Russia: Pro-Putin conductor denies further allegations that he supports anti-gay law

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A famed Russian conductor has again defended himself against criticism for not speaking out against legislation banning the promotion of homosexuality to minors.

Valery Gergiev, a star conductor and staunch supporter of Russian President Vladimir Putin made the assertions in a letter written to the Munich authorities that he was “hurt” by allegations that he supported the law.

He wrote to pledge his respect for gay rights, in particular the Germany city’s anti-discrimination laws.

Mr Gergiev is due to become the chief conductor of the Philharmonic in Munich in 2015.

“For the city of Munich it applies that any exclusion, discrimination or harassment of people because of their gender, origin, colour, religion, disability or sexual orientation must not occur. Ways of behaviour that contradict these principles will not be tolerated,” he wrote.

“I fully support this attitude of the city of Munich. In my entire professional career as an artist I have always and everywhere adhered to these principles and will do so in the future. All other allegations hurt me very much,” he continued.

The composer also went on to say he would meet with members of the LGBT community in Munich to talk about his stance.

A protest was staged outside the composer’s concert on Wednesday evening.

Ahead of a protest outside his concert in central London last month he said: “It is wrong to suggest that I have ever supported anti-gay legislation”.

Also in November, Peter Tatchell attempted to disrupt the opening night of Gergiev’s concert by walking on stage and telling the audience: “Valery Gergiev is a friend, ally and supporter of the Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin, whose regime is arresting peaceful protesters and opposition leaders.

“Gergiev defends the new homophobic law that persecutes gay Russians. He sided with Putin against Pussy Riot. I ask you to oppose tyranny and show your support for the Russian people.”

According to the classical music blog Orpheus Complex, in September, Gergiev spoke to the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant and gave a robust defence of Russia’s anti-gay laws.

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