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This past Saturday night, as it has regularly for nearly two hundred years, the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre, draped by its famous scarlet and gold curtain, featured the long-anticipated première of a new ballet. Tickets sold out within hours last month, with many left waiting in a long line in the cold outside the box office. The Bolshoi’s capacious hall, ringed by teetering loggia boxes, was filled with so many members of the ruling élite —from Vladimir Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, to the head of Channel One, Konstantin Ernst—that the event seemed an updated version of an old Communist Party Central Committee congress. The highly anticipated ballet was “Nureyev,” a stagin... Full story

12 December