On the days and nights when Rostov welcomes participants and guests of the Youth for Union State International Festival, the Don River becomes a place of great activity. This year marks the tenth jubilee for the musical-dancing marathon, and gathered a record number of participants from Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan: almost 300.
The State Secretary of the Union State, Grigory Rapota, addressed everyone, saying, “I heartily welcome all those gathering in hospitable Rostov. The Union State aims to create conditions for informal communication. The Youth for Union State Festival unites efforts by young Belarusians and Russians in their aspiration to strengthen cultural ties between our nations. In all these years, the Festival has preserved its atmosphere of friendship and unity; the local southern air is warmed not only by the sun but by your hearts.”
Each year, the Festival attracts a greater number of new states. However, each participant can come only once, so that, next year, Rostov will welcome new entrants. The rule allows for maximum exposure and with the aim of revealing as many new talents as possible. Only a Grand Prix holder may return.
The contest, which resembles TV’s Star Factory show, has among its laureates Honoured Artiste Alena Lanskaya, of Belarus; five years ago, she became a 1st degree laureate in Rostov and, a year later, in 2011, won the Grand Prix at the Slavianski Bazaar in Vitebsk. In 2013, she worthily represented Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest.
Yegor Sharankov, 18, a Grand Prix holder, is ready to repeat Ms. Lanskaya’s artistic success. After the results were announced, the Minsker admitted that he never imagined that he would win, despite all his preparation. “My friends — who’ve already participated in the forum — warned me that the competition is strong, so it’s hard to win. I viewed Kazakhstan’s Karashash Nsanova as my major rival. This victory shows me that I should continue. The Festival has inspired me greatly,” he tells us.
As expected, the main prize went to Ms. Nsanova. The second award was shared between Grodno’s Kristina Soiko and Moscow’s duo, Cool. Bronze was also ‘split’, between Yekaterina Razumova (from Pugachev), Tatiana Gulyaeva (from Gomel) and Natalia Balenkova (from Zhlobin).
This year’s organisers invited the best of the best to perform: ‘the dream team’ of Yakhontovy Lar (from Chelyabinsk), Vitaly Gordey (Bobruisk), Oksana Simon (Rostov on Don), Max Savin (Minsk) and Vasilisa Starshova (St. Petersburg). A laureate was also on the jury: Alexander Yelovskikh, who won in 2008, joining well-known Alexey Khlestov, Albert Zhalilov and Pesnyary’s Valery Daineko in judging.
At the final gala-concert, all participants came on stage to sing We are Together, with audience members. Next year, the search for talent will continue. Evidently, the Union State is rich in talented young people.
All participants received prizes from the Standing Committee of the Union State and from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Belarusian-Russian Union.
By Yuliana Leonovich