In a long, rambling interview to the Financial Times’s former bureau chief, he seems to be in complete denial about his subservience to Vladimir Putin and his service to the Russian propaganda machine.
Yet there is another side to Gergiev, on display a few weeks earlier in a very different location and on a very different occasion. In the dusty, ancient city of Palmyra, recently recaptured by the Syrian army from the fanatical jihadis of Isis, Gergiev conducted a short concert in the Roman theatre in a performance dripping with political symbolism. The previous year Isis murdered 25 people at the site, turning their executions into a propaganda film.
“I saw the blood on the stones myself,” Gergiev told me later in London. “We musicians, we artists, are asking politicians: why did you allow this to happen?”
Has he ever challenged Putin about the air strikes on aid convoys and hospitals carried out by the Assad regime with Putin’s approval? Has he ever considered that he might be acting as an apologist for war crimes?
This is no longer the Valery Gergiev we once knew and admired.
Full report here.