Category: Uncategorized

15 Myths about Anna Netrebko

Myths about Anna Netrebko, spread by her, her management, and the management of the theaters that host her performances.

1. Netrebko immediately condemned russia’s war against Ukraine.

Netrebko condemned the war only one month after it had begun and only after her concerts started getting cancelled and the Met had threatened to terminate her contract. The statement condemning the war, which she issued in English, was written for her by the crisis communication firm she had hired for that purpose.

2. Netrebko shows empathy for the war victims.

Even after the outbreak of the war, Netrebko continued to post on social media glamorous photos of herself vacationing in resorts, dining in restaurants and attending balls; while, on New Year’s Eve, she wrote that “This year has been very good! It was better than the one before.” There were no posts about the horrors of the war or in support of Ukraine.

3. Netrebko has distanced herself from Vladimir Putin.

Netrebko has never publicly condemned President Putin nor called on him to stop his war. It was for this reason that the Met has considered her statements insufficient and insincere and consequently terminated her contract.

4. Because of her political stance, Netrebko was declared a traitor in Russia.

Unlike other artists who were designated “foreign agents” solely for their anti-war remarks, Netrebko, who holds dual citizenship and lives and performs in countries deemed hostile by the Russian government, was never designated a foreign agent herself.

5. Netrebko “met President Putin only a handful of times in her entire life”

Netrebko name appeared on a list endorsing Putin’s election in 2012, and she has spoken glowingly of him over the years, describing him as “a very attractive man” and praising his “strong, male energy.” In 2017, in the run-up to Putin’s re-election, she told a Russian state news agency that it was “impossible to think of a better president for Russia.” She has also occasionally lent support to his policies; she once circulated a statement by Putin on Instagram alongside flexed biceps emojis.

Putin, in turn, has showered Netrebko with praise and awards over the years. She was invited to sing at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics and other state celebrations. On her 50th birthday, he sent a telegram calling her the pride of Russia, and describing her as an “open, charming and friendly person, with an uplifting personality and a clear-cut civic stance.” At a concert celebrating her birthday at the State Kremlin Palace, the president’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, read Putin’s message from the stage.

6. Any artist can perform in the Kremlin.

Only “loyal” artists can perform in the Kremlin. Concerts of “disloyal” artists get cancelled, while the artists themselves often find themselves labeled “foreign agents” and are forced to leave Russia.

7. Netrebko never received funding from the Russian state.

According to Forbes magazine, in 2017 Netrebko was the highest compensated musician in Russia. She performed at state events and was paid out of the state budget. She reportedly was earning in excess of 50 thousand U.S. dollars per performance. 

8. One cannot demand from Netrebko that she condemns President Putin because that would endanger her life and the lives of her relatives. 

Netrebko has not been living in Russia for a long time. She has held Austrian citizenship for the past 20 years. Her parents are deceased and her sister has long been living in Denmark.

9. Sanctions against Netrebko would mix art and politics.

Netrebko herself brought politics into art when she began to leverage politics to advance her artistic career. Sanctions against Netrebko are sanctions against a confidant of President Putin.

10. Netrebko’s concerts are cancelled just because she is Russian.

Russian artists who did not support russia’s aggressive policy and who were not close to Vladimir Putin continue to perform in the West without any problems. 

11. Artists cannot be forced to publicly expound their politics and condemn their homeland.

Even before the start of the war, Netrebko repeatedly and voluntarily had been making political statements in support of russia’s repressive domestic and aggressive foreign policies, much to her financial gain. It is thus quite natural to expect that Netrebko continues to clearly express her position now that the war has begun.

12. Netrebko is hired as a musician, not a politician.

In Russia, Netrebko is seen as the country’s symbol, and any performance that builds her prestige in the West is seen as another international victory for Russia. 

13. Because Netrebko’s invitation predates the war, it would be impossible to cancel her contract now.

Contracts with Netrebko have been cancelled by the Bavarian Opera House, by the music festivals in Baden-Baden and Stuttgart and by many other venues and concert organizations.

14. Netrebko helps to bridge divides and promotes truce between countries.

Netrebko promotes the Kremlin’s narrative and acts as a tool for corrupting western elites. Not surprisingly, her invitations are often  accompanied by scandal and protests. Ukraine has imposed personal sanctions against her, forbidding cooperation and cultural exchange. For this reason, Ukrainian artists will not be able to perform in Germany in May if Netrebko is invited to the festival.

15. Netrebko shares Western values and can be used in the fight against Putin.

Netrebko supported the anti-LGBT discrimination law and other repressive legislations aimed at supressing human rights and civil liberties. Netrebko has never spoken out against President Putin and his aggressive domestic and foreign policies.

15 Miti su Anna Netrebko diffusi dalla stessa, dai suoi manager e dai direttori dei teatri ospitanti la “diva” russa  

1. Netrebko abbia immediatamente condannato la guerra della Russia contro L’Ucraina 

La Netrebko si è pronunciata contro la guerra solo un mese dopo l’inizio delle ostilità, e solo dopo che hanno iniziato ad annullare i suoi concerti precedentemente programmati, e dopo che la Metropolitain Opera ha minacciato di sciogliere contratti firmati prima. Una formale dichiarazione  che condanna la guerra attribuitaalla Netrebko è redatta in inglese e risulta essere ideata da una società di comunicazione crisi (a crisis communications firm) pagata dalla cantante stessa.

2. Netrebko abbia mostrato empatia per le vittime della guerra

Anche dopo l’inizio della guerra, la Netrebko semprecontinuava a pubblicare sui social network le proprie foto glamour illustrando le proprie vacanze presso i resort, iristoranti di lusso, apparizioni agli eventi di ballo ecc., epoi, alla vigilia di Capodanno, ha scritto “Un ottimo anno della mia vita! Era migliore dell’anno precedente”. Non ha mai pubblicato sui social nemmeno una parola contro gli orrori della guerra né qualche post di compassionecon l’Ucraina. 

