Russian Pianist Osetinskaya Latest Artist Facing Canceled Concerts For Anti-War Views


Russian classical pianist Polina Osetinskaya had another concert canceled in her home country after she spoke out against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Osetinskaya did not perform as scheduled at a musical festival in Irkutsk in Eastern Siberia on September 9, her second concert canceled within a week.

Tatyana Mezentseva, who oversaw the Irkutsk musical festival, told media that the pianist did not perform for health reasons, a common excuse given by organizers to explain the cancelation of concerts by anti-war artists.

Osetinskaya immediately took to social media to publicly criticize Russia's February 24 invasion of Ukraine, saying in an Instagram post that it was a "dark day" in the nation’s history.

She said she felt "horror, shame, and disgust."

Russia has been pressuring concert organizers to cancel the performances of artists who have spoken out against the war, a move that harks back to the prohibitions of musicians during Soviet times.

Osetinskaya's September 2 concert in St. Petersburg was canceled after the organizer was given a stark choice between removing the pianist from the lineup or canceling the entire evening’s musical event, Kommersant reported.

Russian media in July reported the existence of an unofficial list of 37 “banned Russian artists” who had either spoken out against the war or refused to publicly support it.

According to MTS Entertainment, up to 30 percent of Russian artists have either stopped performing at home or emigrated since the invasion began.

Osetinskaya, 46, began to play the piano at the age of 5, while at the age of 6 she gave her first recital at the Vilnius Philharmonic and at the age of 8 she made her debut with the Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra under Saulius Sondeckis.

Her 2008 autobiography Farewell, Sadness! became a best seller in Russia.