Should one’s political views impact one’s musical career? Valentina Lisitsa is voicing her opinions, creating controversy and experiencing at least one cancellation of a performance because of it.

Classical pianist, Valentina Listisa, is Ukrainian by birth. She is blonde, extremely talented, probably considered very beautiful by many, and is pro-Vladimir Putin. Being Ukrainian and pro-Putin is somewhat akin to spouting the virtues of Karl Marx on the steps of the Indiana state capital. The pianist is very opinionated about the politics of her birthland, even though she no longer calls it home, and courts controversy wherever she goes because of her opinions. These opinions already have famously blown up in her face when the Toronto Orchestra CEO cancelled a performance she was due to give. Other cities also have questioned whether or not to do the same. Is it fair that Valentina’s political beliefs might overshadow her massive talent as a pianist?

Valentina expresses her views quite a bit through Twitter. Some of them could most definitely be construed as offensive, but Valentina says differently. From The Globe and Mail online, Valentina had this to say, “You might find some of [my tweets] offensive, [but] satire and hyperbole are the best literary tools to combat the lies.”

Write-ups about performers are a tricky thing. When you are familiar with the artist, for whatever reason, you lay your cordiality by the door as you walk in, because of that perceived familiarity. However, I am discovering Valentina Lisitsa for the first time and, based on the above interview, she seems really affable. Dare I say likable? So, why does she have people up in arms?

Her interest in politics led her to start tweeting about the Ukraine’s political scene and the war Russian-backed separatists are waging against the government in Eastern Ukraine. The separatists and Putin claim it is to protect the Russian minority in the country that, ironically enough, had been placed there, as Russian Communists did with all former Soviet sattelite states, to more Russianize them. Essentially, they are fighting to stay in a place where they forcibly invaded.