3. Netrebko si sia dissociata da Vladimir Putin

La Netrebko non ha mai pubblicamente disapprovato il presidente russo Putin né lo ha mai incitato a porre fine alla guerra, ed è proprio per questo motivo che la Met Opera ha considerato le sue dichiarazioni come finte e per niente insoddisfacenti annullando i contratti di prestazione firmati con la cantante russa. 

4. In RussiaNetrebko sia stata dichiarata traditrice della Patria, visto il suo atteggiamento negativo verso la guerra

A differenza di certi artisti russi stigmatizzati come agenti stranieri (foreign agent) per le proprie dichiarazioni antimilitarista, la Netrebko che ha la doppia cittadinanza continua a soggiornare e ad esibirsi in paesi cosiddetti ‘ostili’ (secondo le autorità russe) ma ciononostante non è mai stata proclamata un agente straniero.

5. Netrebko non abbia nulla a che fare con Putin e lo incontra solo in occasione di eventi ufficiali

La Netrebko era un confidente di Vladimir Putin durante le elezioni presidenziali. In una sua intervista pubbicata dall’agenzia RIA Novosti, la Netrebko ha dichiarato: “Secondo me, Vladimir Vladimirovich è proprio bravo. Dio lo benedica dandogli forza e salute. È il miglior presidente possibile ed immaginabile per la nostra Russia!” “Quindi, gli auguro buona salute per continuare ad affrontare le sfide  difficilissime, il che sa fare in modo sorprendente”

Putin si è congratulato con Netrebko per il suo 50° anniversario, con un telegramma pubblicato sul sito web del Cremlino, in cui sostiene che la Russia sia orgogliosa della cantante per la sua posizione civile inequivocabile. Il concerto tenutosi in occasione dell’anniversario di Anna Netrebko è stato organizzato al Cremlino. Prima dell’inizio del concerto, la portavoce del presidente Vladimir Putin – Dmitry Peskov aveva dato lettura delle congratulazioni presidenziali consegnando alla Netrebko un lussuoso mazzo di fiori in nome e per conto del presidente russo. 

6. Qualsiasi artista possa esibirsi al Cremlino

Solo artisti fedeli al potere possono esibirsi al Cremlino. I concerti di artisti ‘sleali’ vengono cancellati, gli artisti stessi vengono dichiarati agenti stranieri, e spesso, sono anche costretti a lasciare la Russia.   

7. Netrebko non abbia mai ricevuto finanziamenti dallo Stato russo

Secondo la pubblicazione della rivista Forbes del 2017, la Netrebko era la cantante lirica la più pagata della Russia. Si era esibita più d’una volta in occasione di eventi statali, le sue esibizioni essendo pagate dal Ministero del Tesoro russo. Per una sola esibizione, incassava più di 50 mila dollari USA. 

8. Non si può chiedere dalla Netrebko di disprezzare pubblicamente il presidente Putin, perché metterebbe in pericolo sia la propria vita che la vita dei parenti

Netrebko non si trova in Russia da molto tempo, è una cittadina austriaca da 20 anni, i suoi genitori sono morti e sua sorella vive in Danimarca da molti anni, anch’essa. 

9. Sanzionarla Netrebko significa confondere l’arte con la politica

La cantante stessa ha mischiato la politica e l’arte quando ha iniziato a usare la politica per promuovere la sua carriera artistica. Le sanzioni contro la Netrebko sono, infatti, le sanzioni contro una persona di fiducia del presidente Putin.

10. Concerti di Netrebko all’estero vengono cancellati solo perché è Russa

Gli artisti russi che non hanno sostenuto la politica aggressiva della Russia e che non erano vicini a Vladimir Putin continuano a esibirsi in Occidente senza problemi 

11. Non è giusto costringere gli artisti ad esprimere pubblicamente le loro opinioni politiche e condannare la loro Patria

La Netrebko ha ripetutamente e volontariamente emanato delle dichiarazioni politiche prima della guerra, sostenendo sia la repressiva politica interna che l’aggressiva politica estera della Russia, ed inoltre, ne traendo sempre vantaggio finanziario.  È molto naturale chiedere alla Netrebko di esprimersi bello chiaro circa la sua posizione dopo l’inizio della guerra. 

12. Netrebko viene pagata per le sue prestazioni musicali, non per le sue opinioni politiche

In Russia, Netrebko è reputata un simbolo statale, e qualsiasi sua esibizione sul prestigioso palcoscenico occidentale viene posizionata come un’altra vittoria della Russia sulla scena internazionale. 

13. Netrebko è stata invitata ad esibirsi prima della guerra, quindi è impossibile rinunciare ai patti fatti

I contratti firmati con la Netrebko sono stati annulati dal teatro lirico bavarese Bayerische Opernhaus, il Festival di Baden-Baden, di Stoccarda e da tante altre organizzazioni di concerti. 

14. Netrebko cerchi a costruire ponti tra i paesi e promuove una tregua

La Netrebko promuove le narrazioni del Cremlino essendo uno strumento per corrompere le élite occidentali. Ogni invito di esibirsi fatto alla cantante viene sempre accompagnato da scandali e proteste. Sanzioni personali applicate contro la Netrebko nell’Ucraina prevedono la cessazione della cooperazione e dello scambio culturale, e per questo motivo gli artisti ucraini non potranno mai esibirsi al Festival di Maggio in Germania nel caso se Netrebko sarà invitata a prenderne parte.  

15. Netrebko condivide i valori occidentali e può essere utile nella lotta contro Putin

La Netrebko ha sostenuto sia la legge russa sulla discriminazione LGBT, sia altre leggi repressive volte a reprimere i diritti umani e le libertà civili in Russia, nocnhé la Netrebko non si è mai pronunciata contro Vladimir Putin e contro la sua aggressiva politica interna ed estera.

