Just in: Boris Berezovsky regrets his war comments

Just in: Boris Berezovsky regrets his war comments


norman lebrecht

March 15, 2022

The Russian pianist has issued a statement via the French music journalist Alain Lompech*:

Comme je le répète souvent, je ne suis qu’un artiste et humaniste. Je lis les réactions suite à mon passage au talk show “Vremjia Pokajet”
J’ai forgé mon opinion en consultant ces dernières semaines les politologues américains et occidentaux expliquant pour beaucoup que l’Occident est également responsable de la situation dramatique actuelle. Cela ne veut pas dire que je cautionne cette guerre ou n’importe quelle guerre.
Mon intention sans doute naïve en participant à cette émission , était de débattre pour évoquer les solutions possibles pour que ce drame actuelle s’arrête dans les meilleurs délais. Lorsque je demandais la possibilité de coupures d’électricité , mon intention était d’éviter le choix des bombes sur Kiev et ainsi éviter une catastrophe humanitaire encore plus dramatique. Mais j’ai été interrompu et n’ai pas pu aller au bout de mon propos.
Je resterai donc dorénavant silencieux sur toutes les questions qui ne concernent pas mon art.
« Quand les canons retentissent, les muses restent silencieuses. » J’aurai du suivre ce sage adage.
In English:
As I often say, I am only an artist and a humanist.” I’m reading the reactions following my segment on the talk show “Vremjia Pokajet”
I have formed my opinion in recent weeks consulting American and Western political scientists explaining to many that the West is also responsible for the current dramatic situation. This doesn’t mean I condone this war or any kind of war.
My undoubtedly naïve intention in participating in this show was to come up with possible solutions for this current drama to end as soon as possible. When I asked for the possibility of power cuts, my intention was to avoid the choice of bombs on Kiev and thus avoid an even more dramatic humanitarian disaster. But I was interrupted before I could finish.
So from now on I will remain silent on any questions that are not related to my art.
“When the cannons roar, the muses remain silent.” I should have followed this wise adage.
*UPDATE Alain tells us he received this text not directly from Berezovsky but from his Paris agent. The agent claimed to have sent a further copy to me, which is not the case. In any event the authorship of this message may be composite or secondhand. Please treat is with care.


  • Cantata says:

    Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.
    — ABRAHAM LINCOLN [attrib.]

  • Igorlover says:

    I liked him. But this is utter BS.

  • Iris says:

    he should remain silent, not to give this non-sense statement, it makes him looking even worse

  • Bernd Brackman says:

    Incredibly ill-written, incredibly senseless. I am not surpised.

  • S Corn says:

    His original comments were horrendous and his follow up comments sound sickening. I trust he will have these opinions held against him for a long time. Composers that are long dead can’t be held responsible for present day horrors but present day performers can be held responsible for their opinions.

  • Cantantelirico says:

    Troppo Tardi!

  • DG says:

    Contrast his waffling with the brave TV news editor who ran into the live broadcast with the sign decrying war propaganda. She has more courage in one fingernail than this guy has in his whole body.

  • Concertgebouw79 says:

    Boris ce n’était pas toi.

  • Aleksander says:

    Berezovsky’s contempt for human life expressed in his desire to cut-off electricity and water to Kiev (‘spit on them’) is another proof that even educated Russians are thirsty for blood of innocent mothers and children. His ‘regrets’ are even worse. Let’s spit on him and all those Russians who support genocide in Ukraine.

    • Daniel NYC says:

      I think a better idea is that he should be sent to the front lines of the Russian Army given that he has killed his career outside of Russia. He can get a first hand look at what is happening in Ukraine and the impact of cutting off basic humanitarian needs.

  • Hedgehog says:

    ‘So from now on I will remain silent on any questions that are not related to my art.’

    Too late for that. What’s said is said, and the stench of sycophantic alliance with this filthy regime of murderous barbarians and war-criminals will hang over him forever. He’s done, apart from the occasional gig in village halls in deepest Siberia. What an idiot!

    Shame. I saw him on several occasions during the 2003/4 Piano Festivals at La Roque d’Anthéron and found him a formidable and impressive pianist. He also made some good recordings in his time.

    His 10-disc Warner set was ejected today.

  • Music fan says:

    Boris regrets the backlash.

  • Ludwig's Van says:

    Certainly heroic of Alain Lompech to try to get his pal out of hot water, but it’s highly disingenuous.

    • The View from America says:

      Alain Lompech is beyond hopeless as well.

      Birds of a feather …

      • Alain Lompech says:

        I am journalist. I published a reaction of Berezovsky. But, I comment bad words on it. Norman had also recieved a reaction of BB much longer.

    • Alain Lompech says:

      J’ai publié ce commentaire qui m’a été envoyé par l’impresario français de Boris Berezovski comme il en a envoyé un à Normal Lebrecht. Mais mes commentaires sont sans ambiguïté : je suis. horrifié par les propos de Berezovsky que je condamne absolument.

    • Alain Lompech says:

      Et Boris Berezovsky n’est pas un ami. Votre accusation est pitoyable. Ne confondez pas le messager et le message.

  • Daniel Raiskin says:

    He is an utterly disgusting, flailing fool, who has no guts, no dignity and frankly no talent left!
    The word is out and damage management will not help a bit. Time will literary show and by then – he will be remembered as one of many Putin’s sluts.

  • Tiredofitall says:

    “But I was interrupted before I could finish.”

