Vladimir Putin: Tchaikovsky is ‘the pride of Russia’

Vladimir Putin: Tchaikovsky is ‘the pride of Russia’


norman lebrecht

July 03, 2015

Introducing the winners gala concert of the 15th Tchaikovsky Competition, the Russian president called the event ‘the pride of Russia’.

putin tchaikovsky competition2

Pointing to millions of people who watched the live broadcasts around the world, Putin added: ‘This high degree of interest in the feelings and emotions is vivid evidence of how we understand and appreciate the art of music.’

He described Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky as ‘the world’s favourite composer (who) brings together people of all countries in the great creative force of art, (sealing) the inextricable link of Russian and world culture.’

putin tchaikovsky competition

photos: kremlin.ru


  • Derek Castle says:

    “Which proves my lickspittle ‘academics’ right. He was 100% man. So there!”

  • ruben greenberg says:

    Has anybody told Putin that Tchaikovsky was gay? Putin would be horrified to learn this.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Since the Russian authorities have their own opinion about history and reality, Tchaikovsky was NOT gay, the Soviet Union a beautiful and just society WITHOUT corruption and with an entirely perfect legal system and with total freedom (apart from measures to silence people who were against the freedom of the people), the West a corrupt and hostile force trying to destroy Mother Russia, and all the crimes in Russian history as described in Western historiography mere propaganda. Finally Russia achieves its historic role of enlightened nation, showing the way to the envious world.

      • Alvaro says:

        Well, after ferguson, the phone tapping of presidents, miLitarized police forces, two poliTical parties that are essentially the same and wikileaks, i dikt know if you were trying to describe soviet russia or modern day US. Got confused there…

    • Max Grimm says:

      Not necessarily. You can sometimes observe a similar thing in sports, where racists might cheer or even admire non-white athletes.

    • Maxwell Golden says:

      I’m actually currently in Russia (and am, coincidentally, also gay) and was watching this with a few of my Russian friends…everyone knows that Tchaikovsky was gay, and they all laugh about how ironic it is that the government goes to such lengths to hide and deny this when they celebrate him…

  • Bob says:

    Tchaikovskij was gay, and yet Putin are harassing gays, claiming that they are “dangerous” 🙂

    Claiming that Tchaikovskij was‘the world’s favourite composer’ is rather childish, and seems a little bit like a child claiming that “My father is stronger than yours”. Tchaikovskij was a good composer, but claiming that he is better than all other composers is a silly argument.

    Putin should concentrate on getting the Russian troops out of Ukraine.

    • John Borstlap says:

      But that is very difficult since they listen to a daily diet of recordings of Tchaikovsky symphonies, especially the fifth.

      • ruben greenberg says:

        A conductor-I can’t remember who-once told me that he thought that Tchaikovsky’s operas were far superior to his symphonies because portraying the emotions of his characters made him less subjective; less prone to over-indulging in his own emotions and getting overly sentimental.

    • AZ Cowboy says:

      Favorite has nothing to do with quality. I agree with Putin: Tchaikovsky likely is the most popular composer ever. The Nutcracker, 1812, and the first piano concerto have seen to that. Maybe he wasn’t as good a composer as Beethoven (who was?) but he was no slouch.

    • robcat2075 says:

      Well, you didn’t really expect the President of Russia to walk into something called “The Tchaikovsky Competition” and say, “He was OK… I’m really more into Country and Western myself but… eh, whatever…”, did you?

  • Sergei says:

    It’s clear that many of you would like a final solution of Russian “problem”. If possible the disappearance of the country.

    • jaypee says:

      Nope. All we want is to see Russia join the 21st century.
      What part of “discrimination is wrong” is too hard to understand?

    • John Borstlap says:

      It would be great if the Russian people (i.e. the majority) would choose to emulate their own culture (i.e. the best of it and not the crimes and provincialism) AND share the international community, to defend civilization together with the West against the current threats.

  • Malgosia says:

    Oh Men, just close your eyes and listen to blasting music reverberating against Your chest. Feel your skin and heart, music is for THIS.
    Be happy, for ONCE.

  • Olaugh Turchev says:

    Cue in your week-end bashing… Had Li won accommodation would have been found…

    • jaypee says:

      And cue in your systematic defense of Putin.

      Do you even care for music at all? According to your “contributions”, all you care for is Putin…

      As for Tchaikovsky… A Russian student told me that it was never mentioned anywhere in Russia that Tchaikovsky was gay and that she only learned about his homosexuality once she lived in Western Europe… And we’re talking about the 21st century here…

      • Olaugh Turchev says:

        As if the whole thread cared about music in the first place…

        • M2N2K says:

          Can’t speak for *all* participants, but jaypee is certainly correct about the role that *you* are playing in these “discussions”.