15 Mythen über Anna Netrebko

Die Mythen über Anna Netrebko, die von ihr selbst, ihrem Management und den Intendanten der Theater, die Netrebko einladen, verbreitet werden.

#1 Netrebko hat gleich den Krieg Russlands gegen die Ukraine verurteilt         

Netrebko hat den Krieg erst einen Monat nach Kriegsbeginn verurteilt und erst, nachdem ihre Auftritte abgesagt worden waren und die Metropolitan Opera sie bedroht hat alle ihre Verträge aufzukündigen. Die Verurteilung des Krieges in englischen Sprache hat für Netrebko eine dafür beauftragte Firma in Krisenkommunikation verfasst (Krisenkommunikationsfirma)

#2 Netrebko zeigt Empathie den Opfern des Krieges gegenüber

Auch nach Kriegsbeginn hat Netrebko weiterhin die glamourösen Bilder in ihren sozialen Netzwerken gepostet, auf denen sie Urlaub in Ferienorten machte,  in Restaurants ging und Bälle besuchte und am Silvesterabend schrieb sie „Dieses Jahr war sehr gut! Es war besser als im Vorjahr.“ Auf ihren sozialen Medien gab es keine Posts über die Schrecken des Krieges und auch keine Posts zur Unterstützung der Ukraine.

#3 Netrebko hat sich von Wladimir Putin distanziert.  

Netrebko hat weder öffentlich den Wladimir Putin verurteilt, noch forderte sie ihn dazu auf, den Krieg zu beenden. Genau aus diesem Grund heraus hielt die Metropoliten ihre Aussagen für unzureichend und unglaubwürdig und kündigte ihre Verträge.

#4 Netrebko wurde wegen ihrer Haltung zur Verräterin ihrer Heimat erklärt.

Im Gegensatz zu anderen Künstlern, die nur wegen ihrer Anti-Kriegs-Aussagen als ausländische Agenten anerkannt wurden, wurde Netrebko, die die doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft besitzt und in jenen Ländern auftritt, die von den russischen Behörden als unfreundlich eingestuft wurden, nie als ausländische Agentin anerkannt.

#5 Netrebko ist in keiner Weise mit Putin verbunden und hat ihn nur bei offiziellen Anlässen getroffen.

Netrebko war Wladimir Putins Vertrauensperson bei den Wahlen. In einem Interview mit RIA Novosti hat Netrebko gesagt: „ Ich bin sehr zufrieden mit Wladimir Wladimirowitsch. Möge Gott ihm Gesundheit und Kraft geben. Ich könnte mir keinen besseren Präsidenten für Russland vorstellen.“ „Gott gebe ihm also gute Gesundheit und, dass er diese schwierige Verteidigung, die er erstaunlich gut meistert, weiterhin durchhält.“

Putin gratulierte Netrebko zu ihrem 50.Geburtstag, und auf der Webseite des Kremls wurde ein Telegramm veröffentlicht, in dem es hieß, Russland sei stolz auf Netrebko wegen ihrer klaren staatsbürgerlichen Haltung.

Das Jubiläumskonzert von Anna Netrebko fand im Kreml statt, wo der Pressesprecher von Präsident Wladimir Putin, Dmitri Peskow, zu Beginn des Konzerts eine Glückwunschbotschaft verlas und Netrebko einen prächtigen Blumenstrauß des russischen Präsidenten überreichte.

#6 Jeder Künstler darf im Kreml auftreten.

Nur die loyalen Künstler können im Kreml auftreten. Konzerte von nicht loyalen Künstlern werden abgesagt, sie werden zu ausländischen Agenten erklärt und gezwungen, Russland zu verlassen.

#7 Netrebko hat nie Finanzierung vom russischen Staat erhalten.

Laut der Zeitschrift Forbes war Netrebko 2017 die bestbezahlte Musikerin Russlands. Sie trat bei staatlichen Veranstaltungen auf und wurde aus dem Staatshaushalt bezahlt. Sie erhielt ab 50.000 Dollar pro Auftritt. 

#8 Netrebko sollte nicht verpflichtet werden, Präsident Putin zu verurteilen, da dies Netrebkos Leben und das Leben ihrer Angehörigen gefährden würde. 

Netrebko lebt seit langem nicht in Russland, sie ist seit 20 Jahren österreichische Staatsbürgerin, ihre Eltern sind tot und ihre Schwester lebt seit Jahren in Dänemark. 

#9 Sanktionen gegen Netrebko sind eine Vermischung von Kunst und Politik

Netrebko selbst brachte die Politik in die Kunst ein, als sie begann, die Politik zur Förderung ihrer künstlerischen Karriere einzusetzen. Sanktionen gegen Netrebko sind Sanktionen gegen eine Vertraute von Präsident Putin.

#10 Netrebkos Konzerte werden nur deswegen abgesagt, weil sie Russin ist.

Russische Künstler, die die aggressive Politik Russlands nicht unterstützen und Wladimir Putin nicht nahestehen, können weiterhin problemlos im Westen auftreten. 

#11 Künstler sollten nicht gezwungen werden, ihre politischen Ansichten öffentlich zu äußern und ihr Heimatland zu verurteilen.

Netrebko hat sich vor dem Krieg wiederholt und freiwillig politisch geäußert, Russlands repressive Innen- und aggressive Außenpolitik unterstützt und davon finanziell profitiert. Es ist völlig legitim zu fordern, dass Netrebko nach Kriegsbeginn klar die Stellung bezieht.

#12 Netrebko wird als Musikerin angestellt, nicht als Politikerin. 

In Russland wird die Netrebko als Symbol Russlands gesehen, somit wird jeder ihrer Auftritt als weiterer Sieg Russlands auf der internationalen Bühne gewertet. 

