Ballet dancer

Ballet dancer who defected from the Soviet Union Mikhail Baryshnikov slams Putin in open letter

Mikhail Baryshnikov, one of the world’s most famous ballet dancers who left the Soviet Union for the West in 1976, said true Russian values ​​will endure despite Putin

Mikhail Baryshnikov, the ballet dancer who left the Soviet Union for the West, said Putin’s Russia “will die of its fears” in an open letter to the president.

The dancer and artistic director criticized Russia’s “world of fear” and said that true Russian values ​​will endure “despite all your prohibitions”.

“People like us have done more honor to the Russian world than all your not-very-accurate precision-guided munitions,” the iconic dancer, who defected to Canada in 1974, said in the letter.

“Your Russian world, the world of fear, the world in which they burn Ukrainian textbooks, will not live as long as there are people like us – the real Russians immune to this plague in our childhood,” he said. -he adds.

“And our world will go on living despite all your prohibitions,” said Baryshnikov, 74, born in Latvia to Russian parents.

Baryshnikov, one of the most famous contemporary dancers in the world, was granted Latvian citizenship for his extraordinary merits in 2017.

Mikhail Baryshnikov wrote an open letter to Putin, saying:

Mikhail Baryshnikov wrote an open letter to Putin, saying, “People like us have done more honor to the Russian world than all your not very accurate precision-guided munitions”. Baryshnikov launched a fundraising charity for Ukraine called “True Russia” in March, the website is blocked in Russia

The dancer and TV star wrote to Putin:

The dancer and TV star wrote to Putin: “Your Russian world, the world of fear, the world in which they burn Ukrainian textbooks, will not live as long as there are people like us – the real Russians immune to this scourge in our childhood’

Speaking of his upbringing in Latvia, then part of the Soviet Union, he wrote: “As before, when in my childhood your thin-necked predecessors assigned me, the son of a Russian officer in Latvia, the role of occupant, it didn’t stick.

“I learned Latvian, and since the age of 26, having forever rejected the roles assigned by your teachers, I have lived as a person of the free world for almost half a century!

Along with detective novel writer Boris Akunin and prominent economist Sergei Guriev, Baryshnikov in March launched a fundraising charity for Ukraine called “True Russia”.

Baryshnikov posted the letter after Moscow blocked the True Russia website last month.

The project has already raised more than 1.2 million euros.

Baryshnikov was 26 in 1976 when he finished a performance with the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad in Toronto, escaped his KGB handlers and disappeared into the crowd outside.

The dancer had secretly arranged the defection through friends, running to a getaway car outside the theatre.

Baryshnikov was 26 in 1976 when he finished a performance with the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad in Toronto, escaped his KGB handlers and disappeared into the crowd outside.

Baryshnikov was 26 in 1976 when he finished a performance with the Kirov Ballet of Leningrad in Toronto, escaped his KGB handlers and disappeared into the crowd outside.

Baryshnikov, right, is pictured in action with Patricia McBride.  The dancer maintained that his defection was an artistic choice, not a political one

Baryshnikov, right, is pictured in action with Patricia McBride. The dancer maintained that his defection was an artistic choice, not a political one

He hid from publicity until he was officially granted political asylum in Canada, later receiving asylum from the United States.

“The fans are waiting for me outside the stage door, and I come out and start running, and they start running after me for an autograph,” he told People’s Magazine. “They were laughing, I was running for my life. It was a very moving moment, I tell you.

The dancer maintained that his defection was an artistic choice, not a political one.

“When I was in Toronto, I finally decided that if I passed up the opportunity to expand my art out west, it would always haunt me,” he said.

After dancing with the American Ballet Theatre, he joined the New York City Ballet as a principal dancer, where he later became artistic director.

He has starred in several films and landed a recurring role on the final season of Sex in the City.