The Russian pianist Boris Berezovsky has been dropped by his talent manager following an appearance on a state-television talk show, during which he charged the West with provoking Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and suggested that Russian forces cut off electricity to Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital.
The management firm, which had represented Berezovsky for nearly 20 years, issued a statement condemning those remarks by the pianist, whom it called a “gifted artist and paradoxical individual.”
Berezovsky has made several attempts to extricate himself. In the latest, he wrote to the English music journalist Norman Lebrecht, citing, among others, John Mearsheimer, a University of Chicago political scientist who has advocated a “realist” geopolitical strategy on Russia and opposed NATO membership for former Soviet states. Isaac Chotiner, writing in The New Yorker, quoted Mearsheimer as saying, after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, that “the United States and its European allies share most of the responsibility for this crisis.”
The pianist’s note to Lebrecht:
“ ‘When the guns are booming, the muses remain silent.’ I should have followed this wise adage,” Berezovsky writes. Three weeks ago, that might have been a plausible, self-protective response. Today, fairly or not, silence is widely interpreted as acquiescence. And now that Putin is calling Russians who oppose his war “scum and traitors,” silence may not be an option for much longer.