Exclusive: What Anna Netrebko did for President Putin

Exclusive: What Anna Netrebko did for President Putin


norman lebrecht

March 31, 2022

In her bid to resume her career yesterday, the sanctioned Russian soprano said: ‘My position is clear. I am not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia.’

Really? This is not entirely in accordance with the documented facts.

Slippedisc.com has obtained a copy (below) of Netrebko’s direct involvement in Putin’s 2018 campaign for the presidency.

In this ‘Доверенное лицо кандидата в президенты (declaration of support)’ that she signs on Putin’s behalf with Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev, Netrebko affirms in a legal statement that she is acting as a proxy of a presidential candidate of the Russian Federation.

This proxy status is defined in state media (and Russian Wikipedia) as ‘a person who carries out campaign activities in favour of a candidate for the presidency of the Russian Federation, and in some cases may act on behalf of such a candidate. Proxies are appointed by a political party, which has nominated a presidential candidate of the Russian Federation, or by the candidate himself. They must be registered with the Central Election Commission of the Russian Federation.’

So: ‘Not a member of any political party nor am I allied with any leader of Russia’?

How does that look?

Netrebko’s statement has generally fallen flat. In a response to the New York Times, the Met’s Peter Gelb said: ‘We’re not prepared to change our position. If Anna demonstrates that she has truly and completely disassociated herself from Putin over the long term, I would be willing to have a conversation.


  • John Borstlap says:

    It’s stuff of a tragic opera, with an unhappy outcome and with some hilarious moments along the way.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Within the context of death due to war, I don’t believe “hilarious” plays a part.

      • John Borstlap says:

        The story of a diva arrogantly anchoring her career to political powers and then trying to unmoor the ties when it goes wrong, and seeking excuses in such naive way, certainly has some bitter humour.

  • AB says:

    Dear Norman,

    apparently, it is a list from 2012, not 2018: because two posititions above there is a name of Alexander Nevzorov. He has been Putin’s proxy in 2012, but distanced from him and went into fierce opposition in 2014 after Krym invasion.

  • Gustavo says:

    She is so Domingoesque.

    She’s caught up in denial, contradictions, and outright lies.

    Zero credibility points!

  • Zvi says:

    She is associated with Putin for yeras and until now it was OK and everyone made a lot of money thanks to her, but now she is boycotted. The same goes to Matsuiev.

    • Perspective says:

      By the same rule of thumb all the museums and galleries, Met opera and others, that you go to which received Putin money directly or trickled down by oligarchs (make not mistake) should also be cancelled. They all profiteered from him.

      All the heads of states who have had deals with him, all the celebrities and sports people who visited Russia all profiteered from Putin.

      Don’t be a hypocrite or at least lighten up. This way of enrage yourself with one person says more about your soul than of hers. Shame on you and other sanctimonious individuals (Gelb included) who think they are beyond good and evil.

      Also think of other wars the Western has started with other countries. Cancel their Western supporters as well.

      The blindness, self-delusion and righteousness of some people here beggars belief.

      • Nick says:

        Agree 100%

      • MuddyBoots says:

        Ridiculous statement. Oligarch money could have gone to an arts institution– where it could do some public good– or to another yacht or luxury home purchased through a shell corporation. That was the only choice. Arts institutions or other charities are not like political campaigns, where dirty money taints the candidate. You are trying to make everyone look bad so Putin and his war criminal cronies don’t look as bad. Why would you do that? Please tell who is pure enough to be allowed an ethical judgement? Only you? Somehow I doubt you are as clean and ethical as you pretend to be.

      • Sue Sonata Form says:

        Totally. And nobody here has obviously heard about the people in Russia criticizing Putin – war or not – and the disappearance of themselves and their families. It’s been on the news just recently.

        Tyrants/thugs/meglomaniacs/Mafia dons; they HAVE NO FRIENDS and will spare nobody who dares criticize. Anna and others may have made some injudicious friendships, but they’re ‘artists’ – not rocket scientists!!

      • horbus rohebian says:

        A neat little pro-Putin burst that..

