There are so many people singing on radio and TV nowadays! One can listen to songs of a TV-show host, a radio DJ, an actor, a politician, a daughter of a tycoon etc. Every person possessing some certain amount of money can please himself and become a new-born shining star of some music circuit, gradually gaining popularity and titles like “The Golden Voice” of some country, continent or the whole world. The extent to which a star-fever develops is proportional to a person’s vanity and pride.
Once you’ve paid some million-dollar sum to a production company for your promotion you get an unbelievable story of yourself, a catchy pop-song (the same as a thousand other songs), a provocatively sexual video and a rapid flight of public interest.
Not to let your popularity slump you may appear in a juicy scandal, strip some parts of your body or swear your endless love to the people. And if you still feel it’s not enough then dating or marrying some other “star” is sure to help.
Unfortunately, mass-culture is not seen as serving the mission of spiritual enrichment of a nation anymore.
As for the very notion of “art for the nation” in
To understand the nature of people’s spirits and tastes rather than to entertain them with uniform awkwardly-made ditties is the mission of a real talent. People must not be treated as a faceless mass of primitive things enjoying thieves’ cant or tavern music.
Nowadays everyone has a right to listen to true music, which is spiritual, professional and modern, based on the best traditions of European and American culture (classical, rock-, pop- and jazz-music).
Who can cope with such a challenge? - Only a talented musician. The task gets even harder because of the fact, that the today’s “Kings and
The result is that we do not see real professionals on stage. Sometimes it can seem to the listener who takes the music he hears for granted that everything is just the way it should be. But such belief disappears when a person gets under a charm of a real talent which inevitably causes the reaction of wonder. At first, such lucky men experience a light shock which is further replaced by infinite delight and a feeling of unearthly happiness. Once it happens – the whole life of a person can change forever.
Everything written above can be ascribed to the life of the main character of this narration, who needs no unbelievable legends of himself. The events he has had in his life could be enough for a dozen of biographies.
So here he is – an unknown in
Why don’t we hear so much of this person? From the very beginning of his singing career Viktor has not had a goal of a world-wide fame, fast money and his pleased pride. He would not act against his conscience or waive existing morals and universal values. His only wish has always been to sing his songs like no other person on the Earth.
In the earliest times of Viktor’s creative development a worldwide-known couturier was ready to offer him all kinds of assistance. The same willingness was expressed by one influential lady, a bigwig of one Russian TV channel. Both “Maecenases” asked only for “one little thing” in return – they wanted Viktor just to satisfy their depraved caprices. It is no secret that today it is quite hard to make one’s way to the Russian show-business stage without such abasements and vast sums of money. Nevertheless Viktor naturally rejected such baseness. That resulted in being cut out from Russian broadcasting of certain channels. Only thanks to the chief executive of The First Channel of Russia Constantine Ernst Viktor’s music video «Conte Della Terra» was shown to the millions of people.
Yet it is impossible to understand everything written above without knowing the whole of Viktor’s life voyage…
The Enigma of Lineage
(The Family Legend)
To generate a Russian is very easy: one only needs to settle a Tatar, a Pole and a Ukrainian somewhere in between
Viktor’s lineage is an example of such kinship. Although he himself still finds some blank spots in his family’s history.
Viktor’s maternal great grandfather Dratskevich had Polish and Ukrainian roots. The greater part of his life he served as a precentor of the Orthodox Church of Moscow. He could have been proud of his descendant – Viktor was a soloist of the choir in Petropavlovsky Cathedral of Tomsk in his eighteen.
Yet Viktor’s paternal roots keep many secrets and mysteries.
At the beginning of the XIX century father superiors of several cloisters in
After years of pilgrimage
Nevertheless the lamas were on the target. Nowadays the place named Gorny Altai equally with
It was here where Viktor was born. It seems that he is a person who feels the forces of different nations, of nature and space inside.
So Viktor and his sister Galina were born in Altai’s worst area barracks. The place was commonly sarcastically called “
The twins were given birth three month earlier than expected. The existing statistics shows that such babies do not usually have many chances to live especially those weighing less than one and a half kilogram. But these twins had great luck and pulled through.
The children were brought up by their grandmother, Galina Savenko, a strong-willed and persistent person who introduced something resembling Spartan upbringing in the family including physical exercises and dousing with cold water. At the age of four the children joined swimming classes and after fifteen years of training Viktor got the degrees of Master of Sports Candidate and became a bronze medallist of Russian Junior Championship. His sister Galina became an absolute champion of
During his school years Viktor went in for other sports - equestrian, fencing and oriental martial arts. He also took interest in mathematics, physics, poetry, arts, inlay, woodcarving, modelling and even electrolytic metallurgy and explosive assemblies.
