Yuri Bashment Reiterates Support for President Putin, Calls Russians Best Musicians in the World

By Francisco Salazar

Russian Violist and conductor Yuri Bashmet is reiterating his full support for President Vladimir Putin.

After receiving the “Hero of Labour” award by the President on June 12, Russia Day, the renowned musician gave an interview with AiF in Russia and said, “I love and respect our president and love my country very much – this is my position.”

He added, “You can do whatever you want with me, but I’m not interested in anything abroad, I’ve already played thousands of times there. They paid me and respected me for the fact that, having won back, I left. They respected that I have my home – I didn’t even think of staying there. So even if all the concerts stopped, God forbid, I have something to do.”

He also spoke about the “Russian Boycott” and said, “It will flourish. It’s their level there that will drop – immediately and noticeably. Because we, Russian musicians, have always been the best. Not grains of sand in the general mass, no. We were the Gagarins there, in their world of classical music. A holy place is never empty, and the concert life will continue there anyway. But, excuse me, among those performers who will take the stage at La Scala or Carnegie Hall, there will not be me and my other colleagues, whose names are not an empty phrase for a Western listener. Yes, I admit: there are good musicians and worthy concert halls there. And what did they do with Tchaikovsky by banning the performance of his music? Whom did they want to hurt, idiots? It’s like cutting your own heart out. The place where love lives, cut off and say: ‘I don’t need this love anymore.'”

Bashmet has been an advocate for Putin for many years and in March 2014 he signed a letter in support of the position of the President on Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine. He was later stripped of his title as honorary professor at the Lviv National Music Academy.

Over the past months, he has performed with such artists as Ildar Abdrazakov and Sergey Romanovsky.