Yuri Temirkanov
Photo: IMG Artists

When the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, under the direction of conductor Yuri Temirkanov, will be performing in San Francisco on March 3, Gays Without Borders, LGBT & Feminist Activists will organize a solidarity vigil outside Davies Hall where the concert will take place. This will be another protest against homophobic laws in Russia and a solidarity manifest towards the Pussy Riot musicians. The organizers say: « After months of escalating violence and stigmatization of LGBT people in Russia, and the beating of Pussy Riot performers during the Olympics, it is crucial that we use cultural visits to send a message of hope and tolerance. »

Conductor Temirkanov was one of the Putin 500 Trustees, a group of prominent Russians who endorsed Vladimir Putin’s 2012 reelection bid. On December 14, 2013, he was honored at a gala concert and 75th birthday party by Putin in St. Petersburg, according to the Kremlin’s Presidential Press and Information Service which also circulated photos from the ceremonies.

Therefore, the San Francisco protesters say: « Temirkanov and the visit by the government-funded St. Petersburg Philharmonic are the perfect cultural figure and musical performance to communicate a message to Putin and all of Russia: We refuse to be silent as our brothers and sisters are denied free speech, the right to publicly assemble and full protection of their universal human rights. »


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