Here are Viktor’s memories of his childhood:
“I spent my entire childhood without my father who had disappeared not long before I and my sister were born and vouchsafed us no attention. Perhaps constantly feeling out of it because of the family situation I was always trying to outrun my peers. People like me, fatherless children, always feel socially outcast. There is always a strong wish to overtake the others and not to become a “white crow”. And while you are doing your best not to fall behind you suddenly find yourself way ahead. I was tearing along throughout my whole childhood in search of myself”…
A Young Businessman
Viktor’s mother and his grandmother did their best not to let the children feel morally or financially bereft. However Viktor from his earliest years wanted to be materially independent.
When he was six he decided to earn his first money. His granny in addition to her three jobs at the weekends washed stair platforms of the five-story block of flats of the Khrushchev era which they moved to from “
Then Viktor got engaged in numismatics and philately which also brought him some money as he used to exchange coins and stamps with neighbourhood boys.
At the age of ten the young “entrepreneur” asked his mother, Lyudmila, to order a thirty-volume reference book - The Big Soviet Encyclopaedia which served as the main source of knowledge at that time like now does the Internet. Leafing through the books Viktor came across an article about aquarian fish breeding. He got a brilliant idea. After a half a year one could find numerous racks and aquariums made with Viktor’s own hands in his flat. The greatest of all was the aquarium with
Twelve-year-old Viktor and Galina spent a whole summer working as loaders at
Leonardo Da Vinci Lessons
In these years Vitor already felt craving for different kinds of handicraft. The same Big Soviet Encyclopaedia gave Viktor information on inlaid work and he mastered this technology. To earn money for the family Viktor encrusted various caskets with nacre which he sold, exchanged for something or gave as presents.
Another thing Viktor learned from the Encyclopaedia was electroplating. How glad Viktor’s mother was when she received a huge sparkling crab-casket plated with copper for Mother’s Day. Victor himself caught that
The next Viktor’s achievement became carpet weaving. He saw a picture of the most famous Persian carpet in the Encyclopaedia and read that it was impossible to copy its ornamental pattern. Viktor, of course, immediately got a strong desire to prove that there was nothing impossible for him. Studying the magazine “Science and Life” he came across a guide for “home carpet weaving”. To fulfil the plan he needed a lot of bright woollen threads which were very expensive. So he decided to unknit old woollen blankets and to dye the threads with aniline dye. As a source of white threads Viktor had to use his own
When he was seventeen, being a student of the
The Story of One Talent
Viktor was a five-year-old boy when he persuaded his grandmother to send him to a music school to play the violin. Why did he choose the violin? In
Viktor started to make progress immediately and after a short while he already performed as a premier violinist of an orchestra in
Those years were the time when Viktor started to sing. He was a soloist of a childish choir and also he made two records with his singing of some Robertino Loretti songs, who was very popular at that time. But singing was something that Viktor did under the lash. He was known as a madcap among his peers and music could ruin his public image. This led to Viktor’s decision to give up singing in spite of all teachers’ persuasions. But as it appeared later, this decision was not final.
Playing the violin however was something that Viktor really liked. In his dreams he pretended to be Niccolo Paganini. Seeing the progress of the boy and feeling how much he loved the violin Viktor’s teacher helped him to get a real relic treasure – a violin made by an XVIII century master Antonio dala Costa, the pupil of great Guarnieri. For Viktor’s grandmother buying a piece of wood costing the same as a new “Volga”-car was equal to a feat!
However Viktor’s first years of studying at the music school were not so unclouded. One day Viktor got involved in the event that the pupils and the teachers of the school would remember forever.
Apparently, the young violinist already got inclinations for psychiatry. He strangely managed to irritate his naturally calm and civilized teacher so much that in a fit of temper he broke the violin striking the stubborn boy’s little but strong head. At home Viktor told his grandmother that the bump was the result of a brick fallen from above in a doorway. There was no point in telling the truth – it sounded too unbelievable. Moreover it was quite usual for the boy to get bumps – he used to be often involved in different fights with boys from other schools or districts. Viktor’s mother used to tell him: “Poor you! Poor your little head! You’ll become either a genius or a fool!” As the future proved Viktor definitely did not become a fool…
Having reached the age of fourteen Viktor experienced the process of voice breaking. He suddenly started to sing as a bass and it got less shameful for him to sing. A human voice is a fragile and unpredictable thing. Very often it happens so that boys with a strong voice lose it after the breaking. Viktor was an exception to the rule. At first he had a bass voice, then he felt the rise to a baritone, and finally, he found himself singing as a tenor, as an amazing tenor! It was impossible not to pay attention to that beautiful unusual and strong voice when Viktor started to sing along in a company. However Viktor still was ashamed of his voice considering singing a girls’ prerogative.
