Ihar Svechkin: We are Pesniary as well; we have a patent!
Pesniary band run by V. Sharapau performs mostly in Belarus with the help of the Ministry of Culture. Pesniary run by I. Svechkin most often tour in Ukraine and compete with Bartkevich's Pesniary and Belarusian Pasniary for Russian stages. Even the Belarusian Pesniary currently position themselves as a Russian band. Band director Valentin Labunski explains: “Belarusian Pesniary is a Moscow-based company. Despite that all my artistes are citizens of Belarus, this is a Russian company. We position ourselves as a band that works and always starts from Moscow.
Despite their Moscow registration, Belarusian Pesniary are mentioned in the list of the Belarusian culture ministry as legal heirs of Muliavin's framous brand together with Viachaslau Sharapau's Pesniary. All the rest are declared illegal.
But, both the Russian and Ukrainian promoters pay little attention to this fact. Moreover, each of the Pesniary bands operate legally on "their" territory.
Ihar Svechkin, a co-founder of one of the bands, told the European Radio for Belarus that he has documents that stress the legal nature of two bands:
“I have a paper, a patent registered with the Russian Patent Authority. I also have an international patenty, including Belarus, Ukraine, Russia and the Baltic countries. The point is that I deliberately do not wish to work in Belarus. There is a state band which plays a role of a state band. We also represent the Belarusian art -- Pesniary, but abroad".
At the same time, neither Pesniary of Ihar Svechkin, nor Pesniary of Leanid Bartkevich have been seen in Belarus for a long time. Why? Nikolai Babichev, the director of Bartkevich's Pesniary, explains:
“The thing is that Bartkeivich has bad relations with the culture ministry. There is a notorius man there named Rylatka...”
People in the former Soviet Union are all the same, and they all need Pesniary, any of them. That's why none of Uladzimir Muliavin's former colleagues does not complain about the lack of concerts. Ihar Svechkin's band toured in Ukraine, while Leanid Bartkevich's band played in the Russian city of Saratov:
“It was a city square. There were 20,000 people. We were received vey well...as always!”