Breaking: Bolshoi chief signs anti-war protest

Breaking: Bolshoi chief signs anti-war protest


norman lebrecht

February 28, 2022

The head of the Bolshoi Theatre, Vladimir Urin, is leading a group of artists who have signed an appeal in Moscow to stop ‘the special operation in Ukraine.’ Urin has been, until now, a Putin loyalist. He is pictured with him below.

Also signing the petition is the violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov.

The appeal has been posted on social media by the theatre director Maria Revyakina.

It reads:
We now speak not only as cultural figures, but as ordinary people, citizens of our country, our Homeland. Among us are the children and grandchildren of those who fought in the Great Patriotic War, witnesses and participants of that War.
Each of us lives a genetic memory of war. We don’t want a new war, we don’t want people to die.
The past XX century has brought too much grief and suffering to humanity. We want to believe that the 21st century will become a century of hope, openness, dialogue, a century of human conversation, a century of love, compassion and mercy.
We call on everyone on whom it depends, all sides of the conflict, to stop the armed action, and to sit at the table for negotiations. We call for preservation of the highest value – human life.

The signatories are:
Igor Zolotovitskyi
Igor Kostolevsky
Dmitry Krymov
Evgeny Mironov
Andrei Moguchy
Konstantin RAIKIN
Vladimir URIN
Valery FOKIN


  • Roman says:

    Don’t forget that Putin himself is “against the war”. His main point of “conducting a military operation” in Ukraine is “to prevent a large-scale war”. When someone in Russia tells that they are against the war, but they don’t put responsibility for that war directly on Putin or Russia, it may mean that the address of their protest is Ukraine.

    • Thomas M. says:

      I think the message is pretty clear: Putin is the one who started it, it is HE who can end it. Not everything has to be said for to be understood by the addressee.

    • LeonF says:

      See the Varoufakis podcast. Only a negotiated peace between Washington and Moscow will end the war. Possibly with a neutral Ukraine.

  • double standards says:

    Yet Western countries are still cancelling Russian artists as if they all support the invasion of Ukraine. No better way to alienate people and push them towards Putin than that.

    Not to mention the hypocrisy of not doing this for Western countries who invaded Iraq illegally.

    • Heril Steemøen says:

      All artists reported to be cancelled are Putin supporters or funded by him. Other Russian artists remain scheduled.

      • double standards says:

        And your point is? Blair- or Bush-supporting artists weren’t cancelled after the equally illegal invasion of Iraq.

        • Me says:

          Do you speak on behalf of those russian artists which were banned lately?
          Just asking

        • Sue Sonata Form says:

          Cast your tiny mind back to why that war was started. Remember 9/11? Remember Islamofascism? Remember the murderous Saddam Hussain? The very minute those towers went down the USA was on a war footing, looking for a culprit.

          Where are the similar types and parallel scenarios in Ukraine?

    • Maria says:

      Yes, a ticking box exercise that might look good and impressive. Not all Russians are for this war or invasion, and neither was all Irish in the height of the bombing, and hatred and killing in Northern Ireland, and yet still not totally sorted out.

    • guest says:

      Give us examples of Russian artists who are known to be uninvolved in politics, or who disagree with Putin’s politics, who have been cancelled in the West. You Putin supporters aren’t very intelligent, aren’t you? Dump a generic statement on social media and run.

    • Jeff says:

      If this would have been done for the war in Iraq, I am almost certain artists would have come out and said they didn’t support it. Pretty sure a majority of free thinking artists in the US oppose any kind of war and destruction…

      • David says:

        Susan Graham and Denyce Graves literally sang at Bush’s 2nd inauguration, 2 years after the invasion of Iraq and the slaughter had begun.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Wrong comparison – not only two totally different countries but also two totally different contexts, backgrounds, history of the problem, etc. etc. Too much to list here.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Some people just never get it, do they? They’re still blaming the Vienna Philharmonic for Hitler, with magical thinking that protesting that murderous regime would have meant they were popular in the classical music fraternity instead of living in real fear for the own lives and families.

    • James Weiss says:

      You give the game away by making the Iraq war. There is no equivalence. Period. You sound like those anti-Semites who claim “I’m just pro-Palestine.” We all know the code words.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        The lives of the innocent people in Ukraine are worth twenty times more than any number of cultural icons and concert halls, conductors and groupies.

      • David says:

        150000+ civilians killed, in an imperialist war for resources, all predicated on lies and propaganda.

        Tell me there’s no equivalence here?

    • Margaret Koscielny says:

      You seem to forget that Sadam Hussein dropped poison on villages of his own citizens, killing babies and entire populations, and threatening his neighbors, invading Kuwait, etc. I think it is you who have the “double standards,” not only in name but motive.

  • Rob says:

    This after Urin signed the open letter of support in 2014 for Putin’s agenda in Ukraine and Crimea. I guess when the blood has been spilt, it’s ok to change your mind ! ?

  • Felix says:

    Bravo Spivakov and all the other signatories! You will be remembered by future Russians with pride, and Putin with contempt.

    • miketherookie says:

      Spivakov is one of the people signing the letter in 2014 supporting Putin and his annexation of Crimea and the acrobatics in the Donbass. Look it up….

  • Elsa says:

    What with Tugan Sokhiev?

  • guest says:

    “We call on everyone on whom it depends, all sides of the conflict, to stop the armed action, and to sit at the table for negotiations.” They have sat at the negotiation table for months in 2021. They have sat at the negotiation table in 1930’s too. If someone wants war, they start war.

  • Vladimir Georgievich is a famous master of intrigue. He has a great opportunity to express his opinion in personal contact with Putin. He’s on the presidential council. There he constantly asks for money and receives a huge amount of it from the budget. This is a rich man who does not want to be sanctioned. Don’t think he has principles. Spivakov also receives funding from the state budget. And almost all the signatories of this wonderful paper are dependent on the leadership of the country. If they signed it, it means they were allowed to do it. No one left their job in protest.

  • James Weiss says:

    That statement is so bland and vague it’s as meaningless as what Pope Francis said yesterday. “Special operation” sounds like they’re referring to a nose job. Shame.

  • Margaret Koscielny says:

    This is an act of bravery which conjures memories of Andrei Sakarov and his leadership as a scientist. These cultural figures have a lot of clout in Russia. Putin will become hemmed in by protest. He can’t arrest the whole country!

  • In the US we call that “both sides-ism”… trying to appear concerned but blaming both sides as if both were the problem.