Viktor spent a few years keeping silence. One day, when the student of the Medical University was about to get his C in pathophysiology, professor Novitsky who was the head of the amateur theatre of young scientists and who organized festivities for the University in his free time, suggested Viktor to improve his mark by singing in his theatre for the audience of fifteen hundred. Wondering how Viktor found himself in the
But let's go back to the audience of fifteen hundred of the Drama Theatre and the
When Viktor, fighting with his own fear, sang the last note of "It's now or never" by Elvis Presley, the audience broke into applause. After the performance the professor of the Novosibirsk Music Conservatory Lev Studen came up to Viktor and said that it would be a crime for such a talent not to get a proper education.
So the next 5 years Viktor spent studying, performing and travelling between two cities -
After his successful performance in the Drama Theatre, Viktor visited the
The Georgian Story
After his performance at the
They said that almost all the annual budget of the Regional Department of Culture was spent on the reception of the distinguished guests.
It is not known whether it was true or not but six months after the famous Georgian artists' tour in Tomsk the TU-154 was equipped under the aegis of the Department of Culture with the musicians of the Tomsk symphony orchestra, world-wide known dancers Ilyushenovs, the world-famous guitarist Alexei Zimakov and other musicians of Tomsk. Viktor found himself in this lively company with his guitar. There is no need to give the details of the tour. The only thing that is worth mentioning is that hospitability of Georgian people surpassed expectations. On the way from the airport to the city centre, in the main streets of
The concert succeeded. The government, the Georgian elite and all music lovers were there in the hall. After the breathtaking performance all the
The most memorable moment on the way back home for Viktor was that when a frightened stewardess tried to persuade the amused musicians to take their seats because the airplane careened to a side. After landing in
Sometimes it seems that if
Conquering “the Foggy
After his trip to Georgia Viktor was invited as a soloist to take part in the British tour of the popular ensemble "Nuance", since there was a conflict with the former soloist - Sergei Arshavsky. The membership of "Nuance" was very unusual for that time:
Dmitry Pushkarev - a born parodist and mimic. He could easily imitate animal voices, sounds of nature, he parodied well-known artists, created unforgettable funny performances, and he played at least a dozen of Russian folk instruments;
Sergei Kireev perfectly played the guitar, and he also was the composer of the ensemble;
Magomed Archakov sang and played the banjo, the accordion, he created a colourful image of the boy from the mountain Ingush village, he wrote lyrics of the following kind:
“Humble village. Three back roads.
Three old women. Two she-goats.
One old gelding, daddy, me
That’s my homeland. Can you see?”
Later he became a Minister of Communications of Ingush Republic.
Marc-Boris Saveliev used to break ladies' hearts. He played the balalaika and was the only one who had two names.
Alexander Krasnoslobodtsev was the musical director and the arranger of the ensemble; he played the contrabass and the piano.
Before his trip to the
That tour was financed by the Church of England. One of the requirements of the agreement included performances in the churches of
Fulfilling the plan appeared to be not so easy. It turned out that their time registered in the waiting list of the British Embassy had been given to some other persons for some certain sum of money. There they were, the members of the ensemble “Nuance” with a huge contrabass, standing in the middle of the Domodedovo-Airport in
What were they supposed to do? Viktor made a phone call to Armour, the journalist of
The worker of the embassy explained that the only thing he could do was to admit one of the artists to the embassy’s territory, otherwise he would be fired. He could not give any guarantees of their receiving the visa. As Viktor was the only person able to express himself in English he was appointed to take risk and to illegally pass through the embassy’s territory to the trailer of the administrative staff which was standing in the courtyard in front of the gate obstructing the way for a crowd of citizens willing to get their visas.
