THE FIRST SHOW BUSINESS IN NEW RUSSIA
Today the biography of Stas Namin (Anastas Mikojan) is just as fascinating as his famous relatives: however, they were famous in different fields. His native grandfather Anastas Mikojan was a member of the Politburo and President of the USSR in the 1960s, his cousin grandfather Artem Mikojan designed the famous “Mig” aircraft.
During the 1960s one of the President's grandchildren was a cadet of Suvorov military school. This grandchild, Stas, heard “something” on the radio, which determined his future despite forecasts of his relatives. This was the banned music of “Beatles” and “Rolling Stones”, which enchanted the rest of the world beyond the Iron Curtain. At the age of sixteen Stas made his choice-however, he rejected military or political careers. After seven years of study in the military school he opted for the free life of creative activity. Stas graduated from Moscow State University and received diplomas on literature and philosophy. He also graduated from the higher course of film producers and screenwriters. Stas chose a stage-name of his own, “Namin”, to stay aloof from the name of his nearest and dearest. (Nami is the name of his mother, a musical critic who graduated from the conservatoire and was behind his musical career).
Throughout this period, Stas led both official and unofficial lives. He was a child of the 1960s, the era of rock and roll, which he was fanatically devoted to: it did not have any visible perspective in the near future. In his protest against the existing pseudo-culture, he symbolized a new culture to come.
He was a pioneer of national rock music in Russia in the 1960s. In the 1970s he created the group “Flowers”, the first popular national super rock group, nicknamed the Soviet “Beatles”. In 1975 this group was banned under the pretext of a struggle against hippies. It reappeared in 1980, renamed “Stas Namin Group”. This group issued its first big disk “Hymn to the Sun”. Stas Namin organized the biggest national rock and pop-music festival in Erevan (70,000 viewers) which produced a furor all over the world and was called by magazine “Time” the “Erevan Woodstock”. But in the Soviet Union Stas Namin and his festival was repressed. All this made Stas Namin a dissident and a man hateful to the regime. On the special orders of the KGB he was deprived of his passport, but remained as popular as ten years ago, despite the fact that he could not perform either at home or abroad. He could only popularize his music via recordings. Performers were denied payment for their job in the USSR at the time. The “Stas Namin Group” sold 4 million records. Stas composed more than 20 folk hits over 15 years. The last hit was called “We Wish Your Happiness”. It was the number one for more than three years.
With the advent of Perestroika in 1986, Stas managed to go abroad for the first time and has ever since enjoyed a new lease of life.
The “Stas Namin Group” was the first Russian group to do a world tour. Stas Namin was readily admitted to the world musical elite. Frank Zappa, Peter Gabriel, Quincey Jones, Yoko Ono, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other superstars became his friends. Some years ago Stas could not have imagined that his name would appear on the cover of an album by “Rolling Stones” Keith Richard's and that he would become co-author with the “Scorpions” of the most popular song in the world “Winds of Change” and that a Stas Namin stipend would be given to students of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, the USA.
In 1987 Stas stopped performing and set up the first private musical firm, called Stas Namin Centre (SNC), where he collected more than 40 banned rock groups and helped them perform and be recorded. His first works as a producer were with the groups “Brigada S” and “Gorky Park”, who were recruited from the “Stas Namin Group”.
In 1989 Stas Namin organized a historical festival at Lenin stadium (200,000 viewers) which became the new symbol of youth Perestroika. It was a kind of Russian Woodstock and was broadcast in 58 countries. This event was considered in the USA as the most important event of the year. Groups like “Bon Jovi”, “Motley Crew”, “Ozzy Osborne”, “Scorpions”, “Skid Row” and other superstars took part.
Ever since 1990 Stas Namin Centre or SNC has changed its orientation: it paid less attention to rock music. Stas set up the Moscow symphony orchestra and a gala show "Moscow On Ice". They were the first private show groups of their kind. These groups made successful trips both in Russia and abroad and gained world wide fame. Stas Namin Centre was transformed into a Corporation which incorporated the following firms: the firm SNC Records, set up in 1990, SNC Radio, set up in 1991, SNC TV and SNC Concerts - the concert agency engaged since 1987 in the organization of various festivals, concerts and international trips. This agency organized on May 9, “Victory Day” in the Palace of Congresses, involving the Bolshoi Theatre ballet and Alexandrov Ensemble and other stars. It organized the historical festival “Rock from the Kremlin”: well-known dissident rock groups participated on the stage of the Kremlin Palace of Congresses.
The last two years marked the turning point in Stas Namin's activity. Now, when his Corporation has became independent and gained stability, Stas has turned his mind to other projects. In 1992, he set up the art gallery “Stanbet”. Stas has also produced some films, including a sensational American film “Non-tedious Garden”. Now his activity resembles that of his famous grandfather.
Stas Namin became President of the Russian subsidiary of one of the biggest trade-barter American firms “Atwood Richards” as well as director of the engineering-building firm “Eastern Development” which develops and coordinates of new building projects in Moscow and other regions.
Nevertheless, the activity of his Corporation (SNC) in show business plays a leading role throughout the former USSR and continues to expand in all directions.
In 1993 the SNC TV company broadcast only on one Russian channel. Now it broadcasts on other channels and features new programs. Radio SNC switched to FM and signed an agreement with the BBC. It plans to broadcast music programs and “The World Service” news.
The firm SNC Records increased its catalogue of PVC records and began to produce laser records.
In June 1993 the firm SNC Concerts organized two unique events. Between June 2-4 the first commercial concerts of the world super group “Iron Maiden” were held in Russia. The SNC paid them in hard currency, like the best Western promoters. The concerts took place in Moscow at the Olympic Stadium and thereby virtually opened the new Russian market to world show business. Soon after this event, on June 5 Stas Namin and world famous Japanese designer, Kansai staged a unique super show on Red square which attended 120000 viewers. Moscow had never witnessed such an extravaganza.
The “Empire” of the first business show in new Russia is situated on the embankment of the Moscow River on the territory of the famous Gorky Park. This is the meeting point of creative people of various genres, the point of attraction of the most interesting projects, which became, claims Frank Zappa, the Russian “saya khouson” - the centre of new Russia culture, which is being resurrected before our eyes.