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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Boris Rubashkin: Russian Culture on the Brink of Abyss

"I don't see any definite objective of the policy carried out by the present-day authorities of Russia"
The prominent opera singer, composer, dancer Boris Rubashkin has been popularizing the Russian songs and the Russian culture all over the world all his life. Now he lives in Austria, but is unfortunately forgotten in Russia. Boris Rubashkin sent an emotional letter to PRAVDA.Ru and complained about the oppressive indifference of Russia's authorities that are squandering the precious cultural possessions of Russia. Recently, the legendary man celebrated his 70th birthday and agreed to give PRAVDA.Ru an interview.

 - From the point of view of your long experience, what is your opinion about the way that Russia is following now? Are we still losing our positions in foreign politics, in the cultural, scientific and economic spheres? Or have we already passed the critical moment, and the country is now reviving? What do you think is the main condition of restoration of Russia's leading role in the world? 

This question is rather difficult for a singer but quite understandable for a patriot. The way that Russia is following now is not quite clear even for experienced western experts and political scientists. As for me, I don't see any definite objective of the policy carried out by the present-day authorities of Russia. The legislative system in force is far from being perfect. The administrative structure of the country slightly differs from that one of the communist era; this inevitably results in worsening of chaos in the country.

Unfortunately, Russia has considerably lost its positions. As for the foreign policy, in the light of the menacing threat of terrorism Russia has to keep step with the USA. This in its turn doesn't allow Russia to criticize irresponsible doings of Americans and their allies. The Russian culture is in a dreadful condition! Experts have to leave the country to earn money in the capitalist countries; they use knowledge and experience obtained in Russia for prosperity of other countries.

Let's take the Russian television - TV programs it broadcasts are just miserable copies of those broadcast in the west. There is no money for development of science. The popular art in Russia is now on the lowest primitive level; texts and music of songs are awful, the Russian folk song is dying out.

I've read in some local source: "Russia's economy is advancing at an incredible pace!" But have you ever seen the results of this advancement in practice? Majority of the population are living their miserable lives. Austrian newspapers report that 70 per cent of the national riches are concentrated in the hands of 5 per cent of the Russian population. The West is pleased to watch the Russian chaos and poverty; it is doing everything possible to prolong the degrading situation as long as possible.

Now many Russians spend their vacations in Austria. The local television tells about Russian women decorated all over with diamonds walking about the streets, at that men with pockets stuffed with dollars are running about ready to pay for every whimsy of their women. It is shameful and ridiculous! And this story about this merchant Abramovich, who bought London's Chelsea at a fabulous price, having spent hundreds of millions of euro. And this is not funny but terrible. Where are the Russian fiscal authorities? The International Monetary Fund doesn't appropriate loans to Russia any more because they fear and say, as the local press reports, "we may give loans and soon see them spent on villas in French Riviera." The financial trust of the West in Russia has expired.

In a word, there is no need to speak now about some critical period that has been allegedly passed. This period will last here until the central and regional authorities establish political and economic order in the country that would resemble the order maintained in democratic countries. We cannot now speak about a union between the people and the government. It is only a demagogue who can say he has applied himself in Russia.  Sooner or later Russia will get back to the international scene as a powerful country in all respects: political, economic, cultural and military.

- Could you please tell us some facts of your life, the key artistic achievements and important events in the life? Who was your Teacher who set an example for you when you started your career?

I touch upon the main facts of my life in the biography. I was born in Bulgaria to a family of Don Cossack Semen Chernorubashkin (my real name is Boris Chernorubashkin) and Bulgarian woman Teodora Lilova. Over 50,000 Russians escaped to Bulgaria in the Soviet era. The White Guard emigration has become my "collective teacher".

Unfortunately, I never lived in Russia, but my father and Russian emigrants inculcated the love for this country in me forever. If I didn't have this love to Russia, I wouldn't be able to popularize Russian songs and the Russian culture all over the world. I say I love Russia, the great country with its great culture and art, the great history and wonderful people! My attitude to Russia hasn't changed since my childhood. I am going to visit Moscow this October as I will take part in a musical festival dedicated to famous singer Pyotr Leshchenko.

- Tell us about activity of the Russian theatre in Salzburg. Is it interesting for the local Austrian audience; has the Russian theatre established mutual understanding with the Austrian audience? How many Russians attend performances of the theatre in Salzburg?

The Slavonic studies department at the Salzburg University asked my wife Marina to help organize a Russian-language theatre where students could work. These are mostly Austrians studying the Russian language. They have already staged three plays based on works by Evgeny Shwarz, Alexey Tolstoi and Vasily Shukshin. My wife took an active part in the stagings. As it turned out, the Austrian audience evinced great interest in the Russian performances, every time the show was sold out.

There are just few Russians living in Austria, but we have established and maintain contacts with them. Russian emigrants love our performances. Recently, the theatre has been invited to a Holzhausen festival where it was the only theatre speaking a different language; in July the theatre had its first night in Vienna. According to a deeply rooted tradition, a meeting of the performance participants and the audience was organized after the first night.

In a word, the theatre is living its life and develops. It is sometimes difficult for Marina to make performances because very often Austrian students are given just 3 months to prepare a performance which is quite a short period for 14-18 actors to work on a show in a foreign language.

- Did you get any congratulations from Russia for your 70th birthday? Were there any from Russia's Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi?

When I turned 70, Austria President Thomas Klestil awarded me with the most honorary Austrian decoration, the Gold Cross that is awarded for deserves in favor of the Austrian republic.  Bulgaria President Georgi Parvanov awarded me with the order Madar Hoserman, Bulgaria's second important award.

Russia's Culture Minister Mikhail Shvydkoi sent me a letter of gratitude. I'm grateful for this, but is this enough for the 40 years when I was singing Russian songs all over the world? Don't I deserve anything more for the fact that the whole of the world dances my Kazachok dance? For many years already different organizations have been asking the Russian Culture Ministry to confirm me the rank of a people's actor. But no response has been received from the ministry yet. I don't understand the reason of this offensive attitude to me.

- Things like this are very often here; it is said we are experiencing "a cultural revolution" in Russia. Who is your biggest help in  the private life?

My wife Marina is my greatest help in life.

- What projects are you working now?

Now I am writing short stories and plan to start a narrative.

- What would you wish to PRAVDA.Ru readers?

I wish your readers health, success and much patience in the future. Love your native land and this love will make you strong and confident in life.