Report: Valentina Lisitsa played in ‘liberated’ Mariupol

Report: Valentina Lisitsa played in ‘liberated’ Mariupol


norman lebrecht

May 11, 2022

Russian media are claiming that the international pianist performed Russian war songs in the Ukrainian city that is being systematically bombed to rubble.

And to think that the Theatre de Champs Elysees allowed her to perform only last month.


  • little blue dot says:

    I read that Putin has an 80% approval rating in Russia for his war. People there are bombarded by their media with perspectives exactly the opposite of what we hear. As always in war, both sides think they are absolutely right, and thought becomes tribalistic. Hatred then goes through a cycle where one side is destroyed, or until both sides weary of killing and slaughter and hatred abates enough that they can come to an truce (however ugly that truce might be.)

    Ironically, Putin started this war exactly because he felt Russia had become so isolated that the country needed to break from the West and establish its own entirely separate sphere of influence. Further isolating Russia only confirms in Putin’s mind his justifications for his disregard for the West and his aggression.

    • guest says:

      “Further isolating Russia only confirms in Putin’s mind his justifications…”

      Putin’s mind has reached the terminal stage, the AH and JS stage. Like the two aforementioned ‘illustrious’ predecessors, he doesn’t need any justifications in his mind for what he’s doing. Whatever the West does, he will twist it to suit his narrative, supported by his lap dogs and opportunists. The West may as well stop wringing their collective hands about how Putin _might_ interpret their actions, and just go on with the sanctions. Unless you’d like Putin or the West to press the red button and put an end to your misery?

      “I read that Putin has an 80% approval rating in Russia for his war. People there are bombarded by their media… ”

      Russian people had free access to Western media for decades. Putin put an end to it two months ago. If Russians believe Putin, they do so because they _want_ to believe him, not because of lack of information. Those who believe him now began to believe him long ago – after all, he was _elected_ how many times?

    • Playing oboe says:

      We don’t have any right in Russia. In 40 years I never voted for anything. I did never take part in any poll. So are my friends. But we have this ridiculous 80% of approval. Where do they get this info? Maybe they asked 100 human beings, 80 of which were from parliament. I don’t know, but swear to God – 80% of my people are AGAINST PUTIN

      • William Osborne says:

        If you really are Russian and not faking, it would be good if you could use your name, but of course that would be very dangerous. There have been a number of different polls, and they mostly confirm each other. Here’s a recent one.

        I hope the Russian people will eventually want to remove Putin.

        • mk says:

          In repressive states you have to keep in mind that people are not necessarily honest with the pollsters because they can’t trust that their personal info will remain anonymous. You’re not going to tell a random stranger that you are against the war, if that can land you in prison for 15 years. Homo sovieticus has been conditioned to check boxes on forms and ballots so that those in power can maintain whatever pretense they want to maintain. It tells you very little of what’s actually going on in hearts and minds.

        • fliss says:

          I think the point is that in a virtual police state, which Russia is right now, accurate polling is simply not possible. It is a crime to even call the Ukraine war a war!And the fact that the polls are consistent is irrelevant. Would people trust that polling is confidential, and that it is not the government in disguise to identify dissenters? Would you answer a poll on the street? Or on a phone call from someone you don’t know? Would you trust a poll done in North Korea? Russia is now North Korea. Accurate polling is difficult even in the best of circumstances; under the present conditions in Russia it is impossible.
          Of course Playing Oboe is not going to give you his real name! Hardly anyone here does, for good reason. This is the internet! Only fools use their real names on the internet.

    • Bill says:

      Who knows if those polls can be trusted.
      Would you tell a stranger you don’t support Putin if you were in Russia right now?

      • William Osborne says:

        Sadly, I think Russians are as inclined to believe their media as are people in the West. Both sides are being manipulated.

    • Em says:

      You are completely wrong about Putin s motives.
      And no one isolated him before february 2022.

      • William Osborne says:

        That’s fundamentally untrue. Russia was strongly isolated after the first invasion of Ukraine in 2014. The Georgian war in 2008 had already led to isolation. The Nato expansion beginning under Clinton administration in the 90s was also a form of isolation–prompted by the Russophobe Madeline Albright. I’m no fan of Putin, he is an odius war criminal, but without a sense of reality, we will not find a solution to the war.

        • Robert Hairgrove says:

          The sad reality is that Russian soldiers are shooting civilians in the back standing in line for bread, murdering Ukrainians with their hands tied behind their backs, raping Ukrainian women and children, and bombing their schools and hospitals.

          What might the solution to that be?

          • Tamino says:

            Don‘t know. By the way…
            Was Donald Rumsfeld ever in prison? Or Dick Cheney?

          • Robert Hairgrove says:

            “Don’t know” (and probably “don’t care”, huh?)

