Russia’s best paid arts chiefs (where’s Gergiev?)

Russia’s best paid arts chiefs (where’s Gergiev?)


norman lebrecht

May 29, 2022

The Russian ministry of culture has published a list of the country’s top-salaried arts leaders.

Valery Gergiev’s name is omitted, presumably because he’s too rich to declare.

Here’s the official list
1 Vladimir Spivakov (National Philharmonic Orchestra) 158.3 million rubles (US$ 240,000)
2 Vladimir Aristarkhov (Natural Heritage Institute, 157.4 million rubles
3 Vadim Zadorozhny (State Museum-Estate Arkhangelsk) 113 million rubles.
4 Yuri Bashmet (State Symphony Orchestra) 80.6 million rubles.


  • corruption rules says:

    no suprise about Spivakov, another corrupt buddy.
    You don’t get anywhere on Kultura TV or the concert halls of Russia without being in cahoots with the best of best Kremlinalia.
    It also doesn’t show what he earns from years at Colmar+all the French earnings from this wannbe conductor.

    It’s even odder they don’t show the salary of Sati, the star of Kultura TV, who is a constant favourite presenter.
    Sati Spivakova, probably earns as much as Vlad, but macho men rule in the land of Putinia.
    ESTIMATE VLAD is a multi-millionaire.

  • Simon baggs says:

    With all due respect, what has this got to do with anything? People earn a living…nothing new there?

  • Norabide Guziak says:

    Not very high, compared with many Western countries.

  • Guest says:

    Gergiev is sure in Russia in a secret place. Indeed he cashed enough money from the naiv western countries, and has a thick bank account. This Clique, Netrebko, Gergiev and a few others are intimate friends of Putin and will never denounce a murderer’s friendship ! They filled out their pockets with western Euros and can live their lives like a king ! Netrebko’s reappearance on stage is a shame, because these people are mafiosi. There is no other word I can describe their hypocrite attitude !!

  • IP says:

    Even if he had some money, he must have given it away on charity a long time ago.

  • alexis piantedoux says:

    Dear Mr. Lebrecht, I think the calculation is uncorrect: 158.3 million of ruble it means more than 2.5 million (us) dollar, not 240.000 us dollar as you indicate.

    • Tiredofitall says:

      Absolutely correct; good catch. Makes rather a different story, no?

      Also, why should we believe ANYTHING coming out from an official Russian source? Honesty has never been the Russian government’s long suit.

    • joe says:

      what an amateur journalist to make this kind of mistake…

  • Galina Alexander says:

    What is it to you, anyway? Suggest they work for free? Russian music is banned, Russian musicians fired, contracts withdrawn. Enjoy your Russian culture free little world.

  • Pianist says:

    Spivakov is a Russian Jew. We can only applaud him for rising through the ranks and enjoying such a status in the eminently anti-Semitic environment that surrounds him.

    • corruption rules says:

      “We can only applaud him for rising through the ranks”.

      This comment is rubbish!
      Spivakov has lived in Paris for the last 30 years, and has been co-running Colmar festival French money printing machine for just as long.
      (The whole festival is just as corrupt).

      There is no anti-semitic environment in his workspace, but sure makes a shed load of cash with the Matsuyev etc /Russian State TV monopoly mafia, from pumping the Russian concert halls and media, jetting in and out on state owned airlines and state owned airports.

      Where on earth do you get that rising thru the ranks codswallop from?
      There are far more interesting violinists and conductors in the world that get paid a fraction of this.

      • Pianist says:

        Corruption fighter, please try to read Mr. Lebrecht’s thread carefully next time, before you lace into someone with ‘rubbish’’ and ‘codswallop’. This is a place for a civilized discourse, not for wanton insolence, and the latter will not be tolerated.
        It’s the Russian Ministry of Culture that has published the salaries, not France. The salary is not what Spivakov earns in France, but what he makes in rubles as the Director of the Russian Philarmonic.
        I will repeat, for a Jewish musician like Spivakov to rise through the ranks in the anti-Semitic Soviet Union and to maintain his position as the director of a major national orchestra in Russia up until now is a feat. It can only be admired that he makes this money in Russia. More generally speaking, Spivakov absolutely deserves every cent and much more. He is a phenomenal musician. Oh, and a piece of advice: don’t count someone else’s money. Earn yours.

        • corruption rules says:

          well you lucky guy, you have never had anything to do with Spivakov either in or out of Russia.
          “More generally speaking, Spivakov absolutely deserves every cent and much more. He is a phenomenal musician. ”

          No he’s a boring old hack that nobody would ever buy a ticket to see conduct…if that’s what you can call it.

          As someone who has RECORDED Spivakov many many times, watched how they both (try to) rehearse and behave on stage, I have much better qualifications to know what I am on about than you will ever have.

          I also happen to watch the Sati “Diva” regularly on Russian TV, something which you have never ever done.
          Beautiful people, Putin’s world, what could ever go wrong?

          I can think of countless musicians far more talented, nothing to do with Jewishness.
          Go watch Mravinsky, Walter, Knappertsbusch, Temirkanov.
          Spivakov is not even remotely in the same league.

          • Pianist says:

            1) If Spivakov is ‘an old boring hack that nobody would ever buy a ticket to see conduct’, how in the world is he making so much money as the Director of the National Philharmonic? And how come is he so sought after at the ‘Colmar festival French money printing machine’, as you put it, for so long?
            2) Perhaps, unlike you, all these people in the audiences have never recorded him (or watched him rehearse or behave on stage) many many times, but have simply been to his musical performance and enjoyed it tremendously?
            3) I don’t watch Russian TV. But if Spivakov’s wife there turns you off, maybe you shouldn’t be watching her — especially regularly? In any case, I don’t know what mentioning your personal antipathy for her in this thread has to do with how much Spivakov earns and what kind of a musician he is.
            4) Out of the 4 conductors you have listed, Temirkanov is the only one alive, and I don’t see what he has to do with Spivakov’s earnings or musical merits. Btw, there have also been Furtwängler, Stokowski, Toscanini, Kleiber. etc. 🙂 I hope they all earned enough.

  • IP says:

    My most, let us say, pungent memory of Spivakov is of a performance of Shostakovich’s Rayok in the presence of Yeltsin. Mr. President was drunk as usual and dozed off soon, but when the parody of Kalinka and Khrennikov started, he awoke and started clapping. And then Spivakov bowed like a waiter and said, “Are you going to get us rid of them, Comrade Yeltsin?”, and Yeltsin brayed something unintelligible in response. I felt like Shostakovich was being denounced for the third time and buried for the second.