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Dissidents demand Gergiev’s dismissal from the Mariinsky

A group of malcontents has called on the Russian Culture Minister to sack Valery Gergiev as artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre. They say he has been there 25 years without re-election and holds too much power over its various subsidiaries, including the singers’ academy. The quality of performances, they argue, is in general decline.

The petition has so far attracted fifty-odd signatures. Its author, unknown to us, is Lida Ajhi.

Gergiev is an intimate friend of President Putin and the signatories risk personal sanctions by putting their names on the line. There must be good reasons – beyond the usual jealousies – for Mr Ajhi and others to take that risk.

You can access the petition here.

Russian President Putin presents a Hero of Labour award to Mariinsky theatre director Gergiev during an awards ceremony in St. Petersburg

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  1. Derek Castle says:

    Who’s for ‘the chop’ then?

  2. Your transliteration “Ajhi” for Айхи looks as if it should be pronounced adzhee, whereas a closer pronounciation guide would be I-he (as in the two personal pronouns I and he), transliterated as “Aihi”.

    As to the substance, haven’t you broken or at least bent the first rule of any respectable blog – “The petition has so far attracted fifty-odd signatures. Its author, unknown to us, is Lida Ajhi.” Perhaps someone else can fill in the missing context surrounding the author, who, incidentally, is probably Ms, Miss or Mrs Айхи !

  3. Well, we’ve always got room for him here in London!

  4. Lots of bad things going on in this world. He is a Russian patriotic and surely indeed believes that the new Tsar’s regiment is an overall improvement over what has been going on in Russia for hundreds of years.

    After all, the Western record, apart from basic acocmplishments, is almost as depressing, regarding the misdeeds committed in the name of freedom and democracy. I appreciate the latter, freedom and democracy, really, and I wish the world could be a better, more human place for everyone; I wish that human safety and happiness would be more widely disseminated. Realism tells me otherwise, and in politics everything is f***cked up from the beginning.

    So why focus on Gergiev? There will always be a Gergiev and, as Una pointed out, even a massive Western audience to applaud him. I think of Barley Blair aka Sean Connery in the near-forgotten movie “The Russia House” saying: “If there is to be a hope we must all betray our country, we have to save each other because all victims are equal and none is more equal than others. It’s everyone’s duty to start the avalanche.” Now that’s a word – turn one’s fury against the powers that really inhibit ethical progress; each of you can find these powers at the top of your own country in the first place.

    By the way, I think every standard Russian Kapellmeister of Soviet times had more stature in terms of musical achievement than this shaker. I have been constantly underwhelmed and, given his “artistic reputation”, been frustrated by what is the musical outcome of Gergiev conducting. The only recordings I appreciate are his early 90′s Kirov’s, especially a wonderful idiomatic “Pique Dame”.

  5. Gergiev’s stance on gay rights and Pussy Riot is enough for me to no longer hold him in any esteem. Life is short and there are millions of recordings and concerts to choose from, why support a despot-loving homophobic?

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