Gidon Kremer lashes out at the Russian justice system

Gidon Kremer lashes out at the Russian justice system


norman lebrecht

August 24, 2017

The violinist issued a statement today in Russian (loosely translated here), condemning the systemic faults in the arrest and prosecution of the opera director Kirill Serebrennikov:

I am deeply disturbed by the situation that led to the arrest of the original Russian artist Kirill Serebrennikov. The way it was conducted (night raid in a minibus, police in masks) is even more depressing.

Similar pressure is being applied to other suspects, to “ordinary” employees.

It’s easy to talk about this from afar … But it is quite obvious that the circle of people who are entrusted with administering justice is completely devoid of the notion of human norms. Judges per se are violators of the code of respect for rights, as well as being blind to the world of art.

Is this justice?

The trampling of elementary human rights has been and continues to be a sad tradition of Russian society… A creative person once again has been deprived of the right t work. Remember the recent premiere cancellation of the ballet Nureyev at the Bolshoi Theater, and the stopping of a film about Victor Tsoi in St Petersburg…

The very title of the artist suggests a certain morality, and I’m sure that Kirill Serebrennikov is its avatar.


  • Anon says:

    Not much known here in the west about the case. But Russia still has this ugly tyrannic modus operandi, when it tries to silence dissidents. Brutal special forces, imprisonment, violence. Western societies have more refined ways in silencing dissidents.

    Does anyone have more substantial information what is going on actually?
    From afar, it looks like an attempt by the system, to silence an artist, who makes homosexuality a theme, does not suppress it. Russia is known for its deeply rooted homophobia.

  • Mike Schachter says:

    The very sad fact is that the current regime is almost liberal by Russian standards, in the context of the last 500 years, or at least since Catherine the Great

    • M2N2K says:

      Much longer than that actually. Since the very beginnings of Russia as a state over a thousand years ago in tenth century, the only relatively “free” and “liberal” times happened twice: 1) for just a few months between March and September in 1917, followed 75 years later by 2) starting in 1992 for about a decade until Vladimir Putin firmly established his increasingly dictatorial and “progressively” oppressive rule in early 2000s. So, Gidon Kremer is correct: “The trampling of elementary human rights has been and continues to be a sad tradition of Russian society…”.

      • Anon says:

        The time between 1992 and Putin’s ‘inauguration’ was a time of steep decline for most of the population of Russia. Living conditions worsened, poverty roamed, average life expectancy plummeted, social security eroded, economy was on a rollercoaster. Difficult to describe that time as ‘free’ or ‘liberal’, more like anarchy and failing state. Putin, we can think of him and his political agenda whatever we want today, stabilized his country a big deal, got the oligarchs somewhat under control and improved living conditions. Fact.

        • M2N2K says:

          First, free and liberal does not necessarily mean prosperous and orderly. Second, living conditions started to improve already in mid-1990s. Third, Gidon Kremer knows very well what he is talking about.

          • Mark says:

            Firstly: freedom and being liberal can also mean prosperous and orderly. They are not mutually exclusive. Quite a lot of countries succeed in it. There is no fault, regardless Russia is or is not prosperous, in ask the Russian Government to do better!
            Secondly, living standard in Russia actually gets much worse since mid-1990s. Unless you are White straight Russian with good social connection.
            Thirdly, Gidon Kremer does know what he is talking about, compare to the arse licking spineless Valery Gergiev

          • M2N2K says:

            First: agreed, of course; I never said otherwise.
            Second: 1992-1993 were the worst years economically for most Russians because objectively such a huge radical systemic change was extremely difficult to achieve successfully while trying to make it practically overnight in such a large country, but living conditions were slowly getting progressively better after that for about a decade. However, after oil prices went down in mid-2000s, Russian economy has been getting weaker again. So, the quality of life for the majority of population is probably worse right now than it was two decades ago, though it is still somewhat better than it was for the first couple of years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Empire.
            Third: glad you agree with me about GK.