Gergiev pardons anti-Putin conductor

Gergiev pardons anti-Putin conductor


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2020

Six years ago, the Finnish volinist and conductor Dalia Stasevska made waves on a Ukrainian website by attacking Valery Gergiev and all his acolytes who unquestioningly supported Vladimir Putin’s wars of aggression.

Among other things she wrote:

Instead of supporting anti-humane and militant policies we, the musicians and artists, have the responsibility to fight for humanity. Our profession arises from a spiritual source inside us, making us compassionate and able to love everything living. There is so much beauty around us, that we can’t maybe sense clearly as often as necessary – maybe that is why we need an artists to remind us about basic human rights. I invite all the musicians and artists to use all their possible power to overcome the hatred and false emotions towards each other, to stop dictators, stop ignoring international law and its obligations as well not to resort to any further aggression towards Ukraine or any other peaceful country.

That was then.

This summer Stasevska will be conducting at Gergiev’s Finnish festival in Mikkeli (pictured). He has clearly forgiven her, and she has apparently swallowed her noble ideals.




  • M2N2K says:

    Not surprisingly, Valery Gergiev is smart enough to know that silencing some people can often be done better with carrots than with sticks.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I am not even sure whether Valery Gergiev himself is a one hundred percent supporter of Putin & his policies, but self interest makes him appear to be so. The institution he leads in St Petersburg have become so large under Gergiev/Putin regime, that it may dwarf every other cultural institution in the West. Someone like Ivan Fischer and any institution he may lead would never have thrived in modern Russia.

  • Greg Bottini says:

    I don’t know anything about why Mlle. Stasevka is conducting at this Festival (which I don’t know anything about).
    But I do know one thing: Gergiev is an ass. He was an ass, is an ass, and in the future will be an ass.
    And there you have my two kopecks’ worth.

  • Lohengrinloh says:

    bla bla bla

    another groundless russophobic fake news. In Russia, the artists/musicians/conductors etc who are openly anti-Putin perform & receive grants/salaries from the government.

    The same applies to the media, the radio channel like Echo Moskvy, which is aggressively anti-regime is partly state-funded.

    Putin supports Gergiev because he knows that he is efficient and the foremost person to support and further the Russian musical culture. If look at the Russian musical presence internationally, the great majority of prominent musicians and singers became recognized via Gergiev & Mariinsky

  • Brian says:

    Kind of remarkable, how, after all of these years of aligning himself with Putin, Gergiev’s career in the West hasn’t really taken any major hits. He conducts the leading orchestras and goes about his work. A lot of double standards to consider.

    • Dennis says:

      Perhaps unlike the insane mainstream political and media class, obsessed with seeing Russian Boogeymen everywhere, orchestra and festival leaders, and concertgoers, don’t fall for the caricatures of Putin and Gergiev.

    • SVM says:

      Yes, there are a lot of double standards to consider, on all sides of the post-USSR Cold War. First and foremost, let us in “the West” stop pretending to be more ‘humane’ than the Russians. Even if we leave aside the covert “military aid” and fomenting of civil unrest *known* to have been instigated by NATO, there is no escaping the horrific toll of NATO’s indiscriminate aerial bombardment, usually in breach of international law, of the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, and various other territories. And yet, it is exceedingly rare for any Western musician to be criticised for supporting or legitimising the governments and establishments at whose behest such war crimes have been committed.

      So, it seems that, in “the West”, we *all* fall well short of the ideals ostensibly proposed in Stasevska’s statement. As for Stasevska’s claim that the Ukraine is a “peaceful country”, it seems a dubious characterisation of a régime that deploys heavy artillery against its own civilians and enacts legislation attacking the right of Russian-speaking communities to use their own language (let it be remembered that even *before* the secession of Crimea in 2014, it was a majority-Russian-speaking region).

      As for Gergiev, it seems he has the maturity to accept that other musicians have the right to disagree with him. Once upon a time, tolerance of dissent was a value of so-called “liberal” democracies. Now that political and intellectual discourse “the West” is turning increasingly into a sanctimonious and censorious régime, it seems that many of us struggle to cope with the idea that the so-called “liberal” values are sometimes being better espoused by citizens of other countries.

  • Dennis says:

    “Wars of Aggression?” Russia protecting ethnic Russians in the Ukraine and asserting its rights in the Crimean (rightfully Russian) hardly qualifies as “Wars of Aggression.” The USA (research the role of the Obama admin, and people such as sickening State Department officials like Victoria Nuland, the then serving Ambassador to the Ukraine, the late un-lamented warmonger Senator McCain, the Biden clan) and others helped start it all by fomenting a coup against the lawful President of the Ukraine in 2014.

  • Valery Gergiev whom I have know for over 30 years has done a fantastic job in not only developing the Mariinsky Theater Opera and Ballet but is the very best ambassador
    that Russia has. He has smartly used the opportunities made available to him by his OWN COUNTRY to promote the careers of young artists and to preserve the magnificent culture Russia has given to the world.

  • Ricardo says:

    For what should he “forgive” her, for saying that war aggression should not be supported? Also, Dalia Stasevska could be forced by managers to participate in the festival.
    Anyway, shame on you, Norman, for saying following: “He has clearly forgiven her, and she has apparently swallowed her noble ideals.”!

  • The money made own work. says:

    the money made own work