Thursday, 15 September 2016

Opposition in Russia - like playing blank piano keys

Russian opposition politician Wladimir Kara-Musra, who last year survived an assassination attempt by poison, is interviewed in today's Süddeutsche Zeitung about what motivates him to continue campaigning ahead of Sunday's elections. While state-controlled TV broadcasts ridiculous items smearing his reputation and his party, Open Russia, he tours around the country holding meetings and listening to people.

The keys to opposition
At the end of the interview, Kara-Mursa - a close friend of the tragically murdered opposition politician Boris Nemtsov - talks about Rudolf Kehrer, the child of a Swabian piano-maker who emigrated to Russia during World War Two. He'd already been awarded a place at the Moscow Conservatory when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Kehrer then spent 13 years in a camp, unable to play the piano.

"And so he painted the keys on a block of wood and practiced in silence," says Kara-Mursa. "When he was released after Stalin's death, he continued his studies and became a celebrated pianist, playing concerts everywhere.

"What we're doing with Open Russia, is exactly that: practicing on a block of wood with painted-on keys. At some point the day will come when we can take the stage."

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