A recognized photographer and artist whose work captures the essence of Russia’s cultural and political evolution, Namin in 1998 exhibited more than 400 original photographs in Moscow’s Central Exhibition Hall, Manezh. In addition to his visual reflections on Russia, the exhibit included unique art photos from around the world, including images of Easter Island, Africa and Cuba. A year later his photography was exhibited at the Central Art Gallery of Moscow, followed in 2001 by an exhibition of his work at the State Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, which published a catalogue of Namin's oeuvre and officially recognized him by including a number of his works into the museum's permanent collection.
Stas Namin likes to literally “do it all.” He is the founder (1987) of Moscow’s Stas Namin Centre (SNC), a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving Russian cultural traditions and advancing contemporary Russian arts and culture. The first private company formed in the Soviet Union, SNC now occupies over 3 hectares in Moscow’s celebrated Gorky Park. The Centre includes restaurants, art galleries, a 15,000-seat amphitheatre and numerous other facilities for the fine and performing arts. The Centre’s expansive
accommodations are venues for countless and varied artistic and cultural events year round, such as the New York Symphony orchestra conducted by Leonard Bernstein, Paul Simon, ZZ Top and many others.
Reflecting Namin’s personal passion for rock music, SNC was the first Soviet forum where emerging “new music” bands found support and the opportunity to collaborate with other artists whose work was then out of favour with the cultural expectations of the Soviet state. SNC quickly became the launching venue for such new stars as Brigada S, Kalinov Bridge, Moral Code and many other bands. One of Namin’s most illustrious bands he named after the celebrated place of its birth, Gorky Park. He created and developed the Gorky Park band from 1987, and in 1989 Namin signed them with Polygram. He also included Gorky Park into the first ever international rock festival in Moscow, which Namin organized as producer and promoter; it became widely viewed as the Russian equivalent of Woodstock. Along with Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, The Scorpions, Ozzy Osbourne, Cinderella and others, Gorky Park also participated in the Moscow Peace Festival (1989); soon thereafter it became known all over the world, was included in the top three groups on MTV, and spent several months at the top of the charts in Billboard Magazine. The Moscow Peace Festival, staged in Lenin Stadium, attracted over 150,000 spectators and became a symbol of freedom in the new era of Russia. All monies gathered from the ticket sales (over a million-and-a-half dollars) were distributed through Russia’s hospitals to help end drug addiction and prevent drug use.
In the late 1980s the Stas Namin Centre became such a famous place in the new Russia that such stars as Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel, U2, Robert DeNiro, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Quincy Jones and many others paid a visit. Frank Zappa, Namin’s friend and colleague, made a film about the SNC, and the Scorpions dedicated to the centre their song Wind of Change, in which Namin participated.
Namin’s original multi-ethnic album soon gave rise to three international One World festivals, staged in Moscow’s Gorky Park in 1990 and 1995, and again in 1997 in the Red Square. Conceptually, his One World festivals gather on one stage performers from different nations, races and religions – all enjoying the positive feelings of music and happiness. The global aim of these festivals is to overcome national, social and religious separation of the people of the planet, seeking ways to achieve real worldwide unity and fraternity of the people. In keeping with his cultural and political barrier-breaking productions, in 1992 Namin produced Rock from the Kremlin, a live concert comprised of previously banned national rock stars and staged at the Kremlin Palace of Congresses. The year 1993 saw Namin’s production of Hello Russia, a Russian/Japanese fashion show in the Red Square. The show, which attracted global media attention and featured Japanese fashion designer Yamamoto, became the first private event ever staged in Moscow’s historical square.
In August 1999 Stas Namin created The Moscow Music and Drama Theatre. The first play was the legendary American rock musical Hair, translated and staged in Russian; it became one of the most popular live theatrical events in the country and the first musical in new Russia. The theatre has also presented the original version of rock-opera Jesus Christ Super star for the first time in Russia, Pushkin’s famous Little Tragedies, and plays by Arthur Miller, Federico Garcia Lorca and others. The theatre and its 250-seat auditorium subsequently became a part of the Stas Namin Center.
In the 1990s Stas Namin formed SNC Holding, Russia’s first non-governmental entertainment industry entity, widely regarded as the initiator of a progressively privatized economy. SNC Entertainment consisted of a recording company and studio (SNC Records), TV company, independent radio station (Radio SNC), concert agency, art gallery, photo studio, design studio and music club-restaurant. The corporation also produced a glossy magazine-- the Soviet Union’s first independent arts publication--that profiled the broad spectrum of Russian culture. In early 1990s, SNC Entertainment also launched The Moscow Symphony Orchestra and Moscow on Ice show.