            Amazing how you guys can only come up with some kind of “What-about-ism” as a response:


          • William Osborne says:

            No cries for justice for the million dead due to the illegal Second Iraq War which was based on pure lies. We lose our credibility but it does not limit the “certainties” that expand our hatred. The usual.

          • William Osborne says:

            The solution? To keep one’s wits about oneself in spite of the usual war reporting, and maintain a sense of reality which points in directions that could bring an end to the war.

        • guest says:

          I second Robert Hairgrove. What marvelous solution would that be, Mr. Osborne, that would be acceptable to _all_? Acceptable to Putin, acceptable to Ukraine, acceptable to Europe? I am all ear. This is not the first time you write such comments. You are all over SD claiming you don’t support Putin, yet the content of your comments is nothing but a steady trickle of apology for Putin’s actions, a defensive narrative, providing justification to Putin’s own narrative, that Russia is the best country in the world but they have been pushed into a corner and have to react, have to defend themselves. It may take no effort for you to point out the ‘injustice’ of not caring about Russia’s security interests in Europe, but it takes even less effort for European countries to remember who rolled out the tanks in Europe in the last 70 years. Nor have they forgotten the consequences of the Russian influence – run down economy in East Europe, with Russian propaganda dominating culture life; run down economy in Western Europe, partially for trying to bolster up the economy in East Europe. Russian economy is in shambles. I’m sure they don’t like it, but the European Union likes it even less to be forced to pay for it, they have their own problems. Shambles on both sides, the difference is that the Russian mentality is such that they are of the opinion someone else has to pay for the Russian sloth, including paying with people’s lives.

          Putin felt isolated? Poor little he. Does this entitle him to roll in his tanks into the nearest country? AH too felt isolated back in the day, but I have yet to see you defending him. AH at least had a shadow of a ‘motive’ – the Treaty of Versailles had Germany stripped of some territories, colonies, and with a war debt to pay. What ‘unjust’ treaty had been imposed on the Russian Federation, or before that, on the Soviet Union? The fact the Soviet Union went to the dogs wasn’t Europe’s fault, it was the fate that sooner or later catches up with all empires (which the Soviet Union was but in name), held together with threats, while its highly centralized administration was casting themselves in the role of God, organizing cultural purges and displacing entire populations just because. Have you never wondered why the former members of the Warsaw pact have run in NATO’s arms at the first opportunity? When confronted with the difficult decision between the devil you know and the devil you don’t know, many people side with the devil they know. The Warsaw pact states didn’t. Perhaps this ought to tell you something about the devil in question. No doubt there had been political play, but fact is the populations of those countries didn’t protest. I bet they didn’t like the NATO, but apparently they liked the Soviets even less. The only country who regretted the abolition of the Russian boot in Europe was, unsurprisingly, the foot holding the boot. Instead of justifying Putin’s actions, you should perhaps accept that European states aren’t that fond of the footgear in question.

        • guest says:

          This might be a good occasion for sharing a story I read here on SD. I don’t remember who posted it, sorry. Needless to say, it’s allegoric. It goes like this:

          ‘A few East German kids in the former German Dem Republic, and a drunk Soviet guy, together in a biergarten or similar eatery. The Soviet guy was lecturing the kids about their luck of being allowed to live in such a wonderful state. He got worked up and broke a few glasses. The kids asked him to pay for the damage. The guy told them how much he loved them and how he would sacrifice himself for them. He didn’t pay for the glasses.’

          It looks like the ungrateful Europe doesn’t want to buddy up with the worthy descendants of Soviet people who have played a role in liberating the continent 77 years ago. It looked like this right from the start, seventy years ago. You, Mr Osborne, believe the fault lies with the ungrateful Europe and the scheming NATO. That may be, freedom of belief. I believe it has something to do with the worthy Soviets and their worthiest descendants’ propensity for inflicting damage, and refusing to pay for it. The fascists weren’t the only ones who damaged Europe in the 20th century. I am not blind to the fact a part of the current economic wreckage is the fault of Europe itself, but this is a different topic. After the war, if there is going to be an ‘after’ without Putin, Europe will have to pay, once again, for the many glasses broken by the worthy descendants of Soviet people. I’m sure China is going to make a nice profit.

          And now, Mr. Osborne, please enlighten us about the solution that is going to make everybody happy, and don’t forget to tell us who is going to pay for the broken glasses.

          • William Osborne says:

            For the record, once again, I am not a Putin apologist. He is a war criminal–to say nothing of being an idiot for starting a pointless war that will harm Russia for a century to come.

            Unfortunately, any approach that considers how a negotiated settlement *might* be achieved falls victim to howls of jingoism which has been a basic characteristic of the SD comments section long before this war came along.

            It is thus pointless to try to have an intelligent discussion here, but I will clarify my view once again.

            It is very true that the longer the war goes on, the more difficult a negotiated settlement becomes–now all but impossible. And I suspect that the chances for a settlement that will be positive for Ukraine will decrease the longer the war goes. And yet those who speak in the interests of Ukraine call for continued war. They cannot face reality and thus make the situation even worse.