Having reached the place without being noticed Viktor concealed himself in the shadow of a high stone wall fencing the embassy’s courtyard. He chose a “victim” with his eyes – a pretty young Englishwoman – and started to hypnotize her with his enigmatic look. The embarrassed girl kept glancing at the peculiar-looking tall young man and after a little while she started to realize what the eyes of the eastern “tempter” were praying for without any words. Several times she went outside in confusion in order to bring coffee for the occupants of the trailer who couldn’t do without it in such an unbearable heat. Each time Viktor gallantly opened the door for her and silently implored her to help occasionally whispering something and showing the magic fax-invitation. To the left of the young girl there was a typical English “old shrew” who was strictly keeping her eye on the doubtful colleague ready to give in. Nevertheless after four hours of the psychological attack the young worker decided to break the working discipline’s rules and beckoned Viktor with her fine finger. Not able to believe the fortune he rushed to the window ready to serenade his lady-rescuer till the next morning. Ten minutes passed and everything was over. The happy victor came out through the gate accompanied with astonished and suspicious looks of the crowd. Viktor told his fellow-musicians about the luck and headed for an enormous bouquet of red roses. When after a couple of hours the same pretty lady was handing out the passports with visas to few lucky men Viktor presented her with those gorgeous flowers…
However it was not the end to the
Fortune smiled on the musicians again. On one of the three days left before the departure the committee assembled. It still remains a riddle for the “Nuance’s” members how Viktor managed to persuade the photographer to put off the other orders but the next day he was standing in the hall of the museum in front of the boardroom holding the precious violin and the needed photographs in his hands. However the musicians of the famous ensemble “Moscow Virtuosi” with the master Vladimir Spivakov were standing ahead. They were leaving for
After a couple of days “the Foggy Albion” was welcoming the heroes…
The first concert was that in an enormous Anglican Cathedral. The feeling of butterflies in the stomachs was so strong that generous Joe Cummins, the representative of the host, presented the musicians with a big bottle of genuine “Napoleon” for them to relieve the stress. The inexperienced “boozers” drank too much by the beginning of the second part but started to realize that when it was already too late. And Viktor was to execute the famous czardas “Monti” at a furious tempo 60/4. In order not to disgrace himself in the last and the fastest part the quick-witted violinist, as if in a burst of emotions, fell to his knees on the stage and finished playing accompanied by the storm of applause drowning the crazy cacophony performed by the light-headed but happy “maestro”.
Then a series of seventeen concerts in different cities and towns of
But the most uncommon concert took place in a prison camp for recidivists. These were the criminals convicted of killing in the heat of passion serving life-term imprisonments according to the laws of
“We were greatly surprised, - tells Dmitry Pushkarev – when from the stage we saw a crowd of well-dressed people showing no signs of interest in us. Each convict was occupied with his own business. Some of them were even hugging drabs sitting in their laps and freely flirting with them. Before the performance we had been explained that the prisoners lived in separate wards which were furnished perhaps even better than our own flats in
In whole, this concert was better than that in the boarding house. By the middle of the performance we eventually attracted the attention of the convicts and by the end we felt that we belonged – we heard friendly claps and shouts. After the concert some of the convicts asked for our autographs and even our addresses. We were afraid imagining murderers as guests in our homes. But the prison’s administration reassured us telling that the prisoners felt quite good there and that there were no convicts who had escaped in the whole history of the prison. They needed our addresses only to write letters”.
During the whole British tour Viktor was hoping to visit
To complete the trip the “Nuance” gave several concerts in
The day before the departure the Anglican Church invited the “Nuance” to a symbolic sale. The artists were supposed to pay a few pounds and choose souvenirs as remembrances. This event stayed in the memory of musicians for a long time – one of
As the ensemble was leaving
The Music Conservatory Period
On coming back to
At first the conservatory’s department was alert and cautious with the young and bold reformer. No academic professor could like it when for the first time in the history of the “
Before entering the music conservatory Viktor visited a phoniatrist, a doctor specializing in the work of vocal cords. What for? He had a habit of evaluating his abilities before starting something new. He wanted to consult the specialist about the state of the “instrument” he would use for many years.
How astonished and happy he was when the doctor having examined his mouth exclaimed: “I haven’t seen anything like that before!” It turned out that nature presented the singer with amazing vocal cords. Vocal cords of ordinary tenors look like two parallel thin and short rectangles, those of basses – like two thick and long rectangles and Viktor, as a result of a successful natural mutation, possessed the unique trapezium-structured vocal cords which gave him a possibility to use his voice in an exceptionally great range – from bass to contra-tenor.
Today Viktor’s dream to sing as a tenor, a baritone and a bass has come true. The range of his voice extends to 3,5 octaves compared with only 2-2,5 octaves characteristic for other professional singers.
After several years of study Viktor’s personality became even more mysterious for the conservatory public. The amount of rumours and tall tales about him was constantly growing. The most inexplicable thing for the environment was the fact that possessing only an original variety voice Viktor managed to learn the art of the true Italian opera singing ‘Bell Canto” in five years. He was the first to achieve this! One can use the fingers of his right hand to count the world’s real voices of the “Bell Canto” school: Andrea Bocelli, Placido Domingo, Jussi Bjorling, Vladimir Atlantov, Dmitry Hvorostovsky. All these singers, except for Andrea Bocelli, were born with good opera voices which they brought to perfection by means of training.
