Russia’s culture minister Vladimir Medinsky on Sunday fired the director of a Siberian theater. Boris Mezdrich as director of the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theater had committed the sin of staging Wagner’s opera “Tannhauser” which offended the powerful Russian Orthodox Church. It is the latest example of the rollback on free speech under the Putin regime.
Orthodox Christians protested the production in Siberia as offensive to the Orthodox Christianity and reflecting the values of a decadent West. They appropriately waived pictures of President Vladimir Putin who, as we have previously discussed, made the Church a major ally in his consolidation of power.
The modern production of “Tannhauser” has been defended by Russian artists and intellectuals, but Putin’s government has shown little patience or interest in artistic or political freedom.
Medinsky replaced Mezdrich with Vladimir Kekhman, director of the Mikhailovsky Theater in St. Petersburg.