#13 Netrebko wurde schon vor dem Krieg eingeladen, und jetzt ist es unmöglich, den Vertrag mit ihr aufzukündigen. 

Verträge mit Netrebko wurden von der Bayerischen Staatsoper, den Baden-Badener Festspielen, Stuttgart und vielen anderen Konzertveranstaltern gekündigt. 

#14 Netrebko hilft, Brücken zwischen den Ländern zu bauen und fördert den Waffenstillstand. 

Netrebko fördert das Narrativ des Kremls und ist ein Werkzeug zur Korruption der westlichen Eliten. Ihre Einladung ist stets von Skandalen und Protesten begleitet. Die Ukraine hat persönliche Sanktionen gegen Netrebko verhängt, welche die Zusammenarbeit und den kulturellen Austausch einstellen. Aus diesem Grund werden die ukrainische Künstler nicht bei den Maifestspielen in Deutschland auftreten können, sollte die Netrebko eingeladen werden. 

#15 Netrebko teilt westliche Werte und könnte für den Kampf gegen Putin eingesetzt werden. 

Netrebko hat das Gesetz zur Diskriminierung von LGBT und andere repressive Gesetze zur Unterdrückung von Menschenrechten und bürgerlichen Freiheiten unterstützt und hat sich nie gegen Wladimir Putin und seine aggressive Innen-und Außenpolitik ausgesprochen.

Wien, am 30.01.2023, Organisation „Віденський Фронт/Wiener Front/Vienna Front“

Open letter to Major of Genoa, Bergamo and Brescia, Teatro Carlo Felice, Giovine Orchestra Genovese and Festival Pianistico Internazionale

Subject: Shut your doors to Putin’s cultural general and promoter of war Denis Matsuev.

Nearly a year into Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine, characterized by a continuous chain of war crimes, including the recent use of a ballistic missile against an apartment building in Dnipro, resulting in tremendous loss of life and injuries among civilians, we inexplicably find ourselves in a position of needing to write this letter. We had been sure that by now everyone understands just how immoral and destructive to the reputation of any artistic organization cooperation with Putin’s propagandists, such as Denis Matsuev turns out to be. This is because Putin’s regime, like the Soviet regime earlier, uses the “Great Russian Culture” as a Trojan Horse in order to blunt outcries of condemnation of its aggressive policies.

On the eve of the full-scale war, American activists from Signerbusters sent this open letter to Carnegie Hall demanding the cancellation of the concert of war cheerleaders Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev.

We are sure that this is not news to you, as since then Denis Matsuev’s concerts have been canceled not only in the USA, but also in SwitzerlandCzechiaSpain, and JapanThe European Union Youth Orchestra (EUYO) also cancelled of Denis Matsuev’s planned concerts with the Orchestra.

True to form, after the outbreak of the war Mr. Matsuev not only did not condemn it, but continued to participate in propaganda activities sponsored by the Putin regime.

Even a cursory search reveals that in 2022 Putin’s “President’s Cultural Initiatives Fund” gave at least $3,200,000 to Matsuev’s projects. Putin’s Gazprom lists itself as a 2022 co-sponsor of Matsuev’s festival via his “Stars on the Baikal” Foundation. There is money from Putin’s Cultural Initiatives Fund flowing to Matsuev’s “New Names” Foundation, in addition to the significant amounts of money flowing to him from various other governmental entities. All of this information is freely available via Google or any other search engine. We can’t stress enough that all this funding is coming to Mr. Matsuev from the government and the president who are bombing a neighboring country and killing people there as we write this letter.

Today we make the same call to you that we made to Carnegie Hall in January 2022: do not let your cultural institution go down in history as a servant of propaganda and war. Instead, do the right thing by shutting your doors against this cultural general of Putin’s bloody regime and enthusiastic promoter of war.

Sincerely,

Arts Against Aggression 

* Since 2014 Arts Against Aggression engages in educating local communities about the ongoing aggression and war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. https://www.facebook.com/groups/MusicLoversAgainstAggression/

Our educational campaigns are aimed at raising awareness of the US public and cultural institutions of the Russian hybrid war against the US, as well as exposing the Russian artists who vocally support Putin’s wars of aggression for domestic consumption while cowardly pretending to be “musicians, not politicians” in the West.

Matsuev Test: Will Italian activists disarm another of Putin’s cultural general?

After the beginning of the aggression war in Ukraine, Italian theatres were a sort of “safe harbor” for Russian artists, even for those with close ties with Putin, and for those who never condemned his regime. 

Gergiev was the only Russian artist whose concert was cancelled by La Scala, while other artists – close to Putin and recently sanctioned by Ukraine, such as Anna Netrebko and Svetlana Zakharova – are still welcome in Milan, Verona, Turin and several other Italian theatres since April 2022.

The common statement of theatre directors in Italy was: “arts and politics should be separate”. 

Then, few weeks ago, something changed. A tweet from NextaTV about Sergej Polunin, whose show “Rasputin” was planned in Milan, at the Arcimboldi theatre in January 2023, raised anger on social media: not among the art and ballet community, which was waiting for the event, but among all the Italian people supporting Ukraine. Why Milan was going to host a Putin’s supporter, with Putin’s face tattooed on his chest? Not accepted anywhere else in Europe? And after that Polunin collected money for the Russian army, the same army responsible for rapes and slaughters in Ukraine?

Initially, the reaction of the director of the theatre, Gianmarco Longoni, was to dismiss criticisms; in an interview with Irene Soave he said: “The show was scheduled from 2019, then moved several times. Polunin should have come last spring, when the war had already broken out; he was injured, and the show was canceled yet again. But now we have a hall of tickets sold, and out of respect for those who bought them we would confirm. Even Polunin’s cachet has already been paid, it would be a disaster to cancel.”

