Exclusive: A Royal College professor plays in Russian-occupied Mariupol

Exclusive: A Royal College professor plays in Russian-occupied Mariupol


norman lebrecht

July 31, 2022

The pianist Alexander Romanovsky, a professor at the Royal College of Music in London, has taken sides in the conflict by playing a street recital in a strategic Ukrainian city that was captured two months ago by the Russians.

He does so in the presence of Russian propaganda cameras and giving an interview to Russian media.

There may be consequences.

The violinist is Petr Lundstrem, a Moscow-based pro-Putin propagandist. He likes to visit occupied Ukraine and claims to have raised 2.6 million rubles to purchase equipment for ‘our’ Russian army.

A former Zahkhar Bron pupil, Lundstrem’s dream, he says, ‘is to buy an anti-drone rifle. The thing is expensive (under a million), but absolutely deadly.’


  • Confused says:

    Wait – does that make him (or indeed the royal college) pro Putin or pro Ukrainian?

    • Strange says:

      Pro Putin clearly – playing with Russian propagandist on occupied land, being advertised in Russian media

    • Outraged says:

      For a start, he broke Ukranian law by entering Ukranian territorynpt through Ukraine-controlled border. So that is definitely not pro-Ukranian, is it?

  • christopher storey says:

    Let us be rid of him , permanently . Why should our money be spent on a Putin supporter ?

  • Stanislaw says:

    What a tool – what does he need a radio strapped to his leg for?

  • Terminus says:

    You people just make all GULAG stories alive. Thank God you do it on your side.
    Once you’ve learned word “sputnik”, now you make “donos”.
    May be one day you’ll learn word “sovest'”.

    • Outraged says:

      Oh yeah, of course, let’s compare media report to “donos”, like RCM (or firing from it) can be compared to GULAG. How about a word “оbestsenivanie”? Hope you know what it means because this is what you are doing right now. May be it is you who does not have any “sovest” juggling terms like that. Let’s try to remember what’s happened. A college professor has supported the invasion. The media reported it. End of story as of now. The College is silent, Romanovsky is fine. Shame on you.

    • Strange says:

      False. “Donos” is when you accuse someone in a crime that hasn’t been done, usually to get benefits. In this case we all can witness the crime being made openly, with no hesitation. That is anything but “donos”.

  • alexis piantedoux says:

    Alexander Romanovsky is Ukrainian, based on the wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Romanovsky_(pianist)

  • LL says:

    Great musicians, great personalities and kind hearts. Thank you for the music.

    • ta says:

      they celebrating Russian war crimes by performing at the place. Mariupol was destroyed by Russians and thousands of people died. There is nothing great.

  • Adelbert says:

    This is truly horrific. These Ruzzians (ruskies) are performing in front of the Mariupol theatre that was deliberately bombed by the orcs (Ukrainian for Russians sympathizing with the Putin regime). We still don’t know exactly how many hundreds of people died, including many children. If this is Alexander Romanovsky, he should be a persona non grata in the UK!!

    • Lika says:

      Where is the evidence that the theater was bombed by the Russians? An investigation was carried out, the theater was blown up from the inside. And as proof that the Russians do not bomb residential areas, look at Kyiv and Kharkov, people live calmly, sit in cafes. Scorched earth style is the style of Ukraine

      • ta says:

        Kharviv is being bombed constantly, Kiev not as much but also, Odessa, Nikolaev. Do you not have access to internet? Clearly you are pro putin, but please, don’t spread these lies here.

        • Hayne says:

          Where were you the last 8 years when Ukraine was shelling Donbass civilians? Over 14,000 killed but I guess you don’t have internet. BTW, this war didn’t have to happen but Zelensky does what he’s told to do. I truly pity the Ukrainians who are being devastated by this US/NATO proxy war.

          • Jean says:

            Last year, less than 30 people died in Donbas. Mostly killed by Russians (mines, etc.)

            Nice try, though.

          • Hayne says:

            Ukraine foreign minister Dmitry Kuleba has said 14,000 people (many of them women and children) have been killed in the Donbas since 2014. You are being willfully ignorant.

      • KW says:

        Russians DO bomb residential areas and there is enough proof of it. Your theory of people taking refuge inside the theatre blowing up themselves is pathetic. Stop listening to Russian propaganda, yo get the information first hand volunteer at one of the numerous crisis centers that help Ukrainians abroad or brave up and visit “peaceful” Kyiv snd Kharkiv.

  • No to war says:

    Hmmmm I personally found him a slippery type when met him once, BUT-
    What if he went to Russia to visit elderly parents and had a gun pointed at his head…
    Presently (as a dual citizen) I am not able to visit my frail parents- but if I must go and see them – and someone threatens to harm my family if I don’t follow some propaganda orders, I feel I’d sacrifice the core of my being to support parents. If I was by myself, I’d walk into a furnace. Glory to Ukraine

    • Strange says:

      Mr No to war

      Please let’s not make conspiracies. There is no gun to his head, he publishes all of this in his own telegram channel – https://t.me/miracolosamente

      Such conspiracies distract public from some obvious and clear things, like this case

  • Roman says:

    Russian city which was built by Russians and that was given to Russian Republic ucraine is again “occupied” by Russians, I think it is okay.

    • LL says:

      Unfortunately, many of the interlocutors do not have a clue about the Russian or Ukraine history and do not know that
      the eastern regions of the Ukraine historically belong to the local russians. They are just familiar with the modern press and TV propaganda.

