MUNICH (AP) — Russian conductor Valery Gergiev has been dropped by his management company over his ties to Russia President Vladimir Putin. Until Sunday, the 68-year-old Russian had been represented since December 2020 by Munich-based Marcus Felsner. Felsner called Gergiev “the greatest conductor alive and an extraordinary human being with a profound sense of decency” but said that in light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it was “impossible” to defend his interests. Gergiev is the music director of the Mariinsky Theatre and the chief conductor of the Munich Philharmonic. He is close to Putin and has expressed support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.