Why is a New York non-profit taking a top Putin propaganda artist to Seoul? – Сyprus Daily News

Russian conductor and violinist Vladimir Spivakov has been invited to perform at the Classical Bridge International Music Festival in Seoul. The festival is organized by New York Concert Artists & Associates and International Classical Music Management. Vladimir Spivakov’s performance will take place at Lotte Concert Hall on May 8, 2024.

Arts Against Aggression sent this letter to LOTTE Concert Hall CEO Kim Hyun Dae, asking him to reconsider the decision to give the stage to Putin propagandist Vladimir Spivakov. We didn’t get any response yet.

Arts Against Aggression contacted Clara Yoo Kyung Min, who is the artistic director of New York Concert Artists & Associates, and informed her that activists of Arts Against Aggression «has been protesting Spivakov since 2014, when he signed a letter supporting the annexation of Crimea and aggression against Ukraine. Vladimir Spivakov is one of Vladimir Putin’s closest and most loyal supporters and allies. There are countless articles, photos, videos, speeches, and statements that closely link Spivakov to Putin.»

In response, Klara Yu Kyoung Min sent this message: “But he signed a letter AGAINST the war in 2022, correct? Regardless, we are also against the Russians attacking Ukraine…I don’t believe that Spivakov supports Putin. He is against the war. Who is not?”

Then Klara Yu Kyoung Min blocked Arts Against Aggression on Facebook.

On February 26, 2022 Vladimir Spivakov did sign an «anti-war» statement that literally said: «We call on all those on whom it depends, all parties to the conflict, to stop the hostilities, and to come to the negotiating table”. This statement does not condemn Putin, does not call Russia the aggressor, and in fact equates the aggressor with the victim. Vladimir Putin has also repeatedly stated that he is ready for negotiations, but on Russia’s terms.

It is critically important to Putin’s propaganda that Russian artists continue to perform in democratic countries to create the illusion that Russia is not an international pariah and that nothing has changed since Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine. The cancellation in the West of Russian propaganda artists Valery Gergiev, Anna Netrebko, Denis Matsuev, Igor Butman, and many others, came as a shock to Russian propaganda. This is why Russian artists especially close to the Kremlin were allowed to make dosed «anti-war» statements in order to be able to continue touring in the West. Only touring artists who agreed to accept the authorities’ conditions were allowed to do so. Those who made anti-war statements sincerely were simply fired. After February 24, 2022, «more than 30 people — general managers, artistic directors, and conductors — were stripped of their management positions in Russian theaters for their anti-war stance,» the BBC reported.

When such statements were made by ordinary citizens, much harsher repressions immediately followed. According to OVD-Info, from February 24, 2022 to February 14, 2024, 19,855 people were detained for their anti-war stance in Russia, 920 criminal cases were opened against anti-war dissidents, and at least 267 defendants were imprisoned as of February 20, 2024.

Now let’s look at how Vladimir Spivakov, who paid lip service to opposing the war, actually supported the Putin regime after February 24, 2022, and how that regime generously rewarded him.

In addition to directing two orchestras, Moscow International House of Music, the annual Moscow Music Festival «Vladimir Spivakov Invites», which are fully financed from the state budget, Vladimir Spivakov participates in propaganda events financed directly by the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives and sponsored by the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.

Here are just a few such events described on the Kremlin’s website http://kremlin.ru.

  • October 1, 2022 — Spivakov’s XIX International Festival «Moscow Meets Friends»

Children from the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine — the so-called «Donetsk People’s Republic» (DPR) and «Luhansk People’s Republic» (LNR) — were brought to the festival. The Kremlin website posted Vladimir Putin’s welcome telegram to the festival participants: «I am confident that this year’s festival will be a success, will bring bright colours to our country’s diverse cultural and social life and become a true festival for boys and girls who have come to Moscow from different regions of the country and the Donbass people’s republics.»

  • April 11, 2023 — Jubilee concert dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia.

The Kremlin website posted Vladimir Putin’s welcome telegram to the participants, organizers and guests: «Such success is largely the merit of your talented, friendly staff and, of course, of the founder and permanent head of the National Philharmonic Orchestra — the celebrated maestro Vladimir Theodorovich Spivakov.»