Viktor didn’t possess an inborn opera voice but his medical education and liking for solving intellectual riddles helped him to see something which had been hidden from the eyes of people for hundreds of years.
Studying the works of great Italians (Garcia, Lamperti) and matching them to the observations of the great Russian pathophysiologist Sechenov Viktor cleared up the mystery of the antique Italian school of singing which had disappeared together with the death of the last masters. He even supplemented this secret with his own unique method of teaching based on modern techniques. This method not only gave Viktor a possibility to develop his ‘second” voice but also allowed to teach a young Russian folk music performer. After eight months of study Diana became an opera soprano and won the second place in the international Elena Obrztsova Competition in
Today Viktor is a Master of Arts and an opera singer according to his music conservatory diploma. Perhaps, he is the only person who can easily sing jazz, pop and rock and at the same time is able to switch his vocal apparatus to opera resonators making his voice ten times louder so that he can sing in any hall without a microphone making no particular efforts. There is also the third variant of his voice – the combination of opera and variety voices. In some songs this effect makes his singing unforgettable. Because of such peculiarities of the singer’s voice and his ability to make his voice ‘fly’ from a deep bass up to high soprano notes the conservatory students would often come up to Viktor and with the greatest admiration ask him: “How do you do that?!”…
After graduation from the music conservatory Viktor came to
A year after the visit to the “RosConcert” Viktor went on his first European tour with the Symphony Orchestra of Boguslav Davidov, a Polish orchestra conductor, Herbert von Karajan’s pupil. During that period the musicians heard tremendous ovations of public in the best concert halls of
“I Sing the Heart Electric”
On returning to Russia Viktor gave a gala concert in the Novosibirsk State Opera and Ballet Theatre presenting the laser sensity show “I Sing the Heart Electric” with the assistance of Lyudmila Selutina and Konstantin Kostin’s model agency and the participation of Russian and foreign runway models. The biggest opera hall of Russia was absolutely full for the first time. About 3000 people saw the show. Over 100 people performed on the stage. More than 500 people from
After the event the show was called “a magic flight” by the press. The newspapers wrote that the whole audience was under a hypnotic influence of the extraordinary singer’s voice.
When the show was over one could see the spectators hugging and holding hands, it seemed that everyone felt belonging to one big family. Thousands of smiles and the boundless happiness were lighting up the theatre. Near Viktor’s dressing room there was a queue of 200 people willing to tell about their feelings. Some of them claimed that they didn’t feel the blues anymore, some of them had got rid of headaches but what everyone supported was the feeling of complete happiness and total amazement with such an influence of singing. More than a thousand of people were sharing their emotions with each other in the Theatre’s square and would not leave the place fearing to lose that novel feeling of harmony and pacification.
“It’s so nice that you sang in Italian! We didn’t have to think about the meaning of the words. The only thing we did was listening to the magic of your voice and the beauty of the language hovering in the sound” – the people kept exclaiming.
After the show Viktor received a phone call from Olga, the wife of a great Russian Greco-Roman wrestler Alexander Karelin. She asked Viktor to sing her husband’s favourite song “Caruso” at his jubilee in the same theatre. To her question: “How much do we have to pay?” Viktor replied: “I would be honoured to sing for Alexander without any honorarium, but I have one little condition – I would like to have a dinner with your spouse. I’ve heard that he is a master of telling anecdotes”.
The next day after the jubilee Viktor and Alexander had a night-long talk in a restaurant “Vostok”. Mr Karelin was excellently telling his stories and Viktor was roaring with laughter. Here is one of Alexander’s jokes:
“Examining one of the works of an artist a visitor of his studio asked: “Why does the cow have two udders in this picture?” – “That’s how I see it” was the artist’s reply. “Will you excuse me for my question again, but why does the lady have four breasts in this picture” – asked the surprised visitor again. “That’s how I see it” – answered the thoughtful artist after a meaningful pause. “Then if you have such a terrible eyesight, why on earth do you paint?!” – exclaimed the visitor with compassion”.
At the jubilee in the Opera Theatre among the other
BMW Presentation in the “Arkhangelskoye” Estate
The following year Viktor was invited by Sergei Kupriyanov, the president of the concert organization “Arlekino”, to perform at the presentation of the seventh BMW model in the famous “Arkhangelskoye” Estate near
Aleksey Yeremich, Viktor’s first art-director and his good friend, tells: “When we arrived we saw an amazing spectacle! There were giant white marquees on the emerald green grass with the antique Russian tsars’ estate as a background. Inside the marquees one could find enormous tables with unbelievable amounts of exquisite foods on them. The paths for the spectators were covered with artificial snow which was miraculously glimmering in the light of hundreds of candles. It was a magic summer night”.
