Turns out the great Russian conductor Valery Gergiev is Ossetian and, having made his career in St. Petersburg, a friend of Putin’s. He took his Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre to Tskhinvali last night and conducted the Shostakovich 7th Symphony in an outdoor concert to commemorate “victims of Georgian aggression.”
Here‘s a column I wrote on Gergiev and Shostakovich a few years ago. Frankly I’m heartsick at the conductor’s decision to insert himself into this story on what, to me, seems the aggressor’s side. But it has almost always been true that where you stand depends on where you sit, and an Ossetian from St. Petersburg would probably see things differently. Sigh.