But the rage increased, and not only on social media: Italian #NAFO activists groups flooded social media, they organized a mail-bombing campaign toward the theatre and the Major of Milan, and an on-line petition collecting more than 2500 signatures. The social media campaign was also sponsored by Italian and Ukrainian journalists, such as Zelensky’s former Press Secretary Iuliia Mendel, and finally, at the end of December, Arcimboldi theater decided to cancel the show.

However, the reaction of the theatre (also reported by Irene Soave) was … against the protesters: “We receive threats. Our personnel receive threats. What if he comes, and then something happens in the hall? And this is for peace? They want peace, but also to silence those who think differently”. Even the official statement on the theatre web page was rough: the cancelation was due to the “pressing social and web mobilization of the past few weeks against the artist’s performance”, and to the “climate of tension and threats”.

This reaction was seen, by many, as a sign of the lack of sensibility of the Italian artistic community on the war in Ukraine. Another journalist, Massimiliano Melley, pointed out that such reaction is very strange since Polunin is banned everywhere in Europe: “It is not about the relationship between art and politics: we note that there is the rest of Europe, which is intolerant versus the intolerants [the russian regime], and then there is Arcimboldi theatre which, flaunting an alleged “violence”, ends up transforming a dancer – who raises funds for the army that has unleashed a genocidal war – into a victim, turning aggressors in “victims”, direct or indirect, of that war. Bad, very bad indeed.” 

Another similar case was the concert of Valentina Lisitsa at “La Fenice” theatre in Venice, planned in April 2023: even in this case the association Musikamera had scheduled her concert as part of the 2022-2023 season, just an ordinary event. The “alarm” was given by Mariia Kramarenko on Twitter:  Lisitsa is famous for a concert in occupied Mariupol, she played piano close the theatre destroyed by the invaders, where many innocents died, how is it possible that she can play in Venice?

Again, social media were flooded by #NAFO activists, but also by concerned Italian citizens, and once again the Italian civil society had a clearer and more serious stance against the Russian aggression.

“La Fenice” theatre communicated that Lisitsa’s concert was cancelled only after a direct question from Jacopo Iacoboni, a famous Italian journalist (threatened by Russian government in 2020 for his investigation on Putin’s influence in Italy).

And again, the Italian music society was “surprised”: Musikamera’s president Sonia Guetta Finzi said “Music and culture must unite peoples and not divide them”, and “We were not aware of [Lisitsa]’s political activism and the controversies involving her – I am very sorry and embarrassed.”

And some Italian music journalists did not seem very happy, too. Piera Anna Franini wrote on “Il Giornale”: “The cancellation in Venice has to be seen in the frame of the “russophobia” and “cancel culture”, a decision taken without investigating what goes on behind the scenes. This is a case in which “Right and wrong are never divided so cleanly ….”. It is worth noting that “Il Giornale” is a newspaper owned by the family of Silvio Berlusconi, former PM and long-time friend of Vladimir Putin, who recently declared that he is “number one among his five best friends“.

And the different view between Italian theatres and Italian civil society is still there.

In these days, the Italian #NAFO activists have launched a new petition, to stop a concert of Denis Matsuev planned in Genova in May 2023.

Again, this would be the first concert of a Putin’s longtime friend and supporter in Europe, sponsored by Gazprom, after cancellations in SpainJapan and Switzerland …. and once again, his first European concert after the invasion would be in Italy.

And despite Matsuev’s support to Putin, and the continuous atrocities in Ukraine, not only Genova, but also other Italian theatres are happy to host him:“Festival Pianistico” just announced two concerts with Matsuev in Brescia (May 24th) and Bergamo (May 27th)

The petition against Matsuev in Genova collected more than 700 signatures in a couple of days: will Italian activists gain a third win? And will this be enough to stop further invites from other Italian theatres?

Открытое обращение к организаторам американских концертов Александра Городницкого

Мы обращаемся к организаторам американских гастролей патриарха российской бардовской песни Александра Моисеевича Городницкого с призывом объявить концерты благотворительными и направить часть собранных средств на помощь Украине. 

Многие из вас активно поддерживают Украину в её неравной борьбе за право на самоопределение и существование, как таковое. Мы уверены, что вам не нужно рассказывать ни о зверствах российских оккупационных войск в Буче, Изюме, или Мариуполе, ни о преступной компании бомбардировок гражданской энергетической инфраструктуры.

К сожалению, ввиду отсутствия внятных заявлений от самого Александра Моисеевича и его коллег по бардовскому цеху, мы считаем необходимым напомнить вам о нелицеприятных фактах из совсем недавнего прошлого.

24 февраля 2022 открыло глаза многим тем, кто до этого упорно не желал ничего замечать.  Часть российских деятелей культуры открыто выступили против войны, некоторые уехали из России. Удивительно, но среди них не было известных российских бардов (за исключением дуэта «Иваси»). Казалось бы за бардами не стояли их театры и оркестры с государственным финансированием, и бардам было нечего терять, кроме своей репутации. Однако в то время, когда  весь мир ужасался военным преступлениям российской армии в Украине, российские барды Олег Митяев, Тимур Шаов, Вадим Мищук, Вадим Егоров, Галина Хомчик, Ольга Чикина, участники проекта «Песни нашего века» и многие другие отправились в Самарскую область развлекать зрителей Грушинского фестиваля. Фестиваль собрал рекордные 50 тысяч зрителе, но о войне в Украине там не было сказано ни слова. И это не удивительно, ведь фестиваль проходил при поддержке Президентского фонда культурных инициатив и Госкорпорации «Росатом».

