore, or to save people. I said of course we have to save them immeditately, (or) there will be thousands killed. It is absolutely true that Russia made it possible for Crimea people, who are big majority Russians, simply to save their lives.

The anti-gay law: It’s not anti-gay. It’s about propaganda in schools. If people want to attack Putin and think ‘let’s attack famous musicians’, what is this? I didn’t know about this law. I learned about this law in the West. Nobody in Russia knows about this law.


h/t: Vesa Siren


  • Vesa Sirén says:

    Actually the interview was made in St. Petersburg before Mikkeli Music Festival. Another possible highlight:

    “The worldwide coverage of this [the situation in Ukraine] is totally different here [in Russia] and in CNN, for example, or BBC World. So totally different, that it is amazing that we are living in era of internet and people talk about completely two different worlds… and in China they cover it differently comparing to English or American news. We all together have to find where is the truth and what is the truth.”

    Best wishes

    Vesa Sirén

  • Brian says:

    Fascinating interview. I was struck too how Gergiev seems to suggest that the differences in news coverage between Russia, China and the West are somehow because the Western media is getting its facts wrong — and not because Chinese/Russian media are essentially mouthpieces of the governments there.

    It’s also remarkable how Gergiev has appropriated the language that “Nazis” are in control in Kiev (if I’m understanding him correctly).

    • norman lebrecht says:

      I find it very disturbing, Brian. He has suspended critical judgement and turned into a mouthpiece.

      • Olaugh Turchev says:

        Indeed how could he take Andrei Parubiy, leader of the 1991 created Social-National Party of Ukraine renamed Svoboda, who is now the Kiev point man in no less than NATO for a “Nazi”? What a mistake… It should be “Zina”.

  • Mikey says:

    does anyone want my copy of “Valery Gergiev in Rehearsal & in Concert: Prokofiev – The Scythian Suite ” DVD?

    I’m sorry but I get drive heaves now even looking at the DVD box cover.

    The man is positively repulsive.

    • Olaugh Turchev says:

      Mikey, do not suffer such a hardship: Slavyansk people will collect some dough and send it to you so you can give the offending DVD to your local library at no loss…

  • anonymus says:

    “he has not visited the disputed areas; his information is Kremlin sourced.”

    Hmmm… and who has visited the disputed areas here? Anyone? What is our “information” based on? Worth a thought? Who is closer to Ukraine, Russia or London?

    • norman lebrecht says:

      At least five reliable contacts have reported to Slipped Disc direct from the Ukraine.

      • Olaugh Turchev says:

        “five reliable contacts”? Many of us also have direct friends that are informing us… So we can all appreciate the significant gap between western media coverage and reality.

      • Ed Whitehead says:

        Why does any of this mean that his facts are “Kremlin sourced” (missing hyphen not mine)? Couldn’t his information on the Ukraine equally be sourced from the BBC, CNN, or even Wikipedia? Come on Mr. Lebrecht, if you really believe that Gergiev is wrong then why don’t you let the interview speak for itself instead of filtering it through your unique brand of biased journalistic hype?

  • Alex says:

    [redacted] The London Symphony Orchestra should be utterly ashamed.

  • Patrick says:

    The outcome of continued comments such as these should be reduction of employment to only areas controlled by Putin, nowhere in the West. They are repugnant. LSO drop him!

  • Christy says:

    Not long ago, the Guardian uncovered information on the number of Russians being paid by the Kremlin to troll websites and blogs leaving what can only be described as unbelievable and absurd comments.

    I don’t remember the specifics, but each time I read a story about this situation, I see evidence of it.

    • anonymus says:

      I don’t think the Internet forces the Kremlin might have on the payroll (probably they have) could even hold a torch to the massive forces the USA and Israel (Hasbara) have unleashed in the Internet. In those two cases we know for fact that they are among us.

      • norman lebrecht says:

        Under your cover of anonymity, you can hardly accuse others of being secret agents.

        • anonymus says:

          Anonymity is the only way to exist in the internet these days, without being subject of unlawful storage and use of one’s own speech into all eternity. I wish the reality was different, but unfortunately certain forces have decided to use the Internet as the ultimate usurpation tool and store each and every bit and trace one leaves electronically. In a clever way though, that people don’t feel it (too much).

          • norman lebrecht says:

            That’s nonsense. I am not anonymous, nor are many others who post here. Stay incognito if you like, but don’t attack others who are prepared to stand by their views.