    Pytor Tchaikovsky has rightly entered the pantheon of great composers of our time with some of the most beautiful and heart wrenching music ever penned particularly the 6th Symphony which is in a way his own autobiography in music and being persecuted for being homosexual,what an irony that Putin praises him even though he must know about the composers sexuality, and yet Russia is the worst place to live today if you are gay.

  • Branimir says:

    Richard Craig said: “…and yet Russia is the worst place to live today if you are gay.”

    Really? It seems that you know nothing about the situation of respecting the LGBT people rights around the world. Maybe you can start learning here: http://76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/

    Furthermore, diminishing Tchaikovsky, his whole personality and music only to the (homo)sexual aspect is so degrading and primitive.

    Finally, declared politics and reality in some country is far from being in accordance. When you insist (some of people here) over and over, would anybody care to compare, for the sake of the argument, the number of hate crime afro-american victims in the USA, and the number of hate crime LGBT people victims in Russia in any given period of time?
    Of course, it would be disgusting if anybody would feel triumphant over more atrocities of any kind “there” than “here”, or anywhere. Every single victim of discrimination, persecution, torture or murder anywhere in the world is too much. And Tchaikovsky’s 6th is perfectly suitable for mourning each one of them, everywhere.
    Compassion in his music is universal, not straight, not gay, but human.

    Was Putin’s speech hypocritical? May be so. But, you can also not deny him a measure of humility coming to the concert stage, praising culture, music, and – yes, Tchaikovsky. What do you think, how many people attending the event in the Tchaikovsky Hall that evening, including Putin himself, don’t know, or would be shocked, or “horrified” if they knew that the genius was gay? Come on, get real.

    • Paul says:

      Parroting the rhetoric of the Soviet propaganda machine will only get you so far. Communist strongmen have long used the injustices within the US to justify their own crimes. That the situation in the US and abroad is not perfect does not give Russia and its leaders the ability to claim exemption from human decency.

      Ironic that you mention Putin’s supposed ‘humility.’ True humility would have been judging the competition fairly, first prizes would have been awarded to competitors hailing from countries outside the Soviet Bloc. They couldn’t even bring themselves to award first prize to a Taiwanese Violinist when no Russian played well enough to merit it. This is not representative of humility, it is a confirmation that the competition has been turned into a propaganda source of nationalistic pride for a nation declining in every field of international importance.

      • Branimir says:

        Justifying injustices with another injustices? Where in my note did I do that? And Putin is now to be blamed also for the judging at the TCH15? You must be some funny guy.

    • Frank R says:

      Remember when Rick Perry was running an anti gay anti atheist ad and he was using the music of atheist homosexual composer Aaron Copeland? I’d say that was worth noting. Putin’s even harsher comments make for noteworthy hypocrisy too.

    • ruben greenberg says:

      Get a sense of humour…

  • don scott says:

    I think Putin got that wrong. Alexander Borodin was an even better Russian composer.

  • Mahlerfan says:

    Tchaikovsky was the creator of the finest melodies classical music has ever seen and with a seemingly inexhaustible supply. he was deliberately modest about his ballet scores, even though they contain one fantastic melody after another. He was a great composer and in terms of quality, craftsmanship up there and many times surpassing Mozart, Beethoven, Bach for sheer inventiveness. He’s certainly my favourite composer.

    • Richard says:

      Got to agree with you. Tchaikovski was one of the very best. Russia should be proud of him, and Rachmaninoff too. IF all he had ever composed were the 4th , 5th, and 6th Symphonies he would still be worthy of this recognition. Tchaikovski and Mahler are my favorite composers, depending on which one I am listening to at the time !

  • herrera says:

    I thought it was against the law in Russia to promote gay propaganda? So why do they still hold the Tchaikovsky Competition? I would rename it the Putin Competition, where every contestant must compete with no shirt on, sitting on a horse. And the only piece allowed is the Russian National Anthem.

  • nimra says:

    This kind of appreciation is an insult to poor Tchaikovsky.

  • CDH says:

    Given that parades and associations celebrating the gay world are generally referred to as “Pride” in a shorthand that most recognise “”Did you go to Pride Week when you were in Sydney?”) Putin may have nailed it for once!

  • 110 says:

    Sombody can explain why Kharitonov did not play in any of the two gala concerts?