В интервью Daily Storm народный артист Российской Федерации и автор песни «Как здорово, что все мы здесь сегодня собрались!» Олег Митяев сказал — «Все разрознились и как-то вообще ничего не понятно. Но вы знаете, один мудрый человек однажды… ничего не сказал. Поэтому я думаю, что все, что я мог выразить, я выразил этой фразой». Переживал по поводу происходящего и бард Тимур Шаов, однако заявил, что старается обходить такие вопросы стороной. «Все, что я хочу сказать, — все это у меня в песнях, — объяснил он. — Я ничего не скрываю, поэтому там можно найти все что угодно». 

Многолетний председатель большого жюри конкурсной программы Грушевского  фестиваля Александр Городницкий, к нашему глубокому разочарованию, тоже молчал. Его последний пост в Фейсбуке датирован 25 февраля 2022 года: «Дорогие друзья, в связи с последними событиями, я вынужден принять решение о переносе нашей программы на конец марта. Надеюсь на понимание. Искренне Ваш, Александр Городницкий.»

Трудно понять на что надеялся патриарх бардовской песни перенося свою зум-программу, но он точно не воспользовался уникальным шансом реабилитировать российское бардовское сообщество, которое когда-то считалось совестью общества.

До начала полномасштабного вторжения России в Украину, Александр Моисеевич не стеснялся публично высказывать свою гражданскую позицию. Уже после аннексии Крыма он говорил: «Хор Черноморского флота поёт последнюю строчку не так, как у меня. Раньше было написано: «Севастополь останется русским — этот город вернётся назад», а сейчас изменили и поют: «Этот город вернулся назад — он навеки останется русским». Это народ дописал. Я не возражаю»

Видимо за эту гражданскую позицию в 2019 году Президент Российской Федерации Владимир Путин наградил Александра Моисеевича Городницкого Орденом Дружбы.  Александр Моисеевич лично отправился за наградой в Кремль и с радостью рассказал об этом на своем официальном сайте

Сейчас Александр Моисеевич приезжает с серией концертов в США. Хотя недавно в его репертуаре и появилась песня “Беженцы», мы считаем, что кавалеру российского Ордена Дружбы и автору песни «Севастополь останется русским», следует наконец открыто продемонстрировать свое отношение к войне, развязанной его страной против Украины. Такой демонстрацией, безусловно, могло бы стать публичное решение направить собранные на концертах средства на помощь украинским беженцам, чтобы поклонники Городницкого по всему миру по его делам увидели на чьей стороне их кумир. 

-Arts Against Aggression 

Про группу Arts Against Aggression 

Arts Against Aggression сотрудничает с фондом Cash for Refugees и фондом Ukraine Rescue Fund 

Вручение Ордена Дружбы, Москва, Кремль 10.04.2019

Press Release: Protests Against Gergiev and Matsuev Performances in New York

We are coordinators of “Signerbusters”, an international group, which engages in educating local communities about the ongoing aggression and war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine since 2014.Our educational campaigns are aimed at raising awareness of the US public and cultural institutions of the Russian hybrid soft power war against the US, as well as exposing the Russian cultural elite who openly and vocally supported the war.

We write to inform you about our upcoming protests against appearance of conductor Valery Gergiev and pianist Denis Matsuev at the Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic. Gergiev and Matsuev are two of the staunchest supporters of the current Russian regime, open supporters of Russia’s ongoing aggression and war against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea which has caused immeasurable suffering and killed thousands of people in Ukraine. Both are leading Putin’s tools in using culture as a propaganda weapon in the West.

The reason for this protest is explained below.

In March 2014 Valery Gergiev and Denis Matsuev actively advocated for annexation of Crimea by Russia and joined a host of other Russian artists and cultural figures in signing an open letter in support of Russian President Putin’s policy of war, occupation and annexation in Ukraine and Crimea. That policy was condemned internationally by many countries including the United States.  

Being Putin’s confidant, Mr. Gergiev also became an Honorary Member of the Community Council at the Investigative Committee of Russia, federal government agency controlled by President Putin, which considered in today’s Russia, notorious for multiple human rights violations, as a new punitive body.

In 2017 Valery Gergiev received an award from the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation “for works and creative projects that contribute to the militaristic-patriotic education of Russian citizens”. This is how he was gratified for his involvement in promoting wars in Georgia, Ukraine and Syria.

Denis Matsuev also is Putin’s confidante and supporter. He currently is a member of the working group tasked with drafting the constitutional changes.

Although both Gergiev and Matsuev are obviously involved in politics, they shamelessly repeat hypocritical statement that they keep their art separate from politics. The involvement of artistic intelligentsia into political actions of the government – signing the letter in support of annexation of Crimea – was clearly intended to whitewash military invasion of Ukraine in the eyes of Russian society. This type of propaganda campaign via “collective open letters” has a long tradition in Russia and is rooted in the USSR and Stalinism.

Designed to target mostly Russian audience, the letter was officially released in Russian only and has never been translated into any other language by Russian officials (the English translation linked here was made by one of our members.) Although Gergiev and Matsuev signed the letter willfully and voluntarily, they have no desire to appear to Western audience as the official supporters of annexation of Crimea and war promoters. On the contrary, they position themselves as messengers of peace through classical music.

It is worth noting that principal sponsors of Mariinsky Foundation of America SBERBANK and VTB are under US sanctions.

Press in the US has done some coverage of reputational and other damage of accepting or acquiescing to the “soft power” exerted in the United States by unsavory foreign regimes or outright corrupt powers. There is nothing new about foreign regimes’ buying influence and reputation by exerting such soft power: Goebbels and the Third Reich have been notorious for doing that, from hosting the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to financing Berlin Philharmonic’s tours abroad. There were two articles published by The New York Times in 2019 aimed to disclose more facts and information on the unsavory foreign donations as disguised means of exerting influence and such power.

