Breaking: Anna Netrebko plunges into Ukraine war

Breaking: Anna Netrebko plunges into Ukraine war


norman lebrecht

December 08, 2014

The soprano has announced she is giving a million rubles ($19,000) in aid to the opera house in Donetsk, a disputed city whose Russian citizens have voted to secede from Ukraine. The city has come under heavy bombardment from both sides.

Netrebko insists her aid is humanitarian. ‘I have comrades in Donetsk, young musicians, who are living under bombs,’ she said at a St Petersburg press conference. ‘I am not a politician, but I really wanted to lend a helping hand to Donetsk.’

Her motives may be apolitical and well-intention, but making the announcement in Russia was ill-advised. It aligns her with its president’s support for the secessionists. Netrebko is a proud Putinista.




  • Gerard Collins says:

    well done Anna

  • SVM says:

    [sarcasm alert] …because looking politically correct to some self-righteous foreigners takes precedence over bringing music to people suffering in the midst of civil war. Someone needs to warn Barenboim, before he offends the warmongering political establishments even further.

  • Milka says:

    If Ms. Netrebko wants us to believe that
    her Russian humanitariunism is not
    suspect she might speak out against
    the Russian invasion of the Ukraine.
    Was the donation a suggestion from former KGB boss now chief muzhik
    of Russia ? Did it enter Ms. Netrebkos’
    little mind that if Russia did not invade
    there would not be any living under bombs ? She is nothing but a party line babe ..and backs up the great Anna Russells’ comment that singers
    often have resonance where their brains ought to be ..especially Ms.
    Netrebko who in this case thinks we believe her non political baloney .

    • Henrik says:

      Who invaded where? Look up the difference between secession and invasion. Now that over five billion $ the US has pumped into dubious Ukraine opposition groups in the last years in their finally successful attempt to destabilize the country for a gains in their geopolitical agenda, under which name do we file that? Humanitarian help? God are you naive, or crazy, or both.

      • William Safford says:

        Well, there’s the Russian violation of the Treaty of the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in its illegal annexation of the Crimea….

    • Olga says:

      Anna is not a party babe, she is a big artist of opera. You are probably sick if you do not understand a difference between humanitarian help to musicians, who are tapped in the zone of war, and political games.
      Anna did a good thing, well done Anna!

      • Christy says:

        *IF they are trapped (there is no evidence of this), all that needs to happen for them to be untrapped is for Russian tanks, soldiers, and weapons to get out of a country that isn’t theirs.

    • Esteban says:

      thank you, milka, for another insightful, constructive and inspiring comment. it must be fun and rewarding being such a positive person.

    • Christy says:

      I rarely agree with you here, Milka, but BRAVO. Well said and you are absolutely correct. The *one single reason* Donetsk residents are suffering is because Russians will not leave. They have invaded and they refuse to get out. Period.

      Anyone who does not recognize that an invasion has happened is either ignorant, blind or being paid not to see it.

      • Henrik says:

        Please don’t comment on issues you have no knowledge about. These separatists might get Russian support, but these people are mostly from that very turf they are fighting on, not some foreign mercenaries. I don’t believe that violence is a solution for anything, but neither do I believe is the evil geopolitical agenda of the US, that is behind the destabilization of Ukraine any solution to any problem. It only creates more problems. And more profits for a few, which is the whole point why the events are unfolding as they are. Putin is outplayed by the only superpower on this planet and he has not strategic strength left, but the intentions of said superpower are evil and the main reason for all this bloodshed.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Scooping that low to this level of bashing is pathetic.
    Anna Netrebko here helped her fellow artists in Donetsk just as Bolchoi’s Svetlana Zakharova and Yuri Baranov have raised 600,000 rubles funds for the choreographic school of Kiev as a solidarity to their alma mater.
    In a difficult period these artists have tried to rise above political clivages, something your unintelligent post has not.

    • Natalia says:

      She’d not just supported the Donetsk artists (I would not blame her for it at all, it’s a respectable thing to do). She held a separatists’ flag and posed with one of their leaders. What is it if not a political statement?
      I am mourning a loss of a great artist and moving on.

  • Milka says:

    Henrik , one may play at semantics as
    much as one cares to , but an invasion
    is still an invasion however it is dressed up – there is no bashing of Ms. Netrebko , just an observation – if she had not at this international event made
    the gift known publicly none would be the wiser and she could have gone on
    without her humanitarian heart being questioned .That she allies herself
    with a thug who was last seen fleeing Australia in embarrassment tells us a lot about her humanitarian instincts.
    It is a stunt that might please mother Russia but fools no one else .

