On May 1st – when else? – Vladimir Putin pinned a Communist-era Hero of Labour medal onto his good friend Valery Gergiev.
Tomorrow, Putin will attend a gala evening with Placido Domingo to open the new $700 million Mariinsky II opera house, his little gift to Gergiev on the conductor’s 60th birthday.
Here’s one from Uncle Joe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) presents a Hero of Labour award to Mariinsky theatre director Valery Gergiev during an awards ceremony in St. Petersburg May 1, 2013. REUTERS/Alexei Nikolsky/Ria Novosti/Pool
UPDATE: His friend, the pianist Denis Matsuev, told RIA-Novosti: ‘When I found out about the award, I thought that this is exactly right. A working man throughout his life, more than other conductors. As the saying goes, the award has found its hero, because we all learn from it different things, but his ability to work, what to say – plow – is a unique example to follow. And I am also learning.’