Some Common Sense About the Concert in Palmyra


Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ

7th May, 2016

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There are two types of reflex reaction to any action of the state from the citizens orientated towards the liberal opposition. Option one: to say that everything is fake and nothing actually happened. Well, for example, the rocket did not soar anywhere in “the East”, the entire spaceport is photoshopped, and the rocket flight was filmed at Mosfilm. You can include in this category stories about “Armata”  tanks out of cardboard and how the rocket “Kalibr” did not reach anywhere. We can still remember a lot similar situations for which no one thought to apologize for.

The other kind of reaction is bad hidden anger, disguised as ostensible concern. For example, each year, we hear on social networks calls to cancel the Victory parade and to give the saved money to veterans, or to not build a “East” spaceport, and spend the money to build bicycle lanes. They have a rich imagination, and a lot of things they are willing to cancel under specious pretexts. I believe that the most important thing is not to try and lead a discussion with them by their rules, and not to try and explain something. It is enough to just ask: “And it is also not needed to pay $50 billion to Yukos shareholders, and to distribute it to veterans?” – and then suddenly it turns out that $50 billion to Yukos shareholders is sacred and that’s no way to save it, even for veterans, bicycle paths, and programmes to protect Amur tigers. So why then do they continue to dispute? Everything is so clear.

How easy was it to imagine that a concert in Palmyra would cause a negative public reaction. While normal people recalled the other iconic concerts in Leningrad of 1942 and in Tskhinvali of 2008, liberals raged on Facebook and demanded a report on whose money Maestro Gergiev and the Mariinsky orchestra used for a “PR campaign” in Syria. Particularly distinguished are those who said that Gergiev is no longer accepted in civilized society, and is not allowed to speak in the West, so he had no choice but to conduct on the ruins of Palmyra. I would hazard a guess that the approval or respect of Facebook liberals is the last thing that requires a great Russian conductor. There will be many more concerts in the biography of Valery Gergiev in front of the most demanding audiences, but in the face of history (sorry for the pathos), the concert in Palmyra is much more valuable.

It struck me that many saw this concert as a desire to produce an impression on the western public. This is nonsense. I would like to ask: when Utyosov was at the front, was it was also an attempt to impress the western audience? Gergiev and his orchestra performed in front of our soldiers and their allies – the victory of their glorious heirs we will celebrate on 9th May. But if the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Great Britain called the concert “bad taste”, it is solely a problem of intellectual and cultural development, which we should not concern ourselves with. Apparently, someone in London is very angry that the Russian soldiers stopped the bloody orgy of the Syrian terrorists, despite all the efforts of the CIA and MI-6, so the anger of London strategists is good. The gnashing of their teeth was a great accompaniment for the concert in Palmyra.

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