Legendary Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya has been awarded with the highest decoration of France. The 85-year-old artist is now an Officer of the Legion of Honor
France’s Ambassador to Russia Jean de Gliniasty described the Russian artist as the embodiment of grace, talent and courage. Plisetskaya, in her turn, has expressed gratitude to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who appoints members of the Order, saying she has long had close ties to France.
The award-winning ballerina has worked with the leading light of choreography, including French luminaries Maurice Béjart and Roland Petit.
The highly-prestigious award, whose motto is “Honor and Motherland”, the Legion of Honor medal, was established by Napoleon Bonaparte in the beginning of the 19th century and has five levels of degree: Knight of the Legion of Honor; Officer of the Legion of Honor; Commander of the Legion of Honor; Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor.
Among the 150 Russian recipients of the award are Nobel Prize winner Joseph Brodsky; editor-in-chief of Echo of Moscow radio station Aleksey Venediktov; virtuoso violinist/conductor Vladimir Spivakov as well as presidential candidate billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, Russia’s current Prime Minister and then-President Vladimir Putin, and the first President of the Russian Federation, Boris Yeltsin.