Putin lavishes praise on Gergiev

Putin lavishes praise on Gergiev


norman lebrecht

December 26, 2015

The Russian president, in a meeting with his Council for Arts, singled out the Tchaikovsky Competition as a notable achievement and thanked ‘Maestro Gergiev’ for organising it (maybe he’s starting to forget first names).

Putin said: ‘”We can say that this year the Tchaikovsky Competition really returned to its former glory revived. This was a great success.’


putin gergiev


  • Olassus says:

    Good for Vladimir Putin!

    — a national president “in a meeting with his Council for Arts”

    — the latest Tchaikovsky Competition accurately described as successful. Did it not also set new world standards for transparency?

    — correct form for “Maestro Gergiev”

    Remember, this head of state reads music, attends performances, and directs taxpayer money toward symphony orchestras and opera companies.

    • harold braun says:

      Spot on!Ins Germany,only cuts,and in England(ENO)….

    • MacroV says:

      A high price to pay for the money, in so many ways. And if you factor in the tax deduction for charitable donations in the U.S., I would bet that the U.S. government contributes far more to cultural institutions – whether in absolute terms or per-capita – than does Russia’s.

      • Eddie Mars says:

        Remind us again how little you know?!

        • MacroV says:

          Not getting into a spitting contest. Give us some numbers to show I’m wrong.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            It was you who made the blowhard claims, John Wayne. So how’s about *you* substantiate what you’ve claimed…. or shut your piehole?!

            Every week here on SD we hear of another American (or Canadian, Hlatky) orchestra or opera company going bust, or locking its players out. Russia has an orchestra and opera theatre flourishing in every main city. So the *facts* seem to fly in the face of your triumphalist neocon ignorance.

        • MacroV says:

          I’m the farthest thing from a neocon; best not to make assumptions about people.

          Americans donated about $400 billion to nonprofit organizations in 2014. Most of it to churches and charities, but say about 2% (but probably more) to cultural organizations. That’s $8 billion. Assume that most of that money came from people in the 28% marginal tax bracket, meaning that the US government gave up $2.24 billion in tax revenue as a result of donations to cultural organizations. Whether the US government spent the money itself, or whether it gave up that revenue through tax deductions, has little practical difference.

          I’d certainly like to see our government subsidize the performing arts more generously, but that level of support isn’t insignificant. Plus, it reflects a culture of private philanthropy that is basically unknown in the rest of the world (certainly in Russia, where the occasional oligarch makes a big showy donation of money stolen from the state, but not much more).

          It’s true that our conductors aren’t generally besties with the President, but I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            Well, I am pleased to see you backpedalling from your claims about Russia.

            Here in Moscow we have six fulltime professional opera houses, each with its own orchestra, chorus, and team of soloists.We also have six fulltime symphony orchestras, more than ten chamber orchestras, and many hundreds of chamber ensembles. I doubt any city in the USA could equal that provision in terms of either quality or quantity, frankly.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            But like a typical yankee, you’ve turned this discussion into an enumeration of the only thing in the world about which you have the slightest clue – your own country.

            Your fact-free trash about Russia makes you sound like Sarah Palin after a bottle of Thunderbird. Absurd, bigoted venting without the slightest clue.

        • Una says:

          I don’t think we need this of any of these kinds of comments!!

        • Boychik from Urals says:

          Ok, Eddie – so you just continue to live in Moscow and enjoy all that pretty music. I assume you’re not a journalist, so you don’t have to worry about Putin’s thugs beating you up or killing you in cold blood in front of your apartment house.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            Give up, Milker – we know it’s you (again)

            The Russia-hating neocon troll army of Macrov, Greg Clacky, Milker, “Anon”… never post on topic, never post about music.

            A while ago Mr Lebrecht asked for a ceasefire on posts about Israel… saying that nationality shouldn’t be grounds for personal attacks.

      • Peter says:

        You would bet and you would loose.
        Eat it. The US is Sparta, not Athens.
        The US supports martial arts, not arts.

        • Greg Hlatky says:

          Russia: the Upper Volta with missles. Punching under its weight for time immemorial. Hasn’t produced anything in a century it didn’t buy or steal from the West. An economy that produces nothing but extractables and second-rate military equipment.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            I see someone’s had too much cherry brandy over the Christmas holidays, eh?


          • Peter says:

            You are living under a rock. It might be a big rock. It has TV and Internet. Still a rock. Your statement is laughable, particularly when it comes to classical music. Actually the US is “stealing” all the Russians they can get, particularly in the arts.

            Also Boeing and others are running development centers in Russia, due to the qualified aviation engineers there.

            The Russians are the only way of US astronauts into space for years to come…
            How does your foot taste?

            What exactly does the US economy produce? Huge trade deficit… more imports than exports… export mostly raw materials, like a third world country. Notable exceptions are aircraft (Boeing), semiconductors and Pharmaceuticals. What else?

          • MacroV says:

            Russia does have a lot of skilled programmers and engineers (and musicians), but it’s no secret that their GDP is overwhelmingly dependent on exports of oil and gas; Putin has utterly failed (or simply not tried) in 16 years in power, to diversify the Russian economy. Their weak protection of property rights, including intellectual property, makes it hard to produce much that involves patents and trademarks. And just why do you think so much Russian money moves abroad? Russia’s moneyed class enjoys the rule-of-law protections in western Europe and the wicked U.S., along with their mansions in London and Miami.

