Totally agree with you Birdsall. I think Gergiev's comments to the press do not reveal his interpretation of this Letter to the Ministry as an act malice from the dancers as much as it reveals his own utter ignorance (pretend? real?) of the actual problem or question on the table. His suggestion that Pavlenko had a personal gripe was incorrect; his suggestion that the dancers' "voted" and solved the issue amongst themselves is also incorrect (First bc it wasnt a majority vote and second bc the vote itself didnt address the issue); and both points missed the facts of the issue.
There's been a greater exodus in the past 3 or so years from the MT and/or with Vaganova graduates choosing other companies: Shapran, Smirnova the biggest examples...and that speaks not only to artistic opportunity but financial compensation. I do not personally believe the Mariinsky lacks the finances but that those funds are appropriated to other people and/or things.
From Tara -
I've posted whatever I see in the Russian news and will continue to do so; apologies only that I do not always have time to translate the entire article as my free time is sorely limited.