We wish cultural venues in the US would come to an understanding that Putin’s Russia is actively using art and culture in waging a hybrid war against western moral and cultural values. Such powers are often exerted on some of the best and famous venues to provide access to those venues to Putin’s loyal cultural emissaries. While some of the venues in the US have started to refuse their appearances, we urge such iconic venues as Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra to stop supporting performances of openly politically tainted artists including Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko, Hibla Gerzmava, Vladimir Spivakov, YuryBashmet and others. Their political actions and unequivocally damaged political reputation extend well beyond their musical activities.

We find this involvement of arts into politics, especially to support war, aggression and a large-scale devastation, absolutely unacceptable in the modern civilized world. Our protests, held internationally, are ethical rather than political. They are intended to inform the international community of hypocrisy, cynicism, and unscrupulousness of the signers of that disgraceful letter, with whose sincere blessings thousands are dying, hundreds of thousands are injured, millions are displaced, and human rights of tens of millions are violated.

S I G N E R B U S T E R S

 

Journalists, Our Movement Needs Your Powerful Word!

Dear Canadian and American Journalists,

I am Anna Filonenko, a Chicagoland resident, a member of Ukrainian community and your former colleague, writing to you to bring you attention to a hypocritical and dangerous event about to happen in your countries in March. The La Maison Symphonique in Montreal, Canada, The Metropolitan Opera House and David Geffen Hall in New York, USA, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra, USA have invited Valeriy Gergiev to perform on their stages, underestimating the true mission of this Russian propagandist. Gerviev, along with other leading 510 Russian cultural figures, signatories of the notorious letter in support of Putin’s anti-Ukrainian politics, uses his talent and glory to whitewash Kremlin’s crimes: wars in Ukraine and Syria, annexation of Crimea, parts of Moldova and Georgia, violent riots on European streets, election meddling in the USA…you name them, it’s a long list. But despite the intensity and degree of Putin’s crimes, his authority and power remains solid in the eyes of the general public. The Kremlin spends tons of money, hundreds of millions dollars on Big propaganda, Russian famous “The Firehose of Falsehood”. Gergiev is one of Putin’s soldiers of spreading misinformation about true deeds of the Russian Federation. 

I am from the industrial region of Ukraine. I was born in one day, year and city with the current Ukrainian President Zelensky. I spent my school years in a small town of coal miners near Donbas, and graduated from Dnipropetrovsk National University with a Journalism degree, where I was taught the power and appreciation of the Word and to become Ukrainian. Yes, after spending my childhood under a strong prorussian Donbass influence, only in my 20s I first realized my country’s and own true identity, culture, and history. That’s what Ukrainians, Belorussians, Estonians… other post-Soviet people feel and urge to educate neighbors, colleagues, friends about the falsehood Russia is soooo excellent at. 

Are we heard? Chicago journalist Howard Reich wrote in his memoirs “Prisoner of Her Past”: “The World could not bear to hear their stories, society at large making it clear to survivors that they simply get on with their lives” about the tragedy of the Eastern European Jews. Mr. Reich was so right, pointing at this defensive mechanism our suppressed and unheard minds do and it can be applied to all survivors of Totalitarian regimes. I’ve run away and can observe “Donbas” from a safe distance now, in Loznitsa’s movie, for instance. I’ve run away, but cannot simply get on with my life, watching how Russia spreads its influence across the ocean, under Gergiev’s cover, for instance. I am an American with a Ukrainian heritage, a living witness of what Russia truly does if it gets a silent permission to. The New York Times did a great job describing how The Kremlin incorporates Russian cultural figures into propaganda, into the Cold War II against Western Society and Democratic values.

The New York Times: Oligarchs, as U.S. Arts Patrons, Present a Softer Image of Russia

The New York Times: Has a U.S. College Given Russia Too Friendly a Platform?

“The smear job on Chrystia Freeland is only the start. Canada is a logical next target in Moscow’s clandestine war”- said a Canadian journalist Scott Gilmore about his country’s potential threat.

It is incomprehensible that The La Maison Symphonique, The Metropolitan Opera House and  New York Philharmonic David Geffen Hall, The Chicago Symphony Orchestra have invited such a notorious person to the Canadian and American land, the land of Freedom and Democracy. Arts Against Aggression movement followers and concerned citizens asked those venues to cancel Gergiev’s concerts, to stop his hypocritical performances and Orchestras’ shameful involvement. Those concerts in March will stain our true cultural treasures’ reputation heavily. I hope the iconic venues value their names and would do everything to prevent this mistake from happening. I hope this matter gets your, Journalists, attention. Our movement needs your powerful Word.

Thanks in advance,

Anna Filonenko 

Press Release: Artists of War and Aggression Make Cultural Venues Worry About Reputational Damage (by Arts Against Aggression)

Since 2014 “Arts Against Aggression” engages in educating local communities about the ongoing aggression and war of the Russian Federation against Ukraine. Our educational campaigns are aimed at raising awareness of the US public and cultural institutions of the Russian hybrid soft power war against the US, as well as exposing the Russian cultural elite who openly and vocally supported the war.

We write to update you on the recently concluded US tour of musician Igor Butman, one of the staunchest supporters of the current Russian regime, an open supporter of Russia’s ongoing aggression and war against Ukraine and annexation of Crimea which has caused immeasurable suffering and killed thousands of people in Ukraine. In March 2014 Mr. Butman was one of the signatories of an open letter in support of Russian President Putin’s policy of war, occupation and annexation in Ukraine and Crimea[1]. That policy was condemned internationally by many countries including the United States.

Mr. Butman, a US citizen, is a member of Putin’s “United Russia” party and has shown such undivided loyalty to the Russian regime as to advance and become a member of the Supreme Council of the party together with the highest ruling Russian “nomenklatura”.  US citizen Butman openly spoke of his disregard of the American oath of allegiance, saying that everyone says those words at naturalization and the reason he became US citizen was visa free travel.  US citizen Butman also served as President Putin’s reelection confidant during the Russian presidential campaign. Mr. Butman has made no secret of his performances in Crimea, possibly in violation of the US Presidential executive order imposing sanctions on the Russian-occupied region and prohibiting exports of US goods and services there.

