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Russian conductor to give concert in Ossetia

Latest update : 2008-08-20

Valery Gergiev, a Russian conductor with family roots in South Ossetia, will give a concert on the main square of Tskhinvali, the Ossetian capital, in protest of the initial bombing of the region by Georgia.

Russian conductor Valery Gergiev will give a major outdoor concert on Thursday in the capital of Georgia's Moscow-backed rebel region of South Ossetia, Saint Petersburg authorities said.

Gergiev, who is principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and general director of Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre, will lead a concert in Tskhinvali, "in front of the South Ossetian parliament building destroyed by bombardments," Saint Petersburg city council said in a statement.

Gergiev has family origins in South Ossetia and has spoken in support of Russia's military assault on Georgia, arguing it was needed to avert further loss of life among the South Ossetian population.

Tskhinvali has been preparing for a major public event on Thursday to demonstrate "support for South Ossetia," Russian officials in the region told AFP on Wednesday.

Amid speculation that Russia could recognize two rebel Georgian provinces, the speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament on Wednesday said the chamber was ready to offer them recognition, Interfax reported.

On August 14 Gergiev lambasted Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili on Britain's BBC radio, saying "the president of Georgia had no right to order his army to go and crush and use Grad missiles against peaceful civilians. That was a big... mistake of his life."

Gergiev is also principal conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of New York's Metropolitan Opera.

Date created : 2008-08-20