16:32 GMT +314 November 2019
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    Today Russia stands for the immortal values of human civilization, including the Western one, The Saker writes.

    By providing crucial support to the Syrian Arab Army in Palmyra, Russia has saved not only the invaluable historical site and Syria's national dignity, but also human culture.

    "The recent Russian concert in Palmyra was an event loaded with symbolism.  While it was the Syrians who liberated this ancient city and while the Russian only provided support, this support was crucial and, moreover, it was not just Palmyra which Russia saved, but the Syrian nation.  I would even argue that Russians in Palmyra saved not just Syria, but all of civilization," The Saker, the pseudonym for the US-based top level European military analyst, notes in his latest article for TheDuran.com.

    St. Petersburg's Mariinsky Symphony Orchestra led by renowned Russian conduct Valery Gergiev performed classical music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Sergei Prokofiev and Rodion Shchedrin at Palmyra's Roman Theatre.

    According to British journalist and author Ed West, the performance "was of course a propaganda exercise."

    "…but what a propaganda exercise!" he added.

    "It fills me with genuine sadness that no Western power would ever think to pull such a stunt, and this reflects a deeper problem with our foreign policy," West underscored in his article for the Spectator.

    Perhaps, many are unaware of the fact that the Palmyra concert, that took place amid the ongoing war in Syria, is part of Russia's tradition which originated in the World War II era. Likewise, on August 9, 1942 Dmitri Shostakovich's famous Symphony No. 7 was performed  by the Leningrad Radio Orchestra in St. Petersburg (then Leningrad) while the city was under the siege by Nazi Germany military forces.

    During WWII St. Petersburg, one of the most beautiful Western-style Russian cities, sustained tremendous damage, while half a million victims of the Nazi siege died of hunger. Although the musicians of the Leningrad Radio Orchestra were weak and exhausted, the concert was highly successful. Interestingly enough, the symphony was also broadcast to the German front lines through loudspeakers, showing the Nazis that nothing could break the spirit of the people of Leningrad.

    It is rather symbolic, that since the late 18th century, St. Petersburg has been called the "Palmyra of the North." Thus it is not surprising that the Russians took the loss of Palmyra to heart.

    "For the people of St. Petersburg, the loss of Palmyra was a personal, emotional event, a tragedy. Palmyra means a great deal to us. It is not just a tourist destination but something deeply symbolic. The genius of Palmyra is like the genius of St. Petersburg, where architecture flows together with nature. At around the same time that Palmyra was discovered by European travellers, Peter the Great was building St. Petersburg," the Director of the Hermitage Museum Mikhail Piotrovsky said in his interview with Rachel Polonsky of Standpoint magazine.

    Just like during the WWII era, Russia is protecting high human values in Syria. However, it faces the cynical indifference of the West in the Middle East, according to The Saker.

    Western leaders have repeatedly blasted Russia for alleged attacks against the so-called "moderate Syrian rebels," providing at the same time modern TOW missiles to al-Qaeda-linked groups in the region. Furthermore, they called for the toppling of Syrian legitimate President Bashar al-Assad turning a deaf ear to warnings that it would mean surrender to Daesh and al-Qaeda in Syria.

    "I find it most significant that the concert did not begin with a piece by a Russian composer.  Instead the Russians chose to begin with a poignant piece by Johann Sebastian Bach… Bach as a 'weapon of civilization' is no less important in this context than SU-34 aircraft and cruise missiles are to the 'kinetic war' against terrorism. It is ironic that Russia, which never was really part of the 'Western world,' was the one to bring Bach to Palmyra," The Saker underscores.

    The deep symbolism of the Russian performance in Palmyra did not avert British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond from branding the concert as "a tasteless attempt" to distract attention from the continued fighting in Syria.

    "The West doesn't understand symbolism in foreign policy," as Ed West remarked in his article.

    "The Russians chose mankind's greatest composer and one of his greatest compositions to show, I believe, that mankind is not only about evil, horror, lies and murder, but that the Western civilization also produced some of the most refined, spiritual and beautiful art ever," The Saker notes.

    "Today Russia stands for all of civilization. Even the Western one," he stresses.


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    civilization, culture, The Syrian war, World War II, Daesh, al-Qaeda, Philip Hammond, Palmyra, Syria, Russia, Saint Petersburg
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