    • Henrik says:

      Clearly the Crimea issue is a classical secession, and even then there is a special case here, considering the Crimea’s history. Even the most cold war experienced US elder statesman Henry Kissinger understands that and says so repeatedly. The Crimea is Russian and there shouldn’t be a problem with that.

      As far as Eastern Ukraine is concerned, we are looking at fighting separatists, trying to achieve secession, but the situation is again much less clear.
      If you call the likely Russian support for these separatists an invasion, what do we have to call then the US pumping of billions into Ukraine to overthrow the Russia friendly government? A Blitzkrieg? A coup?

  • Christy says:

    Since most Donetsk residents don’t have food, electricity, or places to bury their dead, I find a $19,000 gift to an opera house ludicrous. Since there are over a million internally displaced Ukrainians from the East, you’d think money could be better used elsewhere.

    Documents hacked from the Russian Interior Ministry and released yesterday clearly show the instructions for sending Russians into Donetsk. The loss of several Russian FSB agents during a battle in Donetsk (dead bodies on display in Ukraine for evidence), plus, according to the Russian Soldier’s Mothers group, well over 1000 missing and presumed dead Russian soldiers, supports this. Satellite images of Russian tank convoys heading into Ukraine provide even more evidence. Oh.. and Russian soldiers on television confirming their Russian in Ukraine… well sort of seals the deal.

    This gift is the height of ridiculous.

    I don’t know whether Ms. Netrebko really understands what’s happening or not. Since she’s never been what anyone would call even remotely intellectual… she may not.

    Regardless, this does show the massive decline of the ruble. One million rubles = $19,000. Excellent work, Mr. Putin. Keep it up.

    Next year’s Russian budget includes a benchmark of $100 per barrel for oil in determining revenue and Russian expenditures. Keep it up, Mr. Putin. Keep it up.

    • Christy says:

      Apologies. Should be:

      – and Russian soldiers on television confirming *they are* Russian in Ukraine –

    • Olaugh Turchev says:

      Save us the Mother of Russian soldiers litany… Paid for by the US of America.
      As for your “proofs” from the same sources that were claiming victory all summer long, columns of invisible tanks promptly and gloriously destroyed by the same victorious side, this has nothing to do with the subject at hand, a personal donation to colleagues who are among those displaced and homeless so kindly treated by the Kolomoisky battalions…

      • Christy says:

        Of course. The twisted Russian mindset created by Putin dismisses any facts that suggest Russian involvement in anything negative. Everything negative is created, paid for, or, the responsibility of, the USA.

        Reading Russian media and talking to Russian trolls, I’ve learned how incredibly powerful they think my country is. They think we can do ANYTHING we want ANYWHERE to ANYONE at ANY TIME. We apparently are responsible for EVERYTHING bad that happens to Russian anywhere.

        I would have no idea Russia is so weak without these trolls constantly telling me they have no defense against the USA and Russia has no power to do anything on its own.

        • Olaugh Turchev says:

          Facts are not the first thing that comes to mind from the SBU…
          And of course, anyone who does not buy Kiev’s fairy tales cannot be anything else but a paid agent…

        • Henrik says:

          Tell us, why has the US given over 5 billion US $ to very dubious Ukraine opposition groups. Why?

    • Henrik says:

      Tell that to the US state department. They might have been better off giving the over,- US $ to the people in need, rather than financing an overthrow of the pro-Russian Ukrainian government with it.

      Now Netrebko’s gift amounts to only 0.00038% of the US gift to the Anti-Russian underground groups in Ukraine, a relatively small affair to get all wrapped up about, don’t you think?

  • Christy says:

    The St. Petersburg Times in Russia sent reporters undercover into an “internet troll” organization run by the government.

    Read all about one of the communication arms of the Putine regime:

    “According to Lvova, each commenter was to write no less than 100 comments a day, while people in the other room were to write four postings a day, which then went to the other employees whose job was to post them on social networks as widely as possible”

    (I’m sure this article will be said to be bought by the CIA)

    • Henrik says:

      Sure the Russians will do something like that. But probably – simply comparing budgets – the Russian effort can only be infinitesimal compared to the massive US resources used in the cyber world war.

  • Natalia says:

    She not just gave money to the theater, she also posed with the separatist’s flag and one of their leaders.

  • Saul Davis says:

    I have only heard this creature sing in the movie, The Princess Diaries Two, and she was not very good at all. So why do people give her so much attention and publicity? Let her rot in obscurity. There are much greater singers around, pay attention to them.