Russian orchestra plays in Palmyra

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
47,189
34,641
Toronto
#1
SOCHI, Russia (Reuters) - Russia's Mariinsky Theatre staged a surprise concert in the amphitheatre of the Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday, in what looked like an attempt by the Kremlin to win hearts and minds and remind the world of its role in the city's recapture.

The concert, held just over a month after Russian air strikes helped push Islamic State militants out of Palmyra, saw Valery Gergiev, a close associate of President Vladimir Putin, conduct the Mariinsky orchestra.

Sergei Roldugin, a cellist friend of Putin's named in the Panama Paper leaks as owning a network of offshore firms that have handled billions of dollars, also performed. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Putin, addressing the audience by video link from his Russian Black Sea residence of Sochi, called terrorism a contagion the world needed to rid itself of and said the fact the concert was taking place at all was "surprising".

"Today's action involved major inconvenience and dangers for everyone, being in a country at war close to where hostilities are still ongoing. That has demanded great strength and personal courage from you all. Thank you very much," said Putin.

Gergiev, a longtime Putin supporter, described the concert as a protest against the barbarism and violence exhibited by Islamic State militants who had destroyed parts of Palmyra and used the city's Roman amphitheatre to execute prisoners.

The event was made public just hours before it began. Russian and Syrian military personnel as well as locals could be seen in the audience.

Russian special forces called in air strikes in March to help the Syrian government retake the city and Russian engineers later demined the historic part of Palmyra. Moscow has said its experts are ready to help restore the city, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Thursday's concert had echoes of a performance conducted by Gergiev in August 2008, when the Mariinsky performed in front of the bombed-out parliament of the self-proclaimed Republic of South Ossetia after Russian forces defeated the Georgian army in a short war over the territory.

(Additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Andrew Roche)
Russian orchestra, Putin's friends, play Syria's Palmyra | Reuters

The 2008 concert must have been special to Gergiev, since he happens to be Ossetian himself...

Anyway, videos of the concert
[video=youtube;82t4GZ_0IFU]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=82t4GZ_0IFU[/video]
Another, with beautiful views of the ancient city: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMBut6JSk6s

Putin's address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ExN5SzR0Eg

Russians helped liberate this place


and later cleared explosives left over by ISIS


Tomorrow, May 6th, will take place the funeral for Aleksandr Prokhorenko, the brave Russian soldier who sacrificed himself when surrounded by ISIS near Palmyra, called an air strike on own position


http://politicalhotwire.com/current...trike-himself-kill-isis-terrorists-named.html

ISIS apparently had his body all this time, but recently, a Kurdish militia was able to recover him from them one way or another, and passed him back to his comrades, and today, Aleksandr was finally brought home to Orenburg: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pr7XhMLQc-8

Palmyra will make a nice new page in Russian military history, that's for sure.
 

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
47,189
34,641
Toronto
#6
Yes, they have destroyed so much already. Having a history degree I would love to visit this area one day to see the places I have studied.
Somehow, seeing ISIS blow up that ancient temple pissed me off more than all the people they've killed... Maybe that's wrong, I don't know...
 

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