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Performance by Bykov and Efremov in Perm is cancelled

Source: (info), 19/06/12

· Freedom of expression  · Artistic freedom  · Perm region

A performance by actor Mikhail Efremov and poet Dmitry Bykov as a part of the Citizen Poet project, which was slated to take place as a part of the White Nights Festival in Perm, has been cancelled, reports, citing News Agency. The head of the festival's press office Ivan Kustov was hard put to name the reasons for the cancellation of the show, specifying only that the performance had not simply been postponed but would not take place at all. High profile gallery owner Marat Guelman blamed the management of the Perm Region Philharmonia for the cancellation of the Citizen Poet performance. "The new authorities in Perm decided that they didn't want Citizen Poet to happen, and the Philharmonia, which had the money for the project, obediently listened to them," declared Marat Guelman on the 59.Ru website.

According to Guelman, the Philharmonia is the legal organiser of the festival of civic poetry of which the slated show was meant to be a part. "The Philharmonia initially tried our patience by demanding a whole pile of different assurances, and then when all the documents had been provided they blocked the project," said Guelman.

The regional Philharmonia declared that it had had nothing to do with Efremov and Bykov's proposed visit. According to its press officer Margarita Neugodova, the Philharmonia is not the organiser of the event and did not have any agreements with Citizen Poet whatsoever. "If we were the legal organiser of the event then we would have had to pay a cancellation fee, but we are not facing any consequences as result of the cancellation of the performance. When we were putting together the programme for the White Nights Festival the regional Ministry of Culture proposed to the Philharmonia that it hold this performance. Later on during the process it was decided that it would make more sense to hold this performance as a part of the Perm Book Fair. I don't know anything about the future of this project or the reasons for its cancellation," Neugodova stated.

On 5 November last year a performance by Bykov and Efremov at the Philharmonia was also called off. The organisers explained that the concert had been cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Ilya Neustroev, a deputy at the region's Legislative Assembly, who had not been able to buy a ticket, asserted in his blog that the show had been cancelled for political reasons in order not to rock the boat before the elections. Later on Dmitry Bykov announced that there was nothing political about the incident and that no show in Perm had been planned.