Russian conductor, and Putin ally, Valery Gergiev will be performing at Carnegie Hall in New York City on Thursday, October 10, 2013.
Unfortunately for Mr. Gergiev, he’s going to be getting a grand old queer welcome from Queer Nation NY.
Queer Nation, among others, is protesting Putin allies as they visit the United States, in order to highlight Russian President Vladimir Putin’s draconian crackdown against gay and trans people in Russia.
Thursday’s protest against Gergiev comes on the heels of a similar Queer Nation protest at the Metropolitan Opera’s opening night gala on September 23, which included a number of performers who were top Putin supporters, and was led by Gergiev.
As you may know, this past summer Russia passed legislation making it basically illegal to be openly gay, or openly supportive of gay people, in the country.
International outrage against the new law was swift, quickly embroiling the 2014 Winter Olympics, taking place in Sochi, Russia, as numerous top Russians said Olympic athletes would be arrested if they broke the anti-gay law.
The last time Queer Nation protested Gergiev, there were demonstrators hidden in the audience and the performance was delayed as a result. Who knows what will happen on Thursday?
The protest will take place on October 10, 2013, at 630pm at Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and Seventh Avenue, New York City. More information on Queer Nation’s Facebook page, and here is their press release on the protest:
QUEER NATION TO PROTEST AT CARNEGIE HALL
LGBT Rights Group Again Targets Conductor Linked to Putin
New York, NY (October 9, 2013) — In the latest in a series of high-profile protests against the Russian government’s anti-gay laws, Queer Nation will stage a demonstration at Carnegie Hall on October 10. The target of the protest is world-renowned conductor Valery Gergiev, an ardent supporter of Russian president Vladimir Putin. Gergiev will be at Carnegie Hall to conduct the performance by the Russian Mariinsky Orchestra. Queer Nation is demanding that Carnegie Hall oppose the Russian government’s continuing attacks on LGBT Russians.
The protest will take place on Thursday, October 10 at 6:30 PM in front of Carnegie Hall on West 57th Street.
The demonstration at Carnegie Hall follows a recent action by Queer Nation during the Metropolitan Opera’s Opening Night Gala at Lincoln Center on September 23, where Gergiev conducted Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Protesters inside the Met delayed the start of the night’s program, while protestors outside held signs and a giant rainbow flag banner to demand that the Russian government repeal their anti-gay laws. Gergiev led that performance as well.
Gergiev, the artistic and general director at the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, is a longtime Putin friend. Gergiev has been honored by the Russian government and by the Russian Orthodox Church, both of which championed Russia’s anti-gay laws. Gergiev campaigned for Putin in 2012. The Mariinsky Theatre has received hundreds of millions of rubles from the Russian government. In an October 8 interview with RIA Novosti, Gergiev refused to discuss these laws.
“Gergiev’s support for Putin is approval for the Russian government’s ongoing bigotry against LGBT Russians,” said Alan Klein, a member of Queer Nation, a LGBT rights group. “We protested loudly and clearly at the Met on September 23, but Gergiev’s refusal to speak out against these anti-gay laws allows hatred and violence to continue against LGBT Russians.”
On October 4, Queer Nation wrote to Clive Gillinson, Carnegie Hall’s executive and artistic director, asking that Carnegie Hall condemn the Russian government’s attacks on LGBT Russians. As of today, Carnegie Hall has not responded.
In June, the Russian government enacted legislation that effectively bans any pro-LGBT statement in public or private and on the Internet. In July, a law took effect banning adoptions of Russian children by people from any jurisdiction that allows same sex marriage. Currently, the Russian parliament is considering legislation that would remove children from any Russian household that is headed by a gay or lesbian parent.
Queer Nation is a direct action group dedicated to ending discrimination, violence and repression against the LGBT community. Website: www.queernationny.org. Twitter: @QueerNationNY. Facebook.com/qn.newyork.
Here’s Gergiev’s campaign commercial on behalf of Putin last year: