Andrey Zvyagintsev

After the screening of the film "Leviathan" at the Cannes Film Festival, critics awarded Andrei Zvyagintsev with the prestigious Palme d'Or award. The social drama was enthusiastically embraced by both Russian and Western media. For example, The Guardian called the film a "new Russian masterpiece" after its premiere at Cannes. The film's title refers to the biblical story of Job, and offers a comparison of the Old Testament monster with the version of state described in the work of Thomas Hobbes. The state machine deprives the hero of everything — his land, house, wife, freedom. At the beginning of the film, the new Job files a complaint with a court, and at the end a church is built on the land that was taken from him. "There has not yet been a more harsh and accurate depiction of modern Russia in our film industry," Vedomosti newspaper wrote of the film. The jury at Cannes awarded "Leviathan" for best screenplay. Russia's Oscar Committee nominated it for an Academy Award for best foreign film.

Anna Netrebko

Russia's top diva this year performed the Russian national anthem at the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. It was one of a handful of her appearances in her homeland in recent years: her busy schedule of performances includes the leading opera houses of the world - Metropolitan Opera, Covent Garden, the Rome Opera, and she lives primarily in Austria (and even became the face of "Austrian Airlines" this year). In late October, Netrebko made her debut at the Bolshoi Theater at a gala concert in honor of the 70th birthday of the great mezzo-soprano Elena Obraztsova.

Konstantin Bogomolov

In January, a director with a reputation as perhaps the most controversial theater director in Moscow today showed the premiere of his play "Ice" based on the novel of the same name by Vladimir Sorokin. The premiere was held at the National Theatre in Warsaw, where Konstantin Bogomolov has been working after his high-profile dismissal from the Moscow Art Theater in late 2013: at that time, then-artistic director of the Moscow Art Theater Oleg Tabakov, for whom Bogomolov served as an assistant, demanded changes to the play "Karamazov" during the final rehearsal — changes which Bogomolov refused to make, instead leaving altogether for "creative reasons."

After the Warsaw premiere, "Ice" was screened at the Golden Mask festival. In June, Bogomolov returned to the stage in Moscow with "Gargantua and Pantagruel" at the Theater of Nations — a play which critics have described as the most lyrical of all his works. In the fall, a new hit was debuted in "Lenkom" — an updated interactive version of "Boris Godunov," which was just as popular with the public as last year's "An Ideal Husband" at the Moscow Art Theater.

Naum Kleiman

Naum Kleiman created the country's only film museum in 1989. Moscow's world-class cinema library quickly gained recognitio, and an entire generation of film directors grew up on its programs. In 2005, the State Central Museum of Cinema lost its building on Krasnaya Presnya, which was designed specifically for it. Yet, thanks to the efforts of its staff and Kleiman, the educational programs of the museum did not stop – the museum continued to exhibit masterpieces of world cinema, and it offered retrospectives at different venues. All these years, the director of the museum did not stop searching for new premises for film storage and film projection. In 2013, the Culture Ministry offered Kleiman to resign from the post of director in exchange for the allocation of museum premises on Zubovsky Bulvar. Kleiman refused because the building did not have space to store the museum's collections. In the summer of 2014, the culture minister dismissed Kleiman as director and appointed him to the post of the president, which lacks administrative authority. A conflict between the museum's staff with the new headmistress, who lacks any experience in museum work, prompted all the employees, along with Kleiman, to resign in an open letter in October. Russia's film community stood up for Kleiman. In late October, the journal of the British Film Academy published an open letter in defense of Kleiman, signed by the president of the Cannes Film Festival, Gilles Jacob, actress Tilda Swinton, director Wim Wenders, and more than 500 other famous filmmakers from around the world.

Denis Matsuyev

At the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Denis Matsuyev appeared from under the stage with a grand piano, on which he played Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto. In the summer, the world-renowned pianist returned to Sochi as the art director of the tenth Crescendo International Festival. According to him, it's his favorite music festival: everyone plays what is most closest to him personally. In the finals, Matsuyev himself played jazz improvisations. After Sochi, Crescendo went on an anniversary tour: to New York, Tel Aviv, Pskov, Moscow and St. Petersburg.

The festival was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of the New Names foundation, which "discovered" Matsuyev himself while he was still a schoolboy. This interregional charitable foundation, which dedicates itself to searching for and supporting young musicians, was founded in 1992 by Yvette Raven based on the eponymous charity program, which was also the first sponsor of American pianist Van Cliburn. Matsuyev became president of New Names in 2008.