            The outlines of the various options for agreements are well-known. Ukrainian neutrality and demilitarization, the annexation of important Ukrainian territory by Russia. This is all entirely unjust, but that is the reality.

            The killing and destruction now continues for two reasons. 1) A courageous act of honor by the Ukrainian people to defy Russian aggression. 2) The interests of the USA/UK alliance to continue the war was long as possible to weaken Russia. They know that there can be no military solution to the conflict, that a long-term war will deeply harm Ukraine, but assume, correctly I think, that an extended war will weaken Russia.

            Another irony is that even when a truce is finally worked out, it will not end the violence. Russia will occupy Eastern and Southern Ukraine, and Ukraine will continue to attack Russia by whatever means it can–which takes us right back to where we were before Russia began this war. As usual, war solves nothing.

            Now let the cowardly, anonymous blowhards howl their jingoistic epithets. These fools are easily manipulated. Business as usual. The death and destruction will continue.

          • guest says:

            Reader’s Digest. Your ‘solution’ is to give Putin what he wants. Europe should pay for the reconstruction. Unjust but hey, this is life according to Mr. Osborne (Or rather death & destruction in this case.) Wash rinse repeat every time a new Putin finds himself ‘isolated’ (And how creating a wasteland between him and those who ‘isolated’ him is going to lift said isolation totally beats me.)

            One sentence I find particularly interesting ‘…that will harm Russia for a century to come.’ First and foremost with Mr. Osborne is Russia’s _future harm_ , not the senseless loss of lives _right now_ in Ukraine, or Europe’s financial effort, a Europe who pays _right now_ for millions of refugees, and will have the dubious honor of a second, much larger payment to transform the pile of rubble that is Ukraine now, back to something habitable. Well Mr. Osborne, no one can say you don’t have your priorities. Also no one shall say you don’t have ‘charming’ online manners in calling your conversation partner(s) ‘cowardly, anonymous blowhards’ and their posts ‘a howl of jingoistic epithets’. I have reread this thread carefully and as far as I can tell no one has called you any names, but if you must… I wonder if Putin’s paranoia is catching?

  • IP says:

    We told you she was no good — based just on her ‘playing’.

  • Philip says:

    And who made her career (getting paid for promoting her in the past) and even continues to do so now? If you’re taking a moral stand here, aren’t you just as bad, dear Norman?

  • Vadik says:

    She is really a great and brave person!

  • Bayjee says:

    doesn’t look anything like her

    • Robert Hairgrove says:

      How do you know what she really looks like?

      Do you know her personally?

      • Robert Hairgrove says:

        What I mean to say is that pictures can be photoshopped — most PR photography is these days, as well as most audio/video clips can be manipulated in many ways.

        So — how do you know what she really looks like? Do you trust every photo you see? And do you trust every audio or video recording which is advertised as “live”?

  • Patrick says:

    Well, she probably won’t play in the US again. A lose, lose for all.

  • Julio Unzueta says:

    I think this is a fake. Does no look like her.

    • Paul Carlile says:

      Yes it does. I’ve seen her twice in concert (competent, unmusical)… last time last year.

  • Robert Hairgrove says:

    Russian war songs?

    I see she has found her true calling.

  • RObert Holmén says:

    I’ll be curious to see how the stories are presented when this is all over and Russia is in “De-Putinization” mode.

    “… but I never gave the Putin salute!”

  • Monty Earleman says:

    About the same percentage as in the USA who supported their fake “war” against Iraq and Afghanistan. People are the same all over the world- idiots.

    • Harpist says:

      Monty here apparently cannot distinguish between a state run by a brutal dictator and harboring terrorists and a democratic state.

  • David says:

    Awful, soul-less pianist and even worse person by her support to a bloody dictator.

  • Hugh Mather says:

    I am rather ashamed to say that she played at St Mary’s Perivale years ago, and stayed at my home with her husband and son. She was then living in USA. The idea of her playing in Mariopol now is simply abhorrent and grotesque.

  • Brian says:

    Didn’t she get signed to a record deal with Naive a few months ago? I wonder how that’s going.

    • Robert Hairgrove says:

      She is not listed on their website anywhere. Also, neither is Nikolai Lugansky, who announced his “exclusive recording contract” some time ago.

      They do list some very good artists, though … I wonder how they feel being listed together with the likes of V.L.?

  • Harpist says:

    Get her on the list to never play anywhere in the West again.
    And where did she play – there is nothing left to play inside. by the photo under the sky?

  • Kyle A Wiedmeyer says:

    I would say that she’s going to have to learn to deal with her international career being in tatters after what she’s been pulling these past months, but something tells me that won’t be the case in a few years.

  • Harry says:

    And to think she’s so unmusical as a pebble.

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