A leading Bolshoi prima ballerina, who recently denounced Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is leaving the country to join Dutch National Ballet.
Smirnova has a Ukrainian grandfather and has described herself as “one-quarter Ukrainian”.
“I never thought I would be ashamed of Russia, 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. It hurts that people are dying, that people are losing the roofs over their heads or are forced to abandon their homes.
“And who would have thought a few weeks ago that all of this would happen? We may not be at the epicentre of the military conflict, but we cannot remain indifferent to this global catastrophe.”