Incoming Chief Conductor of the Munich Phil comes under attack for his support of Putin on Crimea.

A leading German newspaper has suggested that Valery Gergiev’s position as incoming Chief Conductor might become untenable following his signing of an open letter supporting the Russian President’s position on Ukraine and the Crimea.

The Abendzeitung-Münchencriticised Gergiev for holding “almost literally, the position of Putin.” Accepting that such statements fall under the heading of freedom of expression (in contrast to his defense of Putin’s anti gay laws), they go on to suggest that “if these were the conductor’s private utterances, there would be no formal objection. But: Is it wise to hold on to this principal conductor?”

“Gergiev sees himself as a cultural ambassador for Russia, he will not remain silent in the future. Putin’s policies will overshadow any of his [musical] performances until further notice. If the Russians suddenly want to ‘free’ their compatriots in Riga, he will certainly defend this as well as any other step of the President.”

The situation in Munich, which is twinned with Kiev and has a sizable Ukrainian population, is particularly sensitive. “When Valery Gergiev publically upports the Crimean politics of Putin,...