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Much as I’d like to disagree with you, all of her “fans” and enablers (Vienna, Salzburg, Berlin, Paris, London, New York…on and on) need to be a little introspective at this moment.

      None of us can say we didn’t know
      Putin’s character or actions or Anna’s association. It was willful blindness.

      I am included.

      • Perspective says:

        But the same with other artists and institutions who paid other artists – anyone financed by Russian’s corporations and oligarchs are also guilty. It doesn’t matter if you profiteered 100 or 100 million as some institutions did. The sin is the same. Russian money was across all the arts!

        Due diligence should have been expected from all of us, but would you in retrospect have not gone to Blatvanik-sponsored Tate? To Abramovich financed Chelsea?

        Nobody knew because at that stage Putin did not go crazy on this huge. Netrebko didn’t know he’ll go this crazy as, for instance, Rattle didn’t know and was happy to take Berlin Phil to Baden Baden (financed by Russian companies).

        Hindsight is very good but if you want to apply it don’t pick and chose your artists, it’s not fair, it’s not true.

        Everyone is guilty or no one is guilty. Wanting to be sanctimonious and morally superior here is blatantly blinded and hypocrite.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          You would have made a good German (in Germany) after the war.

          • Sue Sonata Form says:

            On the contrary, those calling for scalps here would have been the ‘good germans’ – eating all their greens (propaganda) and weeding out dissent. That’s their job of work!!

        • MuddyBoots says:

          “Everyone is guilty or no one is guilty”. And exactly what allow YOU, most pure, sanctimonious and misleadingly named “Perspective” to be the arbiter of guilt, innocence and every gray shade in between?
          No, not all crimes are alike, and not all bad behavior is a crime. Petty theft isn’t the same as murder, and being late to draw a line about behavior isn’t the same as war crimes.
          Most ridiculous and unethical statement ever.

  • Bloom says:

    Anna Netrebko did what she did . She will go to hell. There s also a special chamber in hell for hypocrites like Mr.Gelb.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      And millions of fans. Let’s be fair.

      • Perspective says:

        I am not more a fan of Netrebko as of many other singers, but what I am is a fan of the person who is trashed so unfairly (comparing her treatment to that of any other artist who stepped on a Russian-financed opera house, i.e. ALL OF THEM).

        I am a proud fan of Violetta when Rodolfo throws casino chips on her, of Butterfly when she is abandoned…

        Yep, you can keep your place in the blind mob who goes after Peter Grimes or joins the Auto da Fe in Don Carlo.

        • Vienna calling says:

          Rodolfo throwing casino chips at Violetta… I love the idea that he got adopted after Mimì died and had a name change.

  • Perspective says:

    May you also post Richard Strauss’ list of paid jobs for the nazi regime?

    The witchhunt, hypocrisy and ruthlessness of some posters does show why man will go on war with man forever.

  • Perspective says:

    By this cancellation rule of thumb, EVERY politician, leader and celebrity/sportsman who throughout the years has shaken hands with Putin should be also cancelled. Putin now has gone mental, no one supports him, Netrebko neither – why only she should be cancelled and not the others, heads of State included? They had pictures and meetings with him in the past.

    The vileness, pondlife-ness of some you is utterly disgusting.

  • Simpson says:

    “I have otherwise never received any financial support from the Russian Government” wow-wow, hold on! And how was her huge 50th birthday gala event at the Kremlin Palace financed? All those star guests – Bartoli, Domingo, Villazon and so on, the Kremlin Palace itself, you know, any opera singer can have it for his or her birthday celebration… According to Berin Iglesias Holding, the producer, the whole huge gala was sponsored by Russian state-controlled Rosneft (read Igor Sechin, the closest ally of Putin and essentially his #2 man). Just decided to pay for Anna’s birthday party at the Kremlin’s largest concert hall. According to the same Berin Iglesias Holding, Tatiana Golikova, the vice-chair of the Russian Government has personally attened to making sure the foreign guests got their visas in time during the covid restrictions on entry to Russia. She might have done it just out of the goodness of her heart for a totally politically unaffiliated singer.
    “[n]or am I allied with any leader of Russia”. Yeah, right, sure. The “Happy Birthday” congratulatory letter from Putin to unaffiliated Netrebko was read at the concert by Putin’s press secretary Peskov. I suppose he was just passing by. “Then Anna Netrebko was presented with a luxurious bouquet of flowers from the leader of the Russian Federation” as reported by the press, for being not allied, of course.

