Pianist Valentina Lisitsa plays in the ruins of Mariupol, “liberated” by the Russians

The pro-Putin Ukrainian performed in the occupied city on the occasion of the May 9 celebrations, performing tunes from the Soviet repertoire for the “liberated” residents.

In 1989, Mstislav Rostropovitch went to play at the foot of the Berlin Wall to celebrate its fall. Thirty years later, a piano and war hymns have replaced the Suites for solo cello of Bach. Invited by the authorities of the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR)the Ukrainian pianist Valentina Lisitsa occurred on May 9 in Mariupol, on the occasion of the Russian celebrations of the victory day commemorating the end of the Second World War.

A video posted on Russian social networks shows the pianist playing outside, surrounded by a cluster of people with whom she happily sings a Soviet song from the Great Patriotic War, as the world conflict in Russia is nicknamed. It would be one of the five performances given in Mariupol on May 9 and 10 by Valentina Lisitsa. These semi-impromptu concerts were organized at different points of the city by several DPR youth associations, the Russian news agency Regnum reported.

“I consider it my duty at this difficult time to stand with the liberated people of MariupolValentina Lisitsa said on May 9, a few days after a concert organized in Moscow, reports the Regnum agency. Residents are no longer afraid to pay homage to their ancestors and grandparents who liberated the world from fascism.” Guest of honor, the pianist took part in the various official celebrations organized in Mariupol by the DPR, alongside its president, Denis Pushilin. The festivities mixing Russian and Soviet symbols intended to stage the return of Mariupol to the bosom of Moscow. And this despite the continued bombing throughout the day of May 9, noted the foreign journalists present on the spot.

Long-standing support for separatists

Since 2014, Valentina Lisitsa has repeatedly supported the Donbas breakaway republics. She had thus denounced in 2015 the “atrocities” committed in Ukraine against Russian minorities. The artist performed four times in concert in Donetsk, before the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. She also flowered the grave ofAlexander Zakharchenkothe first president of the DPR, assassinated in August 2018.

Born in kyiv in 1973, Valentina Lisitsa moved to Florida in 1991, in the United States, to pursue her career as a pianist. The success of his interpretations of Chopin and of Rachmaninoff put online in 2007, ensures him an international reputation. They are among the first examples of viral music videos. The pianist notably performed on stage in Paris in 2014, Salle Pleyel, replacing Boris Berezovsky.

Besieged from the beginning of March by the Russian army, the port city of Mariupol was the subject of a harsh bombardment campaign as well as heavy urban fighting. Devastated, the city has been gradually taken over by the Russian and DPR authorities since the end of April. The last pocket of Ukrainian units, made up of about 1,000 fighters, has since withdrawn in the subterranean mazes of the Azovstal steelworks. Lacking a piano, or even a cello, a soldier of the Azov regiment besieged in the steel complex was content to make, on Sunday, an a cappella counterpoint to the strumming cavalcades of Valentina Lisitsa. By paying homage, between two distant bomb detonations, to Stefania, the Ukrainian title winner of the 2022 edition of Eurovision.


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Pianist Valentina Lisitsa plays in the ruins of Mariupol, “liberated” by the Russians


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