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Russian conductor Gergiev expelled from Swedish academy over Ukraine

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev has been expelled from his position as a foreign member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music for his reluctance to condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine, the academy said Thursday.

The academy, which cited his relationship with the Kremlin and Russian president Vladimir Putin, said it had demanded Gergiev take a stand against the invasion.

“Through his close ties with the Russian government which today is attacking Ukraine, we find that he has acted in a way that we cannot afford not to distance ourselves from,” Susanna Ryden, president of the academy told AFP.

“This is unacceptable and not something the Academy can be associated with,” she added.

A member since 2011, Gergiev had an honorary position within the prestigious Scandinavian institution, which is one of the ten Swedish royal academies in, like the academies responsible for designating Nobel Prize winners. 

The Russian conductor had already been declared persona non grata by European concert halls, in Germany where he had been dismissed from directing the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as in France and Italy. 

La Scala in Milan also barred Gergiev from performances of an opera by Tchaikovsky.

Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, several cultural institutions have started barring Russian artists. 

In the world of classical music, superstar soprano Anna Netrebko withdrew from the Metropolitan Opera in New York after refusing repudiate her support of Putin.

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