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Russian opera singer criticized in Austria for helping opera theater in eastern Ukraine

December 09, 2014, 21:05 UTC+3 VIENNA
Anna Netrebko donated almost $19,000 to a theater in Ukraine's war-torn east
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Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko (right) and leader of Novorossiya, a union of eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics

Russian opera singer Anna Netrebko (right) and leader of Novorossiya, a union of eastern Ukraine's self-proclaimed republics

© EPA/STRINGER

VIENNA, December 9. /TASS/. World-acclaimed Russian opera singer, soloist of the St. Petersburg-based Mariinsky Theater, Anna Netrebko, who has double Russian-Austrian citizenship, has come under severe criticism in Austria for taking part in a charity action to help an opera and ballet theater in the war-gripped east Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

The charity action took place on December 7 in Russia’s second largest city of St. Petersburg. The diva donated a one-million-ruble ($18,980) certificate from her personal incomes to Donetsk’s Anatoly Solovyanenko National Opera and Ballet Theatre. “I have friends, young musicians in Donetsk. They told me how they are living under bombs but never stop coming to the conservatory for rehearsals. I am not a politician, I just wanted to extend a helping hand to Donetsk,” Netrebko told TASS.

Apart from that, Austrian mass media and a number of official agencies criticized Netrebko for being photographed on the background of a Novorossiya (the name refers to the union of the two self-proclaimed republics of eastern Ukraine - TASS) flag. “Such photos can be used in propaganda purposes,” a representative of the Austrian foreign ministry said.

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