The presentation was supposed to be visited by several hundreds of the richest people in
Before the beginning of the show Sergei Kupriyanov came up to Viktor and asked him to perform so that he could sway the audience to the fullest. Viktor replied: “I will do my best. To electrify such a passive audience with only one song makes me feel a sporting interest!”
After a procession of camels and dances of oriental beauties Viktor’s turn to perform came. At that moment in the marquees one could hear loud voices and laughter of the movers and shakers. The silence of the night air was broken by clinking of glasses, whining of forks scraping plates and rhythmic crunching of a hundred of jaws gulping down the luxurious foods.
Viktor had never performed in front of such an audience. But the magic of music is all-powerful. After the first bars played by the best Russian accompanist the noise abated a little. And with the first notes of the brilliant Italian “Bell Canto” the noise died down, and a perfect silence reigned over the estate. Only the music and the voice were holding sway over the public bating their breaths and majestically shimmering vehicles.
The voice was telling a story about an unfortunate wretch holding his dying beloved who stayed faithful to him till the last day in his arms. The voice was telling how the young soul was gradually leaving the beautiful body. At the moment of rapture the voice broke for a second … and then soared in the final passage. A simultaneous exhalation followed. The sound of the piano had already subsided and the voice was still mournfully sustaining the final note tinged with marvellous falsetto overtones until it came to a hardly heard pianissimo.
Remembering no statuses or social elite’s rituals in a common burst of joy the audience rushed to the singer. Their faces were lit up with happy, almost childish naпve smiles.
After the show Viktor heard numerous words of gratitude from the organizers. They had never witnessed such a transformation of that much sophisticated public. They had never touched upon the grandeur of the real art…
A New Year Concert in the Reception House of the Russian Government
At the turn of the year 2006 Viktor together with other Russian stars (Nikolay Baskov, Alexander Serov, Kristina Orbakaite and others) was invited by the officials of the
After the concert which had been announced a great event in the country’s cultural life some of the Government members asked for a CD of the singer unknown in
Viktor’s reply to all questions was that “a song must “be born” at the beginning of a concert and “die” at the end of it lingering in the memory of its listeners forever. Recording a CD is very responsible. You will never have a possibility to change the record. And if you realize in some years that your CD is not perfect, you will not be able to withdraw the whole number of copies”.
Nevertheless, today Viktor feels that he has reached a very high level in his musical and creative development and he can not hide his music anymore. At the moment two absolutely different CDs of this master are being worked at. They are so diverse that it’s hard to believe that they belong to one and the same singer…
As it was mentioned above, during his studies in the music conservatory Viktor used to drive from
Here are Viktor’s recollections:
“In summer of the year 2001 my bodyguard Aleksey and I were tearing at full speed to
As to the right of the car there was the rail with a four-metre ravine and a ploughed field behind it the common sense was telling me to direct the car to the left in order to fly the post by and stay on the road. But miraculously I realized that I would not be able to do so due to the laws of physics. Without thinking I steered the wheels as right as possible thus accelerating the turning towards the post. As a result after two seconds the car hit the rail having made a 90 degrees turn. So the rear entrance was crushed instead of a head-on impact which could cause the engine to fly into the inside of the car. Due to the unthinkable impact force the rail turned down and practically cut the car into halves. The turned rail acted as a springboard: the remains of the distorted sedan flew to the ravine, the wound rear twirling in the air, and the bonnet slipping down. So the two-ton car made a 360 degrees turn in the air, hit the ground with its cut rear and then on its top covered the distance of
Strangely, there was no fear. Such “luxury” can not be afforded when your own life and the life of your friend are in danger. During the whole moment of floating in the air the same voice from the inside that had helped to reach the right decision was persistently taunting us with a scoffing irony. The minute before the accident we were discussing delicious Uigur pancakes with curds that were served in a cafй near the Bolotnoye – village. The moment we were rushing towards the post the voice was saying: “Not to the post! Not to the post!” When the car flew into the air and started to revolve the voice exclaimed: “Oh! That’s the sky! …” and after a moment: “Oh! That’s the ground!” And when the car was sliding down the field on its top our heads pressed against the roof the voice muttered: “The main thing is not to bump against a stump!” And finally, when it was clear that we stayed alive the voice said ironically: “Oh my! That’s how we ate the pancakes! The main thing now is not to have the tank burst!”
