TBILISI, DFWatch–A Russian theater in the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, which was supposed to be headed by the wife of a prominent Georgian opposition politician, has terminated its contract with her.
Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theater said the decision was provoked by the fact that former Bolshoi prima ballerina Nino Ananiashvili made a premature public announcement about the contract, which the theater’s management considered “disrespectful.”
“The management of the theater deems that revealing the name of the director prior to the official introduction to the troupe is the highest degree of disrespect towards the artists,” the theater’s press service said in a statement.
Nino Ananiashvili is wife of Grigol Vashadze, former head of Georgia’s largest opposition party, the United National Movement, who left his post a few weeks ago due to disagreement with the party on “strategic and tactical” issues.
For the UNM, which is known for its strongly anti-Russian rhetoric, the news of the appointment of its former leader’s wife in Russia has created great inconvenience and misunderstanding. The situation is aggravated by the fact that Nino Ananiashvili and Grigol Vashadze are close friends of the UNM leader and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili and his family. Moreover, Ananiashvili is the godmother of Saakashvili’s youngest son, Nikoloz, which indicates a special closeness in Georgia. Nikoloz Saakashvili was baptized in 2006 in Tbilisi Cathedral by Nino Ananiashvili and former President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko.
Commenting on Ananiashvili’s appointment in Russia, Mikheil Saakashvili said it was her personal choice, but added that “there is no justification for this.”
Ananiashvili herself said the issue shouldn’t be related to politics.
“I think arts should not be so politicized. We also had a war with Germany and thousands of our citizens were killed, but that does not mean we are not friends with them today,” Nino Ananiashvili told RFE/RL.