In an eerie resemblance with the rewards the leaders of the Third Reich lavished on artists and musicians who openly collaborated with their regime, US citizen Butman’s loyalty to Putin’s Russian regime of war and aggression has been lavishly rewarded. As a few examples, his orchestra, as well as his newly opened Jazz Academy in Moscow, are funded by the Russian government.

By the time Mr. Butman started his US tour in 2020, his reputation has been already damaged to the extent that several jazz clubs canceled his scheduled US performances (such as Regatta Bar in Boston, the Blue Llama in Ann Arbor, and the Promontory club in Chicago) and cut short his whole tour. Those cancellations were the result of the coordinated educational campaigns of the “Arts Against Aggression” activists who wrote letters to the owners, managers and patrons of those venues and clubs, as well as to the media, informing them of the possible reputational damage of providing their venues to Mr. Butman. [2]

From the very beginning of Mr. Butman’s 2020 US tour in New York, his performances were greeted by four consecutive days of sustained protests and educational campaigns by our sister group Signerbusters. Dozens of people who had tickets to the performances decided not to attend, and some of them even choose to join the protesters. Mr. Butman dismissed the protestors as “not really adequate[3]. After New York performances, Mr. Butman’s next stop was Washington DC.

During his performance at the Russian Embassy in Washington, US citizen Butman made no secret that his US tour was a part of the Russian propaganda machine which used government-owned media platforms to announce and promote Mr. Butman’s US tour. For example, Russia Today, a propaganda channel registered as foreign agent in the US, ran an interview with Mr. Butman as a part of the promotional campaign of his tour[4].

Protests against Mr. Butman’s appearances continued in Boston where Jewish Educational and Cultural Center Makor gave him a venue after the Regatta Bar cancellation. As reported by The Boston Globe, Mr. Butman and attendees of his Boston show were greeted by «The real price of Russian Jazz” installation, a life-sized cardboard cutout of President Putin and visually striking stand-ins for Putin’s victims: free press, civil rights, freedom of expression, minority rights, free and fair elections, and the Constitution[5]. The installation emphasized that most of the price for this and other performances by Mr. Butman was paid by Russia’s civil society.

It is worth noting that Mr. Butman has repeatedly stated he is just a musician, that he brings his jazz music to people and that he does not engage in politics. This is shamelessly hypocritical, of course, because the principle of keeping art separate from politics may be a good one under democratic regimes and in peacetime, but, as Mr. Butman’s example demonstrates, it cannot function in an authoritarian reign of brutality and war.

Press in the US has done some coverage of reputational and other damage of accepting or acquiescing to the “soft power” exerted in the United States by unsavory foreign regimes or outright corrupt powers. There is nothing new about foreign regimes’ buying influence and reputation by exerting such soft power: Goebbels and the Third Reich have been notorious for doing that, from hosting the 1936 Olympics in Berlin to financing Berlin Philharmonic’s tours abroad. Two such articles were published by The Boston Globe in 2014 and 2017 on the Putin supporter’s recitals in Boston[6],[7]. There were two later articles published by The New York Times in 2019 aimed to disclose more facts and information on the unsavory foreign donations as disguised means of exerting influence and such power [8],[9].

For the first time since 2014 cultural venues in the US have come to an understanding that Putin’s Russia is actively using art and culture in waging a hybrid war against western moral and cultural values. Such powers are often exerted on some of the best and famous venues to provide access to those venues to Putin’s loyal cultural emissaries. While some of the venues in the US have started to refuse their appearances, we urge such iconic venues as Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, David Geffen Hall, New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra to stop supporting performances of openly politically tainted artists including Valery Gergiev, Denis Matsuev, Anna Netrebko, Hibla Gerzmava, Vladimir Spivakov, Yury Bashmet and others. Their political actions and unequivocally damaged political reputation extend well beyond their musical activities.

[1] The website of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation: https://www.mkrf.ru/press/news/deyateli-kultury-rossii-v-podderzhku-pozitsii-prezidenta-po-ukraine-i-krymu20171009103201 .

An English translation is available here: https://russianartists4war.com/letter/ , Mr. Butman is signatory #63.

[2] Cambridge Day: Regattabar shouldn’t give time to Butman, Putin supporter, member of United Russia

http://www.cambridgeday.com/2019/12/09/regattabar-shouldnt-give-time-to-butman-putin-supporter-member-of-united-russia/

[3] Urdu Point: Russian Jazz Legend Butman Denounces Protest Against His Concert In Boston https://www.urdupoint.com/en/world/russian-jazz-legend-butman-denounces-protest-828695.html

[4] RT America: Russian-born jazz virtuoso Igor Butman discusses US-Russia relations and the power of music https://www.rt.com/shows/news-with-rick-sanchez/480090-news-with-rick-sanchez-february/

[5] The Boston Globe: Russian saxophonist met with protests in Brooklinehttps://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/02/13/lifestyle/pro-putin-saxophonist-igor-butman-met-with-protesters-brookline/

[6] The Boston Globe: Russian musicians’ support for Putin not playing wellhttps://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/style/2014/06/13/pro-putin-classical-performers-facing-music-abroad/0wvZRpjd0hfzEmdMK3OWAN/story.html

[7] The Boston Globe: Pro-Putin musicians to face protests at Boston concert https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/music/2017/05/31/pro-putin-musicians-face-protests-boston-concert/68dzMVAUBK8VHCRhkXMH8O/story.html

[8] The New York Times: Oligarchs, as U.S. Arts Patrons, Present a Softer Image of Russia https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/06/arts/russia-oligarchs-arts.html

[9] The New York Times: Has a U.S. College Given Russia Too Friendly a Platform? https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/06/arts/american-university-russian-influence.html