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Just in: Yevgeny Nikitin ‘I never wanted a swastika tattoo’

The bass-baritone who was fired from Bayreuth for his body art has issued a statement on the Mariinsky site.

Заявляю категорически, татуировки, которые у кого-то вызвали ассоциации с нацистской символикой, никак с нею не связаны.
На одной стороне груди изображены скандинавские руны, в пору занятий тяжелым роком я был увлечен скандинавским эпосом. Татуировка на другой стороне никогда не имела никакого отношения к свастике. Это должна была быть восьмиконечная звезда, а в центре – герб, который я сам придумал. Мы набивали эту татуировку в несколько этапов. На видео, использованном в сюжете ZDF, я снят с незавершенной татуировкой, незакрашенные контуры которой кому-то показались похожими на свастику. Но, повторяю, это был промежуточный этап, татуировка была незаконченной. Я никогда в жизни не хотел иметь на теле свастику и тем более не стал бы позировать в таком виде перед камерой.
Евгений Никитин

A rough translation reads:

I have never and do not belong to any political groups, neither left nor right. National Socialism in all its manifestations is deeply disgusting to me. My two grandfathers perished in the Great Patriotic War! I
declare categorically that my tattoos do not relate to Nazi symbolism.

One side of the chest shows Nordic runes. I was fascinated at the time by Nordic sagas. The tattoo on the other side has never had anything to do with the swastika. This was supposed to be eight-pointed star, and in the center – the emblem, which I invented myself. In the video, shown on ZDF, I removed from the unfinished tattoo, non painted outlines of where someone seemed like a swastika. But, I repeat, this was an intermediate stage, the tattoo was unfinished. I never wanted to have a swastika on my body and even more so would not pose in front of a camera like this.
Yevgeny Nikitin

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  1. Rosana Martins says:

    If Mr.Nikitin doesn’t want to be associated to the “deeply disgusting” swastika, he should have never permitted it to be tattoed on his body. If the emblem is in an intermediate stage, he should have done everything to have it removed or completely changed in aspect. There are wonderful plastic surgeons nowadays who could have helped him!

    There is absolutely no excuse for the state of affairs!

    • Emil Archambault says:

      It is completely covered now ( The controversy is not about a tattoo he has now, but about old footage which is now out of date.

      Which, of course, makes it more absurd. no one would have seen a signle swastika in Bayreuth, even if Nikitin had been naked.

      • Thanks for the post. My own comments here are based on seeing the photo of the earlier tattoo, and not realising that it has in fact been covered up since. That’s poor research on my part, and explains the comments of some who said it was not visible – they’d done their homework and I hadn’t.

        I perhaps shouldn’t make the following pondering here, but I will. Something that struck me in looking at the current version of the tattoo and the earlier one upon which it has been built. Isn’t the current one a sort of variation on the Star of David? And aren’t the corners of it – in THIS depiction, I’m not making a bizarre generalisation – derived from the underlying Swastika? This has never occurred to me before. I am aware that sometimes art is used to demonstrate gestalt switches wherein we can recognise that which we despise in that which we admire. This now generates a new line of thought for me, although I daresay it’s not new to many others.

        Regarding my own comments on the other blog, I should say that given the subsequent updates kindly provided by Norman, I would be inclined take the man at his word.

        Reading the link above, I see that Bayreuth “actively centred pre-production marketing around…Nikitin’s tattoos”. This brings us back to Ockham’s razor, and the possible simplest explanation for a given phenomenon. There is a saying that where conspiracy and incompetence are two possible explanations, incompetence is typically the best bet. In this case, maybe their own marketing simply backfired on them!

  2. Andrew Powell says:

    Glad to read a clear denunciation of National Socialism from the bass-baritone. The idea that it was always an “eight-pointed star” in progress is less easy to digest given a start date of 20 years ago and a 2007 video showing only four points painted. Perhaps this was the Russian PR person’s advice. An American PR firm might have suggested a straighter strategy — I screwed up, I grew up, I didn’t want a skin graft, so now my chest is a mess. Of course, that would still leave the newer vertical arrow to explain.

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