When we were getting out of the car having undone the safety belts with difficulty we saw a ring of tens of people who were slowly approaching the smoking Lexus believing that no one inside had survived. An exclamation of astonishment and gladness was heard from the witnesses when they noticed the live passengers crawling out. Among the gawkers there was a detachment of a special police squad who were returning after drills from
The analysis of the accident’s causes showed that road workers drilled a deep gap, a car-wheel-wide and three meters-long. The rain flooded it and when the wheels of our car got right to its brink the two right tire casings were at once cut. That’s why the car dashed right. The tank didn’t burst by a lucky accident – a badly tightened clamp of the accumulator got lost because of the impact and the car was de-energized.
In general, this situation, its causes as well as what helped to overcome it can be interpreted differently. Apparently, the right decision and good luck were the two things that saved us. Interestingly enough, later I found several icons in the glove compartment which had been put there by my ex-wife
Business the Way Russians Do It
After graduation from the
Viktor’s starting his business meant the foundation of the biggest household appliances supplier in Russian – the company “Tomtex” and later the biggest furniture supplier in the country – the company “Tomterra”.
So how was the company called “a company-phenomenon” by the “Kommersant Daily” created? What was phenomenal was that the company appeared out of nowhere, without any initial capital and it took it only a year to become one of the biggest furniture suppliers in Russia and CIS having 17 branch offices in big cities of Russia and Kazakhstan and monthly importing 60 goods vans from Lithuania which corresponded to 6000 furniture assemblage sets a month.
As far back as in the last years of study at the university Viktor thought about a brilliant career and financial independence. Since his childhood it had been really difficult for him to submit to somebody especially to somebody who had no authority in his eyes because of the intellectual level or outlook differences. So working at the Mental Health Research Institute of Russian Academy of Sciences and having no prospects there Viktor accepted Eduard Bondarenko’s offer to create the “Tomtex” - group together.
Viktor was surprised by his first visit to the “office” of the company as it was a room in the hotel “Sputnik”. He saw two yesterday’s students willing to make money somehow. Viktor tried to ask them about their achievements and progress but the guys hurried to change the subject. “Ok, we’ll have to start from scratch” – Viktor thought to himself.
Viktor had no idea how to start. It happened so that the first evening Viktor spent in the office there was a phone call from
After 30 minutes of conversing Viktor suddenly understood that the person he was talking to was Stephan Tikhonenko, the leader of the
And six month later the name “Tomtex” was known everywhere in the country as the name of a corporation supplying office equipment from
The Indian Story
Viktor’s relationships with
In the representative office of the company “Takral International” in Moscow Viktor conducted the first six-hour negotiations with Gurdip, the company’s joint owner. During the negotiations the Sikh kept occasionally becoming silent and looking into his Siberian interlocutor’s eyes for long periods of time. Viktor remembers: “His enormous deep black eyes made me feel creepy all over. It was absolutely impossible to understand what he was thinking about. This effect was intensified by a bracelet, a comb in his long hair, a dagger, a grey beard, a big moustache and exotic national garments – a kurta and a turban”.
At the end of the negotiations Anna, the interpreter and
Viktor could not believe his ears! An interest-free credit without any guarantees! That was unbelievable! However a month later two vans with new generation TV sets arrived to the “
Later on there came deliveries of antibiotics and pain relievers from
After several years Viktor asked Gurdip why he had taken the risk of entrusting his goods to an unfamiliar young man who had graduated from university not so long ago and had not a penny to bless himself with. The Sikh answered: “It was not a risk. Symbols on stones”. Having consulted a translator Viktor learned that the Sikh had profound knowledge of psychology, was deeply faithful and believed in one God and human will. He saw Viktor’s resemblance to the face of the ideal generalized character created by representations of Indian people. The features of this character were represented in the pictures of Buddha, Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, Buddhism and Judaism gods.
Viktor was deeply impressed by the essence of Sikh religion. In his opinion, Sikhism is the only religion which does not lose touch with reality and its values are extremely close to universal understanding of ethics and morals. Viktor accepts the basic dogmata of Sikhism in his soul. Perhaps, that’s the reason why the Sikhs were not mistaken when choosing him as a representative of the Russian culture…
The Sikhs believe in one God. Sikhism advocates the pursuit of salvation through disciplined, personal meditation on the name and message of God.
The essence of Sikh teaching is summed up by these words: "Realization of Truth is higher than all else. Higher still is truthful living". Sikh teaching emphasizes the principle of equality of all humans and rejects discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, and gender.
In Sikhism, God is shapeless, timeless, and sightless. God is omnipresent and infinite. Sikhs believe that before creation, all that existed was God and its will or order. When God willed, the entire cosmos was created.
