President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Ladies and gentlemen, friends,
These are the closing days of the 15th Moscow Easter Festival, a major music forum that, without exaggeration, has become a prominent cultural landmark of our country and a notable event in Russian society.
Today’s concert of the renowned Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra is only part of a large, diverse and extensive festival programme, which is unique in many respects.
It features famous groups, stars of the world musical stage, and winners of the Tchaikovsky International Music Competition. The festival has included symphony, choir and chamber music concerts in several dozen cities of our vast country. There were concerts of sacred music as well, and the best bell-ringers of Russia and other countries showcased their art.
In keeping with tradition, the festival is blessed by Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia. It carries a profound moral message, and includes an entire constellation of philanthropic and educational initiatives to acquaint as many of our compatriots – seniors, children and young people – with the greatest treasures and traditions of Russian and world culture.
I thank the organisers and participants of the Easter Festival from the bottom of my heart for the exquisite feast of music you put on every year for hundreds of thousands of art lovers throughout Russia.
Deserving special gratitude, of course, is Maestro Valery Gergiev, the main inspiration behind this project, whose boundless talent, creative drive and phenomenal – I repeat, phenomenal – work ethic have breathed life into many outstanding and important initiatives.
The excellent concert of the Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra in Palmyra after its liberation from terrorists was a genuine call for peace, unity and concord. It generated an unheard-of emotional response all over the world as a powerful symbol of hope and the victory of civilisation over barbarity, of culture and creativity over chaos and destruction. All performers displayed their best creative abilities and the utmost courage: We all follow the developments round Palmyra and know that hostilities are still on there.
The musicians paid tribute to the memory of those who fell at the hands of terrorists in the battle against that monstrous threat, proving that the ideals of good, justice and humanism retain their eternal value.
The Moscow Easter Festival is doubtless a striking expression of this value.
Once again, I thank Maestro Gergiev, the musicians of the Mariinsky Orchestra and all festival participants. I offer you my best wishes. Thank you again for all that you do. I wish you every success.