    Oh, you are finished.

  • pianoronald says:

    Si tacuisses philosophus mansisses!

  • MacroV says:

    I generally want to give the benefit of the doubt to someone who might have said something ill-advised or might have been misunderstood or quoted out of context. But from what I can tell here, what he meant to say was that he agrees with Russian efforts to bring Ukraine – and in particular Kyiv – to its knees. But might it be done more effectively and humanely by cutting and water than by bombing? It’s a fair question if you accept the premise that it’s OK for Russia to be in Ukraine. And therein lies the problem.

  • Eva says:

    Was he really hoping that no one will notice his incredibly cynical comments about Ukraine? Too many enraged fans for his taste? Is this how he regrets the backlash?
    There was no misinterpretation and his trail of thought wasn’t interrupted. I understand Russian very well and it would only be fair if after such statements he was banned from everywhere. Publicly encouraging a genocide… no words really…

  • stop_the_war says:

    “from now on I will remain silent on any questions that are not related to my art”

    Which means I should not open my big mouth before putting my brain into gear n’est pas?

    In fact your term “art” demonstrates the arch sin, which is “Pretentiousness”.

    Your demonstrable inability to have a valid opinion being not “art” but brain F-art, including the fatuous piece of propaganda that somehow we in the west are responsible for this Holodomor II, the 2nd genocide of the Ukrainian people in 90 yrs…
    (and the 2nd persecution of the Crimean Tartars btw…)

    It was our fault for the FIRST ONE in 1932-33 was it??

  • Arameo says:

    His career out of Russia is finished for ever. Good

  • M2N2K says:

    He may actually be right about one thing though: “the West is also [partly] responsible for the current dramatic situation” – because the mass murdering Russian dictator was neither punished nor stopped much earlier for his several military aggressive actions toward neighboring countries including Ukraine, while repeatedly breaking international laws for which he received nothing more than a mild and friendly slap on the wrist.

  • James Weiss says:

    Oh, give me a break. What a tool.

  • Uncle Sam says:

    “When I asked for the possibility of power cuts, my intention was to avoid the choice of bombs on Kiev and thus avoid an even more dramatic humanitarian disaster.”
    So Boris sees it as the binary choice for Russia: EITHER bombing Kiev to the smithereens OR freezing it and starving it by cutting off the power to the city. And, being a self-proclaimed “humanist”, he recommends the latter (but of course!). Wow, how noble of him! What about the third choice, Boris – in three simple steps: a) Russia’s getting the hell out of Kiev in particular and Ukraine in general; b) Russia’s begging Ukrainian people for forgiveness and c) Russia’s paying for whatever damage they caused in that beautiful city and elsewhere in Ukraine (yep, that would be hundreds of billions of $$$, but Ukraine may be benevolent enough to allow its “good neighbor” to do it over the next 5 years or so – plus you can help by giving a few concerts raising funds). Sounds like a plan, Boris, no? Something to suggest in your next appearance on Russian TV – if you care about people respecting you ever again…

  • fflambeau says:

    Sounds like the heat got to him.

  • JoshW says:

    He’s what we Jews call “a real schmuck.”

  • Mock Mahler says:

    Typical of the having-it-both- ways walk-back statement:

    I was naive, but I spoke after studying Western political scientists.

    I hoped to save Kyiv, so I suggested destroying its infrastructure.

    What I really meant would have been clear, but I was interrupted.

    I don’t condone war, but from now on I will remain silent about this one.

  • justme says:

    I was never one of his fans anyway. Can the West please impose sanctions on him!?

    • John Borstlap says:

      The International Piano Regulation Front is now issuing the following sanction: he’s only allowed to play pieces in the minor key which end sad.

  • slavaukraini says:

    Русский военный корабль, иди нахуй

  • Michael Turner says:

    Berezovsky would do well to remember Denis Henley’s first rule of holes: when in a hole, stop digging! It’s a shame as he’s yet another great Russian artist who has destroyed his own reputation. Maybe he might reflect on his own namesake, murdered in 2013 in the U.K. by the regime he supports.

  • wei c says:

    By trying to clear up the BS from the first statement, this is even worse. Perhaps should have kept quiet in the first place.

  • M McAlpine says:

    So he suddenly realises his comments have led to his cancellation by the west and tries to dig himself out? Too bad!

  • Giora says:

    Hélas l’alcool a depuis longtemps ravagé son cerveau !!!

  • Nina says:

    It would be better if he regretted that at the Tchaikovsky Competition he humiliated the pianist of Ukrainian origin Dmitry Onishchenko (his 2nd participation) when Berezovsky gave him 0 points.

    • Sheila says:

      That business of awarding a competitor zero points has an ugly history: It is always personal and always spiteful and always an abuse of power.

  • Lou Kosma says:

    The damage is done!

  • Alain Lompech says:

    Precision: it was the French impresario of Boris Berezovsky who sent me this reaction in French. As he sent one to Norman Lebrecht in longer English, one passage of which is identical. It goes without saying, but it goes better by saying it, that I condemn the infamous remarks made by this pianist on Russian television. Publishing this miserable update does not in any way mean that we share its content.

  • Sheila says:

    Too late.

  • Phil says:

    ‘Dramatic situation’? Current drama’?

  • Richard says:

    I think he definitely regrets the consequences of what he said! This… apology? might as well have said ‘please bring me back on to the record label!’