  • Peter says:

    Let’s be right now: Supporting Putin is a point of view we should accept, just as we should accept people who think the US invasion in Iraq was ok, or people that think unvaxxed shouldn’t be able to visit dying familiy members in hospital. We do absolutely not need to like these points of view, but we should accept them.

    • Simpson says:

      A mere point of view is very different from being a part of the propaganda, handsomely benefiting financially from being a part of the propaganda and expressly supporting the current politics and the leaders of the state.

      • Perspective says:

        Tell me of a major opera house who has not benefited from sponsorship and donations of Russian money, be that from donations or sponsorship directly or through oligarchs/Russian companies.

        The double standard / blindness is just ridiculous.

      • Peter says:

        You never know when you end up as part of propaganda. And it also not necessarily be your fault.

  • Morgan says:

    Nine years ago Netrebko was hardily booed at The Met for her alignment with Putin’s anti-gay legislation. She is not new to this game.


    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      It’s curious that you’ve juxtaposed homosexuality with the war in Ukraine. Do you think that was a Freudian slip at all?

  • Nick says:

    Well, there are names on that list who adopted a 180º reversed position now! A. Nevzorov comes to mind!!

  • Cara Cara Meravigliosa says:

    Erwin Schrott must be extremely relieved about dodging that bullet

  • little blue dot says:

    Interesting how Putin’s criminal invasion of Ukraine has finally given Americans such moral clarity about imperialism and militarism. Congress just today voted to give 500 billion to Vietnam for the 3 million people we killed there, and for the massive number of birth defects caused by agent orange. It has offered 100 billion to Cambodia for the 2,756,941 tons of bombs we dropped on the country in 230,516 sorties on 113,716 sites. Literally millions of large and cluster bombs remain unexploded and have killed 19,000 people since the war. The budget also includes 400 billion to Iraq for our massive destruction of the country and an estimated 900,000 dead in the region because of the war. Also included is 100 billion for the half million Iraqi children killed by the decade long embargo that prevented Iraq from obtaining medicine, and especially the machinery and chemicals to purify water. (Children are especially susceptible to impure water.) Especially notable is that Congress has apologized to Mexico for stealing half of its territory at gun point in 1848. Congress will thus duly return Texas, New Mexico, California, and Arizona to Mexico on January 1, 2023. Who would have thought that Putin’s criminal attack of Ukraine would give Americans such a strong sense of the immorality of war and invasions?

    • Sue Sonata Form says:

      Your first 14 words were the only accurate ones here. The rest was hysteria and revisionism – so beloved of the Left.

    • Anita says:

      Why would people dislike your comment???? You forgot also tonnes of depleted uranium bombs illegally thrown on Yugoslavia and Iraq, etc. continuous support of Saudis bombing Yemen where 1000 of children have died and are starving in a blockade as I write this! Anyone who ever voted for any American president should rot in jail by these merits!

      • BigSir says:

        As usual, the US is bitched at by insular Europeans who do nothing humanitarian for the rest of the world other than start world wars while they squabble over borders.

  • Tati says:

    Bashmet is on similar lists, why is nobody talking about him? Common , this is way out of hands…

  • Steinway says:

    The problems of demanding loyalty oaths….: Having barely survived the loyalty demanding Trump, and the current loyalty fealty Republican party, danger lurks closely….

  • Rob says:

    She can sing in the shower, how’s that?

  • Sue Sonata Form says:

    McCarthyism lives!!!

  • Novagerio says:

    Internet never forgets! 😉

  • Tom Phillips says:

    She clearly assumes that most of her fans are as ignorant and easily misled as she is. Sadly many of them are.

  • David says:

    Vissi d’arte, anyone?