In 1991 Namin founded Stanbet Holding - a corporation of various business directions including, a real estate
company involved in developing the most prestigious business area, Moscow city; publishing company; sport agency; trade and barter company; impresario’s company; business consulting.
At the same time, a sports franchising agency--a subsidiary of Namin's SNC--broke the state monopoly in sports and was the first to bring the most famous Russian hockey and tennis players to the international sport scene. Other SNC subsidiaries have also added to Namin's influence on modern Russia’s social, cultural and political evolution.
In 2003 he created The Russian Nights festival. The first of Russian Culture culture started in Germany, presenting the Bolshoy Theatre, Kirov Theatre, symphony orchestras, theatrical productions and many other aspects of Russian culture to the German public. Russian Nights festivals aim to preserve and internationally promote Russian cultural traditions and contemporary arts. The festivals present the world community with the very best from the various fields of both old and new culture in Russia. They include presentations of cinema, theatre, music, literature, fine arts, opera, ballet, fashion, design and more. Russian Nights is intended to broaden its audiences’ understanding of the many significant contributions to world culture by Russian artists. The festival bestows a prize, the Tower Award, which is presented to eminent international personalities who through their work have inspired and made significant contributions to world culture. Russian Nights festivals have been received with such enthusiasm that they have been expanded to encompass New York and San Francisco, with other major metropolitan venues both in the U.S. and abroad slated for the near future. In 2003 the first Russian International Film Festivalwas launched aspart of aRussian Nightseventheld in Los Angeles, and was reprised on a proportionately greater scale in 2004 and again in April of 2005.
Family history is so inextricably bound up in Russian history – both politically and culturally – that he inevitably keeps it central in his life’s work.
Definitely an iconoclast, Stas Namin has gone far beyond merely breaking with the political and cultural traditions of his homeland. He is an innovator and a risk-taker in pursuit of the new and the unusual. Some of his ideas and projects have not come to fruition merely because they were either too radical – or too satirical – to find a supportive audience in a changing culture yet unsure of its liberalism. By way of example, his tongue-in-cheek suggestion of taking Lenin’s Tomb on an imagined global tour, with net proceeds going to the pensioners whose ill fate Lenin sealed, did not exactly resonate with his compatriots, who failed to share Namin’s sharp sense of historical and political irony. But his other ventures have won favour with the international press as well as with the patrons and observers of his newest enterprises. Among them arecircumnavigation of the globe with the legendary Thor Hierdahl, guided tours of Africa, and Namin's whimsical "Yellow Submarine" hot air balloon. Its entry in international balloon fests eventually motivated Namin to organize the first hot air balloon festival in Russia, inaugurating the event by personally flying over the Kremlin in his Submarine. The balloon was included into the World’s Best Balloons encyclopedia.
Committed to sharing his rich cultural heritage with the world, Namin plans to continue developing celebrations of his country’s cultural legacy in new venues globally. His is truly a mission with no bounds – neither in geography nor the imagination.
Written by Dick Delson
Since 1988 – the member of the Board of the International Public Foundation for Survival and Development of Humanity;
1989 – establisher of the first Russian independent charity Foundation. “Children of Armenia” - in benefit of victims of the earthquake in Armenia;
1990 – the Stas Namin Scholarship established at the Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA;
1991 – awarded with the Order of the President of Russia for defense of Russian democracy during the August Coup;
1992 – Speaker at the UNESCO Conference “Tolerance and Society”, Paris, France;
1998 – panelist at the forum session on “Mobilizing Resources for Cultural Development” of the UNESCO Intergovernmental Conference on Cultural Policies for Development, Stockholm, Sweden;
2000-2003 – a member of the Cultural Council of the Russian President;
- a member of the Cultural Council of Moscow City;
2007 - honorary professor of the Moscow State Humanitarian University
2007 - the member of Business Counsil of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry
1962-1968 Suvorov Cadet Military College of Moscow
1969-1970 Moscow Institute of Foreign Languages
1971-1977 Lomonosov State University, Faculty of Philology and Literature
1981-1983 State Higher Courses of Script Writers and Movie Directors