Putin’s present pet

Putin’s present pet


norman lebrecht

January 25, 2015

The viola player and conductor Yuri Bashmet was summoned to be congratulated on his birthday.


Photo: RIA Novosti / Mikhail Klimentyev

At their meeting in Novo-Ogaryovo, Putin officially said: ‘I want to congratulate you on your birthday. Thank you very much for your work, especially with children. You do much that few people see.’



  • DLowe says:

    Yes, Putin’s a git. Reckon David Cameron would invite …I don’t know, Stephen Hough, or Antonio Pappano to Downing Street and say something like that? No. “One Direction” maybe.

  • Darren says:

    I too am glad Putin respects his nation’s foremost artists. Name me 5 European Presidents or Prime Ministers that do the same ( for an artists Birthday).

    • bobman says:

      The only artists Putin “respects” are those like Gergiev, Bashmet, Spivakov etc. who publicly support him and sign his murderous manifesto. Artists and journalists who oppose Putin have their activities curtailed or they are either jailed or murdered.

  • Anon says:

    Calling a person a “pet” or any other degrading animal name is reminiscent to the ugliest propaganda in some of the darkest times of the last century. Why Mr. Lebrecht chooses to promote such hate speech on his blog is beyond me.

  • bobman says:

    Calling Bashmet a “pet” is a mild and clever way of showing that the violist is a mere lap dog to Putin and his oppressive reign.

  • LillyBean says:

    Why is it only Putin who has “pets”? Why doesn’t Obama (for example) have them. Obama has certainly murdered more people than Putin, and has certainly violated more international laws. It is Obama who has illegal drone operations in other countries – Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia, for instance. So far, it has been estimated that between two and three THOUSAND have been killed by these attacks. It is Obama who has bombed SEVEN different countries since his inauguration and who also funds, and gives weapons to the Israeli government, which recently massacred more than TWENTY THOUSAND Palestinians – all with the approval of Obama. Obama, in addition, also runs an illegal prison camp where people are denied access to the standard legal rights.

    Putin may well have annexed parts of the Ukraine, and may well be funding military operations there. He may well be an unpleasant person. But this is a drop in the ocean compared to the destruction caused by Obama. Yet, whenever some performer or artist, rolls up to the White House for a concert or a photo-op, no-one suggests these are “pets”. No-one condemns them for supporting a man who has violated multiple international laws and murdered countless thousands.

    The reason, obviously, is the media (and blogs like this one!), which simply repeat the standard line issued by Western governments without question or any hint of objectivity.

    • MacroV says:

      You cannot be taken seriously if you’re going to compare Putin and Obama. Obama may have his faults, but is a democratically elected President who will step down in two years, unlike President-for-Life Putin, and doesn’t have a lapdog legislature to ratify his acts. And as far as I know, he hasn’t sent in troops to annex any territory, or jailed/sidelined opponents. And so on.

      In any case, classical music doesn’t quite have the same cultural significance in the U.S., so it’s unlike Obama will be inviting Alan Gilbert over to the White House for birthday greetings.

      • Dave says:

        Really? As a follower of non-violent protest, I think both Putin and Obama are wrong. This is not Animal Farm where one can be more wrong than another. Yet, people pile on Putin. At least he takes an interest in the classical music of his country. I’ve yet to see Obama do anything like this.

  • Christy says:

    Probably partly because his favorite conductor and singer are busy doing this:


  • Erwin Poelstra says:

    “Norman, don’t Bash me too much with this Input”…