'Greatest of her generation' Russian ballerina flees to Netherlands after denouncing Putin


Ms Smirnova was a star with the Russian Bolshoi Ballet and has been called “one of the greatest dancers of her generation”, according to The Telegraph. Now she will be dancing with the Dutch National Ballet after her six years at the Bolshoi came to an abrupt end with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She is one of the most famous performers to leave Russia due to the war in Ukraine.

Posting on messaging app Telegram last month, Ms Smirnova said she was “ashamed” of her country.

She wrote: “I have to be honest and say that I am against war with all the fibres of my soul.

“It is not only about every other Russian perhaps having relatives or friends living in Ukraine, or about my grandfather being Ukrainian and me being quarter Ukrainian.

“I have always been proud of talented Russian people, of our cultural and athletic achievements.

“But now I feel that a line has been drawn that separates the before and the after.”

The Dutch National Ballet said in a statement that Russia’s actions were “making it untenable for her to work in her native country [while] Russia’s ties with the artistic community – which are so essential to the ballet world – have been substantially cut due to the conflict in Ukraine”.

READ MORE: Putin’s second army formed of foreign troops as first wave ‘struggles’

Rapper Oxxxymiron posted a video on Instagram brazenly denouncing the war, saying “I know that most Russians are against this war.

“I believe that the more people will speak about their real opinion on this war, the faster we will be able to stop this nightmare.”

Tennis player Andrey Rublev wrote “no war please” on a camera while it was filming on live TV after winning a match.

Vladimir Putin has signed a law punishing anyone who shares “false information” about Ukraine with up to 15 years in prison.


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