  • July 17, 2023 — Flag-raising ceremony

President Putin took part in the ceremony of raising the flags of the Russian Federation, the USSR and the Russian Empire in the Gulf of Finland.

Vladimir Putin watched the ceremony from the water — on board the yacht «Okhta».

The ceremony was accompanied by a festive concert on the stage of the large amphitheater of the Lakhta Center. The National Anthem of Russia was performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vladimir Spivakov.

Short YouTube Video: Putin on a yacht listening to Spivakov conducting the Russian national anthem: «Glory, country! We are proud of you!»

Full video  from the Kremlin website.

  • October 1, 2023 — Spivakov’s XX International Festival «Moscow Meets Friends».

The festival brought children from the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine: LNR, DNR, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions.

(Back on March 17, 2023, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin for war crimes in the form of illegal deportation of children from the occupied territories of Ukraine to Russia. So Vladimir Spivakov is a direct accomplice to Putin’s war crimes.)

The Kremlin website posted Vladimir Putin’s welcome telegram to the participants, organizers and guests of the XX International Festival «Moscow Meets Friends»:  «Thanks to the enthusiasm and care of many different people and, above all, the inexhaustible energy of the outstanding Russian musician Vladimir Spivakov, it serves an important and noble goal: supporting gifted children across Russia.«

Spivakov’s website reported that children from 395 cities and towns in Russia, including those from the occupied territories of Ukraine: LNR, DNR, Kherson and Zaporozhye regions, performed at the Festival.

  • Participation in Putin’s re-election campaign

Vladimir Spivakov actively participated in the presidential campaign, the results of which were predetermined, and which were supposed to give Putin legitimacy and a mandate to continue the full-scale war in Ukraine. The U.S. and EU judged these elections to be unfree and unfair.

On Election Day, March 17, 2024, Vladimir Spivakov came to the so-called Public Headquarters for Election Observation and gave an interview to state media, in which he told why it is very important to vote in the elections: «When they tell you that the West is full of democracy, it’s a big question. For example, they took away my Stradivarius violin because I stayed in Russia [did not flee Russia like real ant-war artists]. You need to decide for yourself where you are and who you are with.»

  • The Presidential Council for Culture and the Arts of the Russian Federation.

Vladimir Spivakov is a member of the Presidential Council along with Putin’s top propaganda artists: conductor Valery Gergiev, pianist Denis Matsuev and ballerina Svetlana Zakharova.

  • Generous rewards for loyalty and participation in propaganda activities

Before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Spivakov was top-paid cultural figure in Russia. In 2021 Spivakov earned 158.3 million rubles (about $2.15 million) according to information posted on the website of the Ministry of Culture on May 24, 2022.

On December 29, 2022, Vladimir Putin signed a decree canceling the mandatory publication of declarations of income, expenses and property of top government officials for the duration of the so-called “special military operation” (war) in Ukraine.

However, we have been able to track down some of Vladimir Spivakov’s government contracts, which show that the Russian state continues to pay generously for Vladimir Spivakov’s loyalty and propaganda efforts.

Contracts at our disposal show that since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Spivakov has received for his projects about 35 million rubles from the state budget and more than 22 million rubles directly from the Presidential Foundation for Cultural Initiatives, established on the eve of the war in Ukraine to finance the most important propaganda projects.

Here’s an example of funding from the Presidential Foundation for Cultural Initiatives:

Projects to promote traditional spiritual and moral values of the “Russkiy Mir” through culture


Popularization and preservation of the all-Russian cultural identity, counteraction to the phenomenon of «cancel culture»


One can only guess why the American non-profit organization New York Concert Artists & Associate invited Putin’s propaganda musician Vladimir Spivakov to the Classical Bridge International Music Festival in Seoul, and not Ukrainian artists from the theaters destroyed by Russia, or Russian artists who lost their jobs because of their anti-war stances.

If Spivakov’s performance in Seoul takes place, it will be an invaluable gift to Russian propaganda and will be used as evidence of global support for Russian foreign (and domestic) policy.

Arts Against Aggression

Latest news
Related news