Vsevolod Chaplin: ''Why the image of Nureyev is presented almost as central in the Russian ballet?''

'Nureyev' and conscience. Who's afraid of 'the beautiful ones'? The column by Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin

Vsevolod Chaplin: ''Why the image of Nureyev is presented almost as central in the Russian ballet?'' Photo: Alexey Abanin (rtvi.ru)

On December 9th, Moscow hosts the premiere of the acclaimed ballet Nureyev by Kirill Serebrennikov. Long queues for tickets lined up almost a month before the event. Columnist of Realnoe Vremya, Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, in the newspaper column written for our newspaper calls for a broad discussion about the moral acceptability of the performance, which, in his opinion, contains elements of pornography, promote homosexuality and other vices. In addition, the Orthodox priest offers to find out the attitude to Rudolf Nureyev among the Tatars and Bashkirs, whose blood flowed in the veins of the flamboyant dancer.

What is pornography?

Another zero hour in confrontation between the supporters of moral norms and boundless freedom in the culture is nearing. The premiere of the ballet Nureyev is scheduled for 9 and 10 December at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. There is a big crush for tickets, Minister Medinsky promised to attend the preview.

Earlier, many people in the society were outraged by the content and design of the ballet. This is not surprising because, as far as we know, the semantic center of the performance is not creative but sexual life of the flamboyant dancer. Besides, on stage there will be his photo in the nude. We can argue a lot about whether the state academic theatres should positively portray homosexuality, which makes many people unhappy (the priests know this from confessions). But the poster that is designed for the scene is clearly pornographic.

Some 'singers of freedom' in vain argue that our legislation supposedly contains no definition of pornography. Gentlemen, you are 7 years late for the train. According to the paragraph 8 of the article 2 of the Federal law 'On protection of children from information harmful to their health and development', 'information of pornographic nature is the information submitted in the form of naturalistic images or descriptions of sexual organs and (or) sexual intercourse or comparable to sexual intercourse sexual acts.' Undoubtedly, this definition — the first in the Russian legislation — applies not only to materials intended for children, but also for all cases of pornography (yet the legislator has not adopted another definition for more general case). So, naturalistic depiction of sexual organs on the scene is pornography, which must not be in the public space. Today people are brought to justice for much more innocent images on the Internet.

''We can argue a lot about whether the state academic theatres should positively portray homosexuality, which makes many people unhappy (the priests know this from confessions). But the poster that is designed for the scene is clearly pornographic.'' Photo: a screenshot of a video from a performance rehearsal

In the captivity of 'the ones'

Criticism of the production at the stage of its discussion clearly indicates a growing activity of the members of our society — actually quite conservative, if not to take the Moscow party of 'the beautiful ones' (the term by John B. Calhoun, the author of the experiment with rodents) as the 'gold standard'. The minister of culture, and generally the federal government, again like in the case of with Matilda, Serebrennikov, Raikin, will have to choose — to agree with the views of most people about the cultural and moral norm (by the way, it would a great idea to conduct a survey about the appropriateness of showing genitals on the stage of the Bolshoi Theatre) or continue to be under hypnotic spell of tailed beauties with regenerating sharp teeth.

What is the strength of these enchantments? It is the Soviet complex of bureaucrats, tsekhoviks [an owner-operator of an illegal, underground tsekh ('factory') in the second economy of the Soviet Union] and martinets in front of the 'creative' Bohemians. In the post-Soviet cult of the 'stars'? Or the desire to imitate 'Europe' where the brazen experimenters from art long ago began to impose its will on the media, governments, parliaments and private sponsors-hostages?

Anyway, we need to get rid of the charm of 'the beautiful ones'. Even if they gather in theatres a couple of thousand spectators for a week, and on TV channels— a couple of million a day. No 'self-assessment' of these people in moral issues should be final. The moral sense of the people should be expressed by themselves — through surveys, through social movements, through the parliament (I mean not only 'cultural', that is, obviously biased part of it).

''By the way, the discussion about Nureyev himself is also important. Why his image is presented as almost central in the Russian ballet? Shouldn't we talk about his civil position before and after 'non-return' in the USSR?'' Photo: liveinternet.ru

'Advanced creative specialist' or savage

The discussion of moral acceptability or unacceptability of Nureyev has to be really wide. Yet, alas, people know nothing about whether a pornographic poster in the design and gay romance in the content will be preserved. Along with these issues, we should discuss the presence (or absence) in the Bolshoi Theatre of the gay lobby, which is often discussed and to whom director general of the Bolshoi Theatre Vladimir Urin is sometimes attributed to. There must be no closed topics to have a moral 'alignment'!

By the way, the discussion about Nureyev himself is also important. Why his image is presented as almost central in the Russian ballet? Shouldn't we talk about his civil position before and after 'non-return' in the USSR? Shouldn't we stop concealing the fact that in his case the deadly disease definitely was the result of sexual promiscuity? Finally, it is necessary to find out the attitude in the environment of the Bashkir and Tatar peoples, whose blood flowed in the veins of the flamboyant dancer. Again, no topics should be closed.

Of course, the opponents of the staging, like in the case with Matilda, can be accused of hidden advertising and black PR. But to avoid such accusations, it is necessary to achieve complete exclusion from culture space of 'nudity' and positive image of all vices. Not only alcoholism or drug abuse, but also adultery, promiscuity (homosexual and heterosexual). All this kills — morally, spiritually, and sometimes physically.

The idea that art is 'free' from morality and even law is absurd by definition. After all, those who put their field of activity, their social group, themselves above the law and moral norms – they are not 'advanced creative specialists'. They are savages. And they should be treated like savages. Even if they blatantly walk on Kremlin carpets and throw their arms around becoming timid at the sight of 'celebrities' bureaucrats.

By Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin