The Russian Ministry of Culture has said that the letter sent to Vladimir Putin by the staff of the Vaganova Academy, asking for the removal of Nikolai Tsiskaridze as its director, is a forgery.
The letter said that the announced removal of the director Vera Dorofeyeva, and the artistic director, Altynai Asylmuratova, would cause “irreparable damage” to the institution but interrupting the continuity of tradition. It finished by saying that it was a “criminal decision”. Attached were the signatures of more than 100 representatives of the Vaganova Academy and the neighbouring Mariinsky Theatre.
The Ministry conducted a straw poll check on the signatories – reports Izvestia – finding that 32 of them had not signed the letter, and their names had been added by another.
The Deputy Culture Minister, Gregory Ivliev, said that those who had signed the letter had signed one that was substantially different from the one that was sent, “…in particular, the requirement to cancel the appointment of Nikolai Tsiskaridze, acting Director of the Academy”.
The Ministry of Culture told Izvestia that no further action will be taken by the Department of Culture of the Russian government.
First Soloist at the Mariinsky Ballet, Ilya Kuznetsov, said,
People who work in the academy are very scared… Of course they will say that the signature is not theirs. Many teachers are approaching retirement age, and know that if they lose their jobs, they won't be able to work elsewhere. I know that the letter was signed in the presence of others, so I do not believe that the collection of signatures was conducted unfairly.
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano') about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman's Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia' column for Dancing Times magazine.
The Culture Ministry would say that, wouldn’t they?