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"Ex-Minister helps Bolshoi tackle its woes"

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This looks like a very interesting and possibly hopeful report  from Ismene Brown posted at BalletcoForum today. I'm just getting into it.


"Alexander Pochinok, Minister for Labour from 2000-4 and now a Russian Federation Council member, is a prominent economist and a frequent advocate of more modern ideas of political understanding and free expression.


"Pochinok’s main initiative, he says, was to introduce outside union experts to advise the Bolshoi performers union. He stresses in the interview that Russian employment law already exists to protect workers, and that workers need to know and use existing legislation better than they do. 


"He also says that a new works agreement at the Bolshoi would address problems nationwide in the theatres, which hints at a more strategic reason for the government to act. One surmises a new government-backed theatre practices agreement at the Bolshoi would affect the Mariinsky, where ballerina Daria Pavlenko has been at loggerheads with general director Valery Gergiev over what she has described as long-outdated working practices formulated in Soviet times."



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Added quote:


"When will the process be complete, when could an agreement come into force?


"It's down to the elementaries - there are time limits in which the theatre administration needs to come to the negotiating table, there are regulations that govern negotiations. People simply aren't good at using Russian law, and in fact the Labour Code actually allows for very good talks to be held. It is only necessary to observe the law scrupulously."
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This ex-minister Pochinok pretends that by pointing at the existing legislation he is helping to sort something out. As if he doesn’t know how difficult it is to make Russian laws work. So many laws are hardly enforceable. Often after a person wins a court case against employers it is a victory just on paper and the employer continues doing what he wants.

Anastasia Volochkova’s case was a prime example of this. Her employment was terminated by Mr.Iksanov for a bizarre reason - that she was too heavy and male dancers refuse to partner her. (Although Tsiskaridze was quite ready to be her partner and was rehearsing with her.) Anastasia went to court and the court ordered the Director to reinstate her. So she was reinstated but… she was not given any of her leading roles back.

It happened about 10 years ago. Her employment record book (the main document of a working person in Russia) is still kept at the Bolshoi but she has never danced there since her dismissal.

Btw, most of the Russians don’t trust their judicial system at all.

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Thanks, Amelia. I'm really not that familiar with politics in Russia and I had a more optimistic first opinion.


Hopefully some good will come of it all.

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