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Tuesday, 05 June 2018 08:01

Superstar Gergiev makes no apologies for singing Putin's praises Featured

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Russia has two tsars, one in the Kremlin and the other who sits equally imperiously on the throne of the Mariinsky theatre in St Petersburg as the country's biggest classical music star. The globetrotting conductor Valery Gergiev is, as it happens, a great admirer of his opposite number, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Without him, Russia might have shared "the fate of Syria", he told AFP. "Twenty years ago Russia was at a low ebb and I am not saying that Putin, on his own, has given it back its international importance, but I'm afraid that's the case," he added. Gergiev -- who sees Putin five or six times a year -- has been fiercely loyal to the Russian leader, supporting his annexation of Crimea, giving Pussy Riot short shift and flying to Syria for a concert in the ruins of Palmyra. He has also performed in the breakaway republic of South Ossetia -- which is only recognised by Moscow.

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