          • Peter says:

            Macrov, I agree that Russia has a lot of major problems. I lack the insight, if Putin failed to diversify he economy. I think he is not having much leeway in his actions, driven by constraints on all sides and a bullying US which trying to win hegemonic superiority over Eurasia.
            What Putin basically achieved AFAIK is to close the valves, where the Russian assets were flowing out of the country almost uncontrolled – some would call it looting – during the Yelzin era. He made a pact with the oligarchs, keep the profits and assets inside, and I cover your ways. So it is of course futile to judge “what if” scenarios, but AFAIK Russia would have been much worse off without him.
            Of course the global corporate elite is furious that Putin managed to close the doors on looting Russian resources, and the propaganda is accordingly.
            A differentiated view on the development of the last 25 years would acknowledge, that actually Putin tried in his first yeas in power very hard, to ally and collaborate with Russia’s natural partner, whole Europe. Only to the effect that those efforts were boycotted and shot down by US global strategy. The biggest danger to US interests is an alliance of European interests including Russia.
            Such an entity would mean the end to US hegemony and should not be allowed.
            It was relatively easy for the US to boycott European collaboration and increase division.

            Just look at our Polish court jester here (Milka and all his other pseudonyms). There are a lot of stereotypical fears and insecurities in Polish and Baltic people, and it is easy to revive them and use them to isolate Russia from Europe. q.e.d.

        • Greg Hlatky says:

          Nobel laureates in Chemistry, Physics or Medicine: US, 267; Russia, 16

          Patent filings by priority country, 2005-2014: US, 2,476,732; Russia, 301,683

          Top 100 Global Innovators (according to Thomson Scientific): US, 35; Russia, 0

          We know what you are, we’re just settling on the price.

          • Eddie Mars says:

            One day you’ll post on the topic of classical music, Mr Hlatky.

          • Peter says:

            Nobody questions the fact, that in the 20th century the US was a most prosperous place, because it was a stable place, major reason being lack of war on its own territory.
            That again mostly due to a favorable geographical location, that isolates the mainland by thousands of miles of open sea from other potential trouble makers.

            Also you might want to have a look at the foreign born (and educated) vs home grown chart.

            Also underlining the fact that the US was one of the best places to work and do research in the 20th century, due to the rest of the world in turmoil for much of that century.

            Last but not least, when it comes to Russia/Soviet Union and the public acknowledgement of its scientific work and achievements in the west, you are comparing apples and oranges.
            The Nobel committee honors accessible and published results, it did not know much about what happened in the Soviet sphere.
            Much of the Soviet’s efforts were not published in the west, no patents were filed (not necessary because the ownership of the ideas was with the state anyway) etc.

            How hidden the Soviet science and research efforts were to the west became evident by the shock of the west when the Soviets demonstrated their leading position in space exploration when first space probe and first man in space were their coups.

    • Milka says:

      Also invades other countries causing untold deaths ,keeps his own people under the whip
      you think twice about crossing bridges , etc . etc . but what the hell show the moujiks
      you care for the arts, makes em feel “civilized “

      • Peter says:

        “invades other countries causing untold deaths”? You are talking about the USA? Because in the real world, that’s what is happening.

        • Anon says:

          I imagine “Milka” was thinking of a slightly longer, more representative period of time. The USSR managed to kill some 50m+ of it’s own people, let alone others. I don’t think the USA has ever come close to that (Vietnam deaths totalled just over a million on the Vietnamese side, and I don’t think that the Gulf, intervention in Bosnia, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on is likely to make up the other 49m+, somehow)

          • Duncan Reed says:

            Drinka pinta Milka day?

            No thanks. Might get bad indigestion as the acid would be overpowering, even allowing for the supposed alkaline qualities of the brew.

            However, she/he has a point. This is all a bit Hitler and Bayreuth, no? The Putin/Gergiev national front of music thing?

          • Eddie Mars says:

            You must be American? The idea that a country supports its own Arts program is such a surprise for you, you reach for Godwin’s Law.

            You lose.

          • Peter says:

            While impossible to count precisely in hindsight, scholars estimate the US caused victims of war and genocide between 20-60 million people, including the holocaust on the native Americans.

  • Greg Hlatky says:

    Musicians can be bought cheap.

  • Una says:

    Please, it is not fair that you men should spit at each other like this. There are responsible people who like to read this blog, and getting so personal doesn’t none of you any favours. It only turns people away from this site, particularly professional musicians. So come on, be a bit more considerate to others as a New Year’s resolution, and let’s have a proper debate, not point-scoring 🙂

    • Kathleen McCarthy says:

      You’re right. I’m done with this blog. it’s getting to be more about rabid politics than music.

      • Hilary says:

        Politics and music can intersect though so it’s appropriate that these fights occur.

        Take Beethoven, Verdi , Paderewski (president of Poland) and Ligeti (his only opera would have been unthinkable had he not experienced the equal tyrannies of Nazism and Stalinism) as a few random examples. Music isn’t just some kind of cosy escape.