Edgar Zapashny: ''If we remember the Universiade in Kazan, only the Canadian circus was represented in the leisure park''

Cirque du Soleil will continue working in Russia, and citizens of Kazan will have Totem show

Edgar Zapashny: ''If we remember the Universiade in Kazan, only the Canadian circus was represented in the leisure park'' Photo: vladtime.ru

Not a long time ago, the Canadian circus announced that it would perform Totem show staged by Robert Lepage in Sochi where citizens of Kazan can go considering a direct flight. The year did not begin with pleasant news. The Ministry of Culture of Russia offered to impose sanctions on the foreign circus. It is chairman of the Public Council of the Ministry of Culture of Russia Pavel Pozhigailo's initiative. Realnoe Vremya found out the details.

''It is difficult to compete with them''

The situation can affect not only circuses but also companies that perform shows in Russia. The initiative can be discussed in the ministry before the end of January, though Pavel Pozhigailo says that they are likely to be speaking about a development concept of Russian circus. Nevertheless, talks about the limitation of the activity are held. If it happens, Canadian circus Cirque du Soleil, which became incredibly popular in Russia that citizens of Kazan saw in summer 2010 for the first time, can also have problems. As Pozhigailo thinks, it is difficult to compete with the Canadians because of their high budget. The statement is quite strange because competition in any sphere has a good impact on the result.

What sanctions can be imposed on foreign circuses? First of all, reduction of the number of performances, implementation of a system of requirements to performances and selection of circus collectives that work under foreign brands.

Totem is the 13th show, how can't we believe in the magic of numbers… Photo: cds.ru

Representative of a legendary Russian circus family, director of the Big Moscow State Circus Edgar Zapashny supported Pozhigailo's initiative. ''If you look at the opening of the Olympic Games, Cirque du Soleil will be named ten times. If we remember the Universiade in Kazan, only the Canadian circus was represented in the leisure park. It all happens in our homeland,'' Edgar Zapashny comments. One can read about an expansion of foreign circus between the lines of this comment.

Forgetting about emotions and looking at the statistics, a curious picture appears. For instance, Premium ticket (the most expensive ticket) for Totem show of the Canadian circus in 2017 is 6,000 rubles (dollar is 60 rubles in December 2017), while Premium ticket to Varekai show in 2009 was also 6,000 rubles (dollar was 30 rubles in October 2009). In other words, the price for tickets did not change. And they are still available because the mentioned price is the highest, while the majority of spectators bought tickets for 2,000 rubles.

Citizens of 12 Russian cities saw performances of Cirque du Soleil in Russia. Almost 2,2 million spectators saw 12 works of the Canadian circus in Russia in 8 years. Almost 1 million of them were not in Moscow. Totem is the 13th show, how can't we believe in the magic of numbers…

''We are paying taxes in Russia and creating working places''

''It is necessary to know the essence of the offers and explanation to be able to discuss possible limitations in detail. In addition, there was found no information about this kind of discussion on public websites covering the work of the Public Council of the Ministry of Culture of Russia, including transmissions of the December meeting. It is necessary to discuss such a decision together with professionals and to do it honestly with our company Cirque du Soleil Rus CJSC too.

We are a Russian company that has been working in Russia for 8 years and paying taxes in Russia, creating working places and attracting many contractors in both Moscow and cities that host tours.

In fact, how can we divide art into ''ours'' and ''not ours''? Moreover, if it is its honest form like a circus. Moreover, in a situation when any show, its creation, development and performances include people representing up to 50 nationalities and speaking 25 languages. Up to 25% of our artists speak Russian depending on a performance.

As for Totem in Sochi, the press service of the circus assured that it was planned beforehand, this is why it will take place. Photo: cds.ru

If some discrimination or limiting measures are taken, growth of prices for tickets for ordinary people, our spectators will be the only thing it will cause. Despite the ruble rate fluctuations, we managed to avoid it. Will it make Cirque du Soleil leave Russia? I doubt. Russian circus collectives won't certainly feel better due to that.

Probably in this case, we will have to limit tours to Moscow. So this decision will hurt that million of our spectators who visited our shows in one of the 11 cities of Russia besides Moscow where we were. It turns out the discussed initiative will lead to a segregation of the audience based on geography and income level and form an elite of the international cultural product.

Unlike many other companies, we tried to cope with it during these eight years, including by means of deduction of prices for tickets and organisation of tours in regional Russian capitals,'' it is a comment of director general of Cirque du Soleil Rus CJSC Natalia Romanova that Realnoe Vremya managed to get.

As for Totem in Sochi, the press service of the circus assured that it was planned beforehand, this is why it will take place.

So what does the Public Council of the Ministry of Culture of Russia care for in fact? Cirque du Soleil, which started to work from scratch in the past, is an ideally structured business now. It is ideal in terms of its economy, quality of the product and moral values. It is an ideal example to follow that reached high budgets by a tough way of hard labour. It is an example, not a greedy rival, that conquered the space.

By Tatiana Mamaeva