Prime Minister Vladimir Putin attends the opening of a monument to Mstislav Rostropovich at the intersection of Bryusov Pereulok and Yeliseyevsky Pereulok in central Moscow
29 march 2012
Vladimir Putin’s speech:
Dear Ms Vishnevskaya, dear friends, we are attending a very important event today. A few days ago, Mstislav Rostropovich would have turned 85. I remember how we celebrated his 80th birthday in the Kremlin. He was ill and did not feel well, yet as always – this is really true – Rostropovich was in a good mood, making jokes and was happy. I am proud that I knew him. I cannot say that we were friends, but we did have a very good relationship. His friends know that when he wanted to become closer to you, to make friends with you, he would whisper in your year. Well, I can tell you that he whispered in my ear.
He was a musical genius of the 20th century, a man his country is rightly proud of. Moreover, he was not only a brilliant musician but also an outstanding humanitarian and simply a wonderful person. His heart felt for other people and this is why he was actively involved in charity work and devoted himself so wholeheartedly to his students and colleagues. I know this not from hearsay, but directly from those who worked with him and are now proud, just as I am, that they knew him.
Dear Ms Vishnevskaya, I know that you have an idea for a Rostropovich and Vishnevskaya Cultural Heritage Centre in Moscow. You were not just the woman he loved, his wife, but also his partner and life companion. I can assure you that we will do our utmost to help implement your wonderful idea, just as the Moscow authorities have done by supporting the idea of a monument to Rostropovich – my personal regards to the Moscow mayor. I think this is a wonderful monument. It will make a beautiful addition to the city, especially since the site for it was chosen next to the Conservatory and the house where Rostropovich lived. I would like to thank the monument’s architect and all those who have contributed to this wonderful project. Today we are remembering a great artist and citizen. It is a good day, a bright day. Please, accept my congratulations.