          • anonymus says:

            @Mr. Lebrecht:
            what do you mean? It’s the reality that every single keystroke we do in the Internet is recorded on NSA servers in the US and maybe elsewhere and analyzed. That’s a fact. Bringing this reality from the Internet world to the real world, it’s like having a microphone in every pub and every place of social interaction and record all conversations. Would you be fine with that? I guess not, so why would you agree on the Orwellian data storage in the Internet? Staying anonymous is the only way to avoid this madness to a certain degree.

          • M2N2K says:

            The degree of naïveté that is needed in order to believe in such nonsense is mind-boggling. To have even 1% of “every single keystroke we do in the Internet … analyzed” would require employing the entire world’s population for the job. So, that fear-mongering claim is neither a reality nor a fact. And besides, if the NSA or other similar agency gets really interested in someone’s comments, they will be able to trace them to a real individual person with name and address pretty quickly, no matter how (s)he signs those comments. By the way, given that their resources are limited, it is only natural that they would always pay closer attention to “anonymus” commenters than to those who sign with their full names. There are other valid and legitimate reasons for not wanting to advertise ourselves on various websites, but those are personal and have nothing to do with the dreaded Big Brother.

  • Scott Rose says:

    Young people including teens in all cultures have knowledge of the concept of love and more than a smattering of an idea of what personal physical intimacy is about. So to call favorable mention of same-sex attraction “propaganda” is a height of anti-gay bigotry. Gergiev is an anti-gay bigot.

  • Stephen says:

    Nothing that Gergiev says or has said justifies calling him an “anti-gay bigot”. On the other hand, we have gone too far in the West into stifling individual views; people have a right to be anti-gay if they so wish as long as they do not openly insult or assault homosexuals. In the end, all this has no more to do with music than accusing Furtwängler or Karajan – falsely, as it turned out – of being Nazi supporters. Why spit in the soup rather than enjoy truly great music making?

    • Max Grimm says:

      Because we live in a world where the exchange of different views usually ends in a fight with the respective sides entrenched even further in their rejection of the others’ views. The world reminds me a lot of the small village where my aunt and uncle live. Any person you talk too will know what is best, living spick and span lives with the perfect family. But when it comes to their neighbours…disaster! Nothing but weak morals, dirty secrets and/or blotted copybooks.

    • Mikey says:

      I can only presume you also believe that any person can express their “personal views” of a racist nature without being called out on them?

      The problem with “people have a right to be anti-gay” is that those very same people tend to be the ones calling for anti-gay laws, and denying LGBT people the same rights they themselves take for granted.

      There is no requirement to be tolerant of intolerance. Bigotry is bigotry, whether you agree with it or not.

  • Stephen says:

    “Bigotry is someone else’s sincerely held belief.” Discuss.

  • M2N2K says:

    Actually, “stephen”, bigotry is every sincere bigot’s “sincerely held belief”.

  • Christy says:

    No, the information he spewed could absolutely not be sourced on CNN, BBC, etc. You will not find that language about the Kyiv government on those sites or stations because it has been completely and totally disproven by their reporters on the ground. It is fantasy.

  • M2N2K says:

    Both anon and olaugh keep talking about “the significant gap between western media coverage and reality” and about Russia being “closer to Ukraine” than London – and yet they never name any sources of their supposedly superior “information” other than various western media outlets. As one who has read many articles by several observers who are much closer to the conflict, I can say with high degree of certainty: the picture of the situation as presented by anon and olaugh is very far from reality indeed.

  • M2N2K says:

    What a curious turn of phrase: “too many Nazi elements”… One wonders how many Nazis would be the acceptable number for the Maestro. Does Russia, unlike Ukraine, has exactly the right number of Nazis? Or maybe there are not enough Nazis in Russia and he would like to borrow a few extra ones from Ukraine so that each of the two countries has precisely the correct number of Nazis? Judging by his wording, this sounds like a perfectly reasonable solution.

    • Natalia says:

      Where did you see Nazis (lovely Kiev ultra-fascists) or hear any praises to anyone in this video, Neil (except in the title of RT-RussiaToday)? Do you understand Ukrainian? I do: the girl with a megaphone is pleading not to give up and to keep Maydan revolution’s achievements alive (to become a true democracy for Ukraine and to join European Union.

  • Neil McGowan says:

    [[ the Guardian uncovered information on the number of Russians being paid by the Kremlin to troll websites ]]

    No, it didn’t. It made empty accusations that it was unable to substantiate. Just like you.