      • Hayne says:

        Very true. Reminds me of the adage, “You either understand history or you believe government but you can’t do both.”

        • High-Note says:

          Reminds me of the old Jewish expression: You can’t dance at 2 weddings at the same time with one tuchus.

        • KOTO says:

          These two “artists” clearly believe government. Like millions russians who support fascist terrorussia

  • citicrab says:

    Oh they just went in, peacefully, and “occupied”. In fact, the siege of the city lasted several months, they killed thousands, mostly civilians, by indiscriminate artillery fire, maimed many more, raped hundreds, and leveled that Russian-speaking city, Mariupol’, to the ground (as a way to denazify it). A couple of days ago, as a coda, I guess, they killed dozens of prisoners of war taken in Mariupol’. An ideal venue, altogether, for a London professor to give a concert.

    • LL says:

      Not single statement is true in your writing. However, let’s take a look to the statement “raped hundreds”. It’s easy to find out that the Ukrainian ombudsman Ludmila Denisova officially confessed – all “raped” cases were created by her with no facts. As well as the Ukrainian prosecutor officially admitted, – there are no proofs.

      Unfortunately, it’s not easy to understand and figure out about the truth in complicated cases. However, one fine day people will understand and see the TRUTH.

  • Uncle Sam says:

    These two a-holes (Lundstrem and Romanovsky) must be very proud of being included in this just posted Russian propaganda clip: at 2:40 and then again at 3:50 Putin’s Chechen henchmen demand from the captured Ukrainian soldiers to say “Allahu Akbar!” – and then, at 9:50, the two imbeciles begin their shtick (the first one – with a cross on his t-shirt, no less!) and take turns in glorifying the terror and mayhem Russia has brought to Ukraine by abusing the immortal music pieces. How very thoughtful, very noble and very Christian of them!:-(


  • Katrin says:

    Romanovsky and Lundstrem – BRAVO!!!!!

    • KOTO says:

      I suppose you are of the kind of people who would visit Rotterdam in 1940 and perform some Beethoven in front of destroyed city, inviting the Dutch to celebrate peace with their german friends.
      Well, you know – dutch resistance would remember you)

  • Evgheni says:

    It seems here are mostly jurists but not humans or even musicians.. it is pity.
    Alexander and Peter you are great, don’t stop and keep making our souls better!

    • KOTO says:

      They must feel happy to want to make Russia great again.
      These artist don’t make any souls better. Likely they are just ugly russians who want some bloody money.

    • KOTO says:

      Well, german artists performing in 1943 in occupied Ausschwitz and then wondering why Allies are not joining their joy is about the same as we have now.
      Its either stupidy or evil intent.
      I suppose – both.

  • Strange says:

    Ok, there is a very easy explanation for all those confusing (if not ridiculous) comments you can see:
    Mr Lundstrem has posted a link to this article on his Telegram channel: https://t.me/petrlundstrem/4909

    So all these people are Mr Lundstrem’s supporters, who are trying to overwhelm this discussion with other subjects, such as “history of Ukraine and Russia”, “Russians has built this city”, “What is this radio”, “you are making a “gulag” story”, “Wagner was antisemites”, “there was no evidence of bombing” etc.

    All this is being done only to distract us from the very clear and unquestionable fact: RCM Professor Romanovsky has violated both moral and judicial laws and has to face consequences.
    We should better ask why it takes so long for the RCM to provide us with an explanation.

  • Diarmuid Ó Sé says:

    In today’s Times Mark Galeotti from the Royal United Services Institute is quoting as saying that ‘Romanovsky may have felt that he had little choice…Even if he is based abroad he may have family there’. As I write this there is an investigation into whether Anatoly Chubais, former Putin adviser turned critic, taken seriously ill in Italy, was poisoned. The same criterion applies to Anna Netrebko. Although she had earlier accepted awards from Putin (hardly unmerited or surprising) she issued a statement condemning the invasion, calling for peace and distancing herself from Putin. She has been condemned, including on this site, for not going further and denouncing him personally. We who live in free countries are not entitled to make such demands of people who come from autocracies which poison defectors and dissidents. I recall that the historian Norman Davies made a similar point in another connection. Netrebko is now resident in Austria and pays her taxes there, but Skripal was resident in GB and Chubais in Italy. Not enough to protect them, or Litvinienko and others. It is time to lay off Anna Netrebko.

  • Oleg says:

    Alexander is a Ukrainian-born pianist. He started his musical education at Kharkiv special music boarding school. On 14th May, a russian missile hit the building and demolished classroom nr 35 where one of Alexander’s teachers (Mr Margarius) used to work. Hundreds of talented children who study at this school have nowhere to continue their studies now, their dreams are broken, and so are the hearts of their parents. Shame on those who dare say the russians have liberated something in Ukraine. The only thing those creatures dare do is kill innocent civilians and destroy lives of generations. Alexander should have thought first before appearing for russian propaganda

  • Seniorina says:

    “Ukrainian city that was captured two months ago by the Russians”. Why did you not name the city? And what a disappointment that you are peddling Russophobia and cancel culture instead of music.

  • esfir ross says:

    Zakhar Bron was born in Vinitsa,Ukraine. Studied in Odessa.

  • Liudmyla says:

    Shame on them! This is story for the Hague international court.
    Ukrainians keep in mind everything.