Horror: Mariinsky star’s husband is assassinated

Horror: Mariinsky star’s husband is assassinated


norman lebrecht

March 24, 2017

Denis Voronenkov, the rebel Duma MP was assassinated yesterday by a hit squad in Kiev.

His widow is the mezzo-soprano Maria Maksakova, a member of the Helikon ensemble in Moscow from 2006 and of the Mariinsky Theatre since 2011, where she has been cast as Dorabella, Cherubino, Eboli and other important roles. She has performed in the UK with Valery Gergiev and released an album on Universal’s Russian label.



Maksakova was also a member of the Duma from 2011 to 2016, speaking out against anti-gay laws.

Last year, she relocated to Kiev with her husband after threats from the Putin security services. They have a baby son, eleven months old.

Fabio Mastrangelo, the Italian artistic director of the St. Petersburg State Theatre, has sent condolences and an offer of concert engagements. No message yet from the Mariinsky.



  • Sue says:

    Putin is an animal.

  • Brian says:

    “No message yet from the Mariinsky.” I wonder if Gergiev will speak up about this.

    • Dennis says:

      Why should he “speak up” about a killing in Kiev, the circumstances, motives, and perpetrators of which he probably knows nothing?

      Like many in the West, you seem to assume without evidence that Putin is at fault, and therefore Gergiev must “speak up” and distance himself from Putin. It is not at all clear that Putin is at fault here, as anyone who does even some cursory research in the victim knows. Seems more likely to be a Ukrainian false flag opp to be pinned on Putin (the all-purpose bogeyman of the West)

      • miketherookie says:

        Of course, Gergiev has nothing to say. Except, that the next day after the news broke out in Vedomosti that Voronenkov has testified against Yanukovich, Maskakova was immediately taken off the Mariinsky website.

  • Ungeheuer says:

    Oh jeez. For a moment the thought came this was about Yusif Eyvazov, to the disappointment of many Anna fans I’m sure.

  • SweetHomeChicago says:

    Does the thumbnail on the main page really need to feature her chest instead of her face?

    • Alexander Davidson says:

      Apparently this kind of cropping happens automatically. I guess the photo is automatically cropped to show the centre of the picture. That much I can believe. what I find harder to accept is that there is no way in which this default can be overridden manually. Of course it could be. If I can crop my Facebook profile photo so it shows the part of the photo I want to display I am sure that a professional blogger must have this facility. It really would be nice if this could eventually be resolved. It has become something of an embarrassment. There is actually a whole Tumblr feed dedicated to these pictures: https://slippedtits.tumblr.com, so it’s not only you and I who have noticed it. Could something perhaps finally be done?

  • Robert Manno says:

    Do any Russian musicians dare say anything critical of the force behind this and similar murders? Does that make any of the greatest among them (beginning with its most revered conductor) complicit in this and other Putin inspired/ordained murders?

    • marina arshinova says:

      Yes. I can say. Imagine murder in the centre of Kiev. No any single evidence, no any suspect, lots of traces leading to family, buisness and political matters of Voronenkov. For your information:ex-husband of Maria Maksakova and father of two her children was the criminal. There was the strife between them on kids, which stay in StPetersburg at the moment. Also Voronenkov was under investigation in the case of raiding. He had lots of problem and enemies in business. It’s nothing clear, but everybody already know who killed. Yes. Putin.

      • Dennis says:

        The US and Western European media, and those duped by them, seem to think Putin is to blame for everything wrong in the world.

        As you mentioned, the victim here has very dubious financial and business (and perhaps family ties (“business” in the same way that the Mafia are engaged in “business”). He also has dubious connections to other politicians and security agencies of various stripes. He’d be a perfect target for a false flag/agent provocateur operation looking to pin this on Putin to further damage his reputation. It would be even easier for a personal enemy or agents of the Ukraine’s Western puppet regime to get away with killing him, because they know Western media and security agencies will assume it is Putin without any real proof or investigation.

        • miketherookie says:

          Just for your information, Voronenkov testified that Yanukovich asked for the Russian Troops to be sent to Ukraine in December 2013. That of course kind of tarnishes the official Russian narrative, that it was a spontaneous decision in the end of February 2014 to send ”green man to Crimea”

        • Gonout Backson says:

          A curious, natural phenomenon : as soon as any regime is democratically elected (as Ukraine’s regime obviously is, both elections officially recognized by Russia), it becomes automatically “a Western puppet regime”.

          Maduro’s regime isn’t. Simple as that.

  • AMetFan says:

    Ungeheuer: This is funny to you? Have people like you become desensitized to everything? You should be ashamed.

    • Alexander Davidson says:

      The level of commentary on this blog has been sinking lately. This utterly tasteless comment is sadly one among many.

  • M2N2K says:

    Denials, excuses and all kinds of conspiracy theories notwithstanding, the history of Putin’s critics and/or opponents who have been, in mafia terms, “taken care of” is so brutally convincing that there is no reasonably logical choice other than considering his dictatorship as the prime suspect every time his next opponent turns up dead anywhere in the world.

    • Dennis says:

      Except it’s not so simple to label Vornoenkov an opponent, as if he were a principle opposition leader, and leave it at that. He voted in favor of annexing the Crimea (which rightly does belong to Russia), then later supposedly changed his mind about it and suddenly decamped to Kiev. One wonders what the Ukrainian authorities and intelligence agencies and/or his organized crime connections might have had on this guy. He was involved with all kinds of shady people and organizations. This hit has all the hallmarks of either a business deal gone bad with mafia-type connections, or a false flag op run by the Ukraine in order to pin it on Putin (since they know the West will assume without evidence that Putin is to blame).

      • miketherookie says:

        Crimea belongs to Russia just as “rightly ” as Sudetenland and Austria to Nazi Germany.

      • miketherookie says:

        He was a major witness for Ukranian government in the case against Yanukovich. So the only blame, is that they did not protect their witnesses. Ukranian government needed him alive to testify.

      • M2N2K says:

        Most of the world has a different opinion on whether Crimea belongs to Russia “rightly” or not. It is true that the victim of this murder was not always openly anti-Putin but became such only recently. However, after moving to Ukraine last year he certainly said a lot that was highly inconvenient for the Kremlin. No one claims that he was squeaky clean, but there is virtually no one with any sort of political influence in today’s Russia who cannot be found connected to all sorts of shady dealings. No source these days is truly objective and impartial when it comes to these matters which is why I always look at various media outlets in languages that I understand including Russian before commenting on such issues. And after looking at many of them for the past two days, I can still say that – even though anything is possible – considering everything we know from recent history, Putin’s regime must remain a prime suspect until and unless there is conclusive evidence to the contrary.

      • William Safford says:

        “annexing the Crimea (which rightly does belong to Russia)”

        That is false. Russia violated treaties and its obligations when it illegally invaded and annexed Crimea.

  • miketherookie says:


    If you read the article, Mastrangelo offered to conduct her concerts, but REFUSED to offer condolences. I am sure, realizing that that would jeopardize his job.

  • a marxist says:

    We can see the Petersburg troll factory hard at work here can’t we!

    Gergiev respected Russian artist??
    Get a life!

    Gergiev’s so called performances are awful even when Mariinski orchestra finally manage to get their instruments to play together.
    Their concerts have become a byword for mediocrity even by Russian standards.