President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has signed a decree awarding the cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich the Order of Service to the Fatherland, First Degree, a state medal, for his “outstanding contribution to the development of world music and many years of creative activity,” The Associated Press reported, citing the presidential press service.
Mr. Rostropovich, 79, has been hospitalized twice this month for unspecified reasons. Two Russian newspapers reported that he was being treated at Russia’s leading cancer clinic, but aides have declined to comment.
His spokeswoman could not be reached immediately for comment on his health or the medal.
Cellist Rostropovich still in hospital, feels better
Friday, February 16, 2007; 8:52 PM
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Cellist and conductor Mstislav Rostropovich, 79, is still receiving treatment at a Moscow hospital where he was taken earlier this month, his secretary said on Friday. “He is feeling better, and that is all I will say,” Natalya Dolezhale in Moscow, said. “He is still in the hospital.” Dolezhale said earlier this month that Rostropovich had been admitted to hospital but that his condition was not life-threatening.
President Vladimir Putin had visited the musician in hospital, prompting speculation that he was in a serious condition.
Rostropovich earned a reputation as a champion of civil rights during Soviet rule, when the Kremlin stripped him of his citizenship. After the collapse of Soviet rule, his citizenship was restored. Since then he has divided his time between Russia, the United States and France. He and his wife, the soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, run a charitable foundation.