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Why Anna Netrebko is not "part of the Putin system".

A few days ago, WELT published an article entitled: "Vladimir Putin and Operation Netrebko".

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Why Anna Netrebko is not "part of the Putin system".

A few days ago, WELT published an article entitled: "Vladimir Putin and Operation Netrebko". It comes from Oleksandr Tkachenko, the Minister of Culture of Ukraine. Apart from the fact that, although the headline suggests otherwise, the text is only about the opera singer Anna Netrebko in two places, as Ms. Netrebko's manager I would like to comment on the article. Because it contains a statement that is malicious and slanderous and that we cannot let stand in the room.

It reads: “Anna Netrebko is part of the Putin system. You shouldn't give her a stage, a boycott would be the appropriate reaction."

While Mr Tkachenko explains why another Russian artist, singer Philip Kirkorov, appears to have been boycotted, he does not provide any evidence to support his claim about Anna Netrebko, nor does he justify his call for the cancellation of both of her planned performances at the Wiesbaden International May Festival. Incidentally, performances that were sold out in less than 24 hours.

The truth is: Anna Netrebko is not "part of the Putin system" and never has been. She issued a statement on March 30, 2022, highlighting the extent of her — narrow — relationship with the Russian government (essentially a few national awards and a handful of post-performance encounters). She also addressed the subject in two newspaper interviews. Anna Netrebko continues to be one of the best opera singers in the world, and that is the focus of her life alongside her family. Not the politics.

On other occasions (e.g. in an interview with the French television channel BFM), Mr. Tkachenko has repeatedly used (and sometimes embarrassingly distorted) a wide variety of information to support his allegations. And all sorts of Ukrainian ambassadors and consuls have written corresponding letters to cultural institutions and politicians across Europe.

However, an intensive analysis of all these claims clearly shows that none of the arguments presented, either individually or in their entirety, justify the claim that Anna Netrebko is “part of the Putin system”.

Nor do they justify the incessant and unprovoked attacks by individuals behind an entire government against a female private individual holding a second citizenship in a Member State of the European Union. To date, the Ukrainian government has not provided any comprehensible legal reason why Anna Netrebko's name appears alongside 118 others in its sanctions decision of January 7, 2023.

The assumption is that these and other actions are only intended to exploit Anna Netrebko's popularity in order to draw media attention to their own cause.

The author is the general manager of the Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko.

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