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Troubled Bolshoi presents new musical director

The Bolshoi Theatre on Monday presented its new musical director who has been appointed to help restore the tarnished reputation of the scandal-ridden theatre. Tugan Sokhiev, a 36-year-old conductor who studied in Saint Petersburg, is currently musical director of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (ONCT) and of the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin (DSO Berlin). On Monday, the Bolshoi's general director Vladimir Urin presented Sokhiev to journalists, calling him "one of the most in-demand young conductors in the West."

Four-times world champion Kudukhov dies in car crash

(Reuters) - Russian freestyle wrestler Besik Kudukhov has died at the age of 27 following a car accident on Sunday, the domestic federation said. "The tragedy occurred on the federal highway near Armavir as the wrestler was travelling from Vladikavkaz to Krasnodar," the Russian wrestling federation said in a statement, adding that Kudukhov's car collided with a truck. "Besik Kudukhov will remain forever in our hearts."

Pro-Putin conductor Gergiev 'hurt' by anti-gay criticism

Russian star conductor Valery Gergiev, under fire for not speaking out against new anti-homosexuality laws in Russia, said Thursday he was "hurt" by the allegations and pledged to respect gay rights. In a letter to Munich authorities, where he is scheduled to become chief conductor of the Philharmonic in 2015, Gergiev insisted he fully supported the German city's anti-discrimination laws.

Pro-Putin conductor 'hurt' by homophobia allegations

Russian star conductor Valery Gergiev, under fire for not speaking out against new anti-gay legislation in Russia, said Thursday he was "hurt" by the allegations and pledged to respect gay rights. In a letter to Munich authorities, where he is scheduled to become chief conductor of the Philharmonic in 2015, Gergiev insisted he fully supported the German city's anti-discrimination laws.

Football: CSKA maintain Russia lead, reach Champions League

CSKA Moscow maintained their lead in the Russian Premier League with a 1-0 win over Terek Grozny on Saturday, a result which secured a place in the Champions League next season. The Red Army side stopped their three-match winless streak to move on to 60 points from 27 matches. CSKA remain three points ahead of second-placed reigning champions Zenit St Petersburg who thrashed 10-man visitors Alania Vladikavkaz 4-0 thanks to a hat-trick by Brazilian striker Hulk.

Football: Russia race heats up as court decision looms

Russian Premier League leaders CSKA Moscow look to preserve their advantage against Terek Grozny on Saturday amid a late season charge by Zenit St Petersburg, who may also be given a boost by a looming sports arbitration court decision. CSKA are three points ahead of reigning champions Zenit, who take on bottom side Alania Vladikavkaz. After the weekend action, all eyes will be on the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne on Thursday where Zenit will be appealing against a technical defeat awarded against them earlier in the season over crowd trouble.

Putin hands 'Hero of Labour' awards to conductor, coalminer

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday handed out the first "Hero of Labour" awards to Russians since reviving the Soviet-era tradition this year, with recipients ranging from top conductor Valery Gergiev to a Siberian coalminer. The honorary Hero of Labour award and medal, recreated by the Kremlin in March for the first time since the end of the Soviet Union, was bestowed on a group of five people for the first time as Russia marked the May 1 holiday with organised parades of labour unions and pro-Kremlin politicians.

Football: Russian league leaders CSKA wobble again

Russian Premiership leaders CSKA Moscow dropped points for the third consecutive match on Sunday as they lost 2-0 to Rubin Kazan. Despite the defeat CSKA lead defending champions Zenit St Petersburg, who could only draw 2-2 away at Kuban Krasnodar, by three points. Third-placed Anzhi Makhachkala failed to make up any ground as they lost 2-0 to Spartak Moscow, and are 10 points adrift of CSKA. Rubin's Venezuelan forward Jose Salomon Rondon gave the hosts the lead in the 49th minute, beating CSKA goalkeeper Igor Akinfeyev with a shot from 12 metres.

Football: CSKA extend winning streak in Russia

Three-time former champions CSKA Moscow extended their winning streak in the Russian Premier League with a 2-0 home win over Volga Nizhny Novgorod here on Saturday. The result left the Red Army side, who recorded their fourth consecutive win since the winter break, on top of the league table with 55 points from 23 matches, 11 points ahead of second-placed Zenit St Petersburg. Reigning champions Zenit are scheduled to take on Samara on Sunday, while big-spending Anzhi Makhachkala, who play bottom-placed Alania Vladikavkaz also on Sunday, sit third on 42 points.

Football: Russia squad to play Northern Ireland, Brazil

Russia coach Fabio Capello on Monday named a 25-man squad for the country's 2014 World Cup Group F qualifier away to Northern Ireland on March 22 and the friendly with Brazil in London on March 25. Russia, who have not qualified for the World Cup finals since 2002, are top of Group F with a maximum 12 points from four matches. The Russians will meet 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge ground. Squad Goalkeepers: Igor Akinfeyev (CSKA Moscow), Vladimir Gabulov (Anzhi Makhachkala), Sergei Ryzhikov (Rubin Kazan)
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