While a full understanding of God is beyond human beings, Sikhism describes God as not wholly unknowable. God is omnipresent in all creation and visible everywhere to the spiritually awakened. The religion stresses that God must be seen from "the inward eye", or the "heart", of a human being: devotees must meditate to progress towards enlightenment. Sikhism emphasizes the revelation through meditation, as its rigorous application permits the existence of communication between God and human beings.
Sikh teachings are founded not on a final destination of heaven or hell, but on a spiritual union with God which results in salvation. The chief obstacles to the attainment of salvation are social conflicts and an attachment to worldly pursuits, which commit men and women to an endless cycle of birth — a concept known as reincarnation.
In Sikhism, the influences of ego, anger, greed, attachment, and lust — known as the Five Evils — are believed to be particularly pernicious. The fate of people vulnerable to the Five Evils is separation from God.
Salvation can be reached only through rigorous and disciplined devotion to God. Devotion must take place through the heart, with the spirit and the soul. According to Sikhs the supreme purpose of human life is to reconnect with Truth. However, our Ego is the biggest disease in the reunion with Truth and God and the solution to this disease also lies within human ego (mind and body). Human body is just a means to achieve the reunion with Truth. Truth is a form of matter which lies within human body but is beyond the realm of time or death. Once truth starts to shine in a person’s heart, the essence of current and past holy books of all religions is understood by the person [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sikhism].
Viktor also believes that a man does not start a life from scratch – all people continue their existence when they are born. A person’s family background, a country he is born in, his nationality – all that determines his individuality. But in addition, he is given his will and so he is responsible for what he does. He can use his will to change the given character or neutralize his past. God gives people strength and energy but does not free them from responsibility.
Inside a person there is an infinite depth and a man is able to see his own ignorance and sins himself, through the light he finds in his soul.
A sense of one’s own identity is the lowest level of consciousness which is present even among animals. Extending the scopes of our consciousness we start to treat others as a part of ourselves. We walk up to the level of our families, to the level of society, to the level of Nature and finally to the level of God…
That is how a young graduate of the
The next day he was introduced to the Indian йlite. During that evening the Minister of Culture, the Minister of Sports and the Fleet Admiral of India Kurana made an acquaintance with him. But all that was not the main thing. Viktor was given the warmest welcome by the Admiral’s daughter, Ravina Kurana. Within a couple of days their likings grew into a whirlwind romance. Ravina introduced Viktor to an йlite Indian golf-club and showed him the sights of the city. Viktor got one of the strongest impressions after visiting the Taj Mahal palace in
In the 17th century in the northern part of modern
Seventeen years the pair of sweethearts lived in peace and harmony. Beautiful Mumtaz was admired not only by Jahan, but by common people as well. Being so merciful, responsive, modest and faithful she soon became the first woman who took part in the management of state affairs. The beloved of the shah gave birth to thirteen heirs. And in 1629 the birth of the fourteenth child was darkened by a bitter grief – Mumtaz died.
Right before her death she asked Jahan to honour two requests of hers – not to get married again and to build a unique and inimitable burial vault for her. The shah implemented the will of his beloved. He ceased to notice women around him and built the mausoleum Taj Mahal, which is translated from Persian as “a crown palace”.
On the outskirts of
Now the walls of white polished marble are twined with an elegant carving. The whole palace is inlayed by shining iridescent jewels. Because of the unique properties of marble the mausoleum possesses a magic characteristic – under the rising Sun it seems pastel pink, at noon it dazzles, at the sunset it burns with gold and at night it glitters like silver.
Due to the intense heat (
Pierre Cardin’s Show
The most exciting event of Viktor’s visit to
On Indian Parliament’s invitation the legendary French couturier came to
“After dark we arrived at the entrance of a fortified wall. We went through antique gates carved and inlayed with gemstones and found ourselves in a wonderful garden of blossoming tropical trees. We saw beautified elephants with small pavilions on their backs. Inside the pavilions one could find young Hindus in bright garments holding baskets with rose leaves. The elephants were hurling their trunks back drawing the leaves in and then generously strewing the guests with a “pink rain”. We walked to the edge of a giant pit which appeared to be a real volcano’s crater. Far below there was an iridescent stage. The chairs rowed right on the clinkers seemed a- small-coin sized from above. The crater was edged with ruins of some ancient castles lit up by colourful lights. A twisting stone stairway cut in the rock was leading down the crater. Everything was magically affecting the guests’ minds.
When the plateau was packed with a thousand of people a laser fashion show began. It seemed that aliens were walking on the stage in glaring costumes of queer forms made of some unknown material. Video filming or taking pictures was forbidden but I managed to sneak a camera in the coat of my suit and to film the startling performance.
When the show was over I was introduced to the great fashion maestro. This magical night gave me a long-lasting inspