Leading Russian musicians criticised for signing up to President’s hardline stance on Ukraine.

Russian cultural luminaries including Valery Gergiev, Yuri Bashmet and Denis Matsuev have made a collective statement supporting President Vladimir Putin’s position on Ukraine and the Crimea.

“In the days when the fate of Crimea and our countrymen is being decided, the Russian arts community cannot remain cold-hearted and indifferent observers,” the statement reads. “Our common history and roots, our culture and its spiritual sources, our fundamental values and language have always united us. We would like the commonality of our people and cultures to have a solid future. This is why we strongly support the position of the President of the Russian Federation on Ukraine and the Crimea.”

At the head of those signing the collective letter was leading Putin supporter and Chief Conductor of the Mariinsky, Valery Gergiev. Other notable musicians keen to tow the party line included the pianist Denis Matsuev, violist Yuri Bashmet, conductor Vadim Spivakov, A. Sokolov – director of the Moscow Conservatorium. Head of the Bolshoi Vladimir Urin and the filmmaker Fyodor Bondarchuk were also prominent on the list of names.

In the first retaliatory fallout, the Lviv Conservatorium, one of the Ukraine’s premiere...