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Finnish Violinist and Conductor Writes Open Letter to Artists That Support Putin’s Actions

Finnish Violinist and Conductor Writes Open Letter to Artists That Support Putin’s Actions

Open letter from Dalia Stasevska, violinist and conductor



On 11th of March, on the internet page of Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, a controversial statement signed by Valery Gergiev, Yuri Bashmet, Denis Matsuev and 508 additional Russian artists was published. Many famous musicians and other representatives of Russian artists’ community thus announced their direct “support for the position of President of the Russian Federation regarding Ukraine and Crimea”. Because of this, I am directly forced to announce my shock, dismay and disagreement with that particular statement.

Dmitri Shostakovich is widely known as something of an archetype about artist’s ambivalent role in a dictatorship. Although he publicly supported the politics of Stalin’s regime, he later claimed having encountered ‘inner resistance’ against the system all those years. Is this the role of you have taken too, Mr. Gergiev and other signatories? Or is your statement only sheer opportunism? Because I can’t find any reasonable justification for your “message”.

Dear Mr. Gergiev and signatories, you stated: “Our common history, our cultural roots and spiritual origins, our fundamental values and language have united us [Ukrainians and Russians] forever. We want to see the commonality of our peoples and our cultures have a strong future.” As far as I know, you should be very familiar with European musical and art tradition. You all have played and worked more than once with different people from different cultural backgrounds and minorities. Therefore, I am really surprised about your ignorance on the fundamental democratic European convictions in your statement. To remind you once again, the policy of “one nation, one empire, one ruler” has been entirely passé almost for the last 70 years. It makes me wonder how you, artists with diverse ethnic backgrounds – who are achieving your success in art and music only by peaceful work and communication with other nationalities – can support a regime that is drawing new geographical lines on a false pretext of “securing Russian people and language” and threatens to use civilians of neighbouring country as a human shield (Putin’s speech on 4th of May) in order to strengthen the suppressive power of Kremlin and by putting their own nation above the others; support authority that violates human rights and uses military aggression as its preferred tool? By signing this support statement, are you going to take the responsibility for the violent actions, carried out by the Russian forces, if they are targeted against your foreign colleagues?

Instead of supporting anti-humane and militant policies we, the musicians and artists, have the responsibility to fight for humanity. Our profession arises from a spiritual source inside us, making us compassionate and able to love everything living. There is so much beauty around us, that we can’t maybe sense clearly as often as necessary – maybe that is why we need an artists to remind us about basic human rights. I invite all the musicians and artists to use all their possible power to overcome the hatred and false emotions towards each other, to stop dictators, stop ignoring international law and its obligations as well not to resort to any further aggression towards Ukraine or any other peaceful country.

Dalia Stasevska
Helsinki 20.3.2014
Finnish-Ukrainian Conductor

Dalia Stasevska has conducted many of Finland’s orchestras, including the Finnish Radio Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and in the Finnish National Opera. Forthcoming engagements will take her to the Finnish National Opera, Savonlinna Opera Festival and Davos Festival, Young Artists in Recidence. Since autumn 2009 she has been Artistic Director of the Kamarikesä (Chamber Music Summer) Festival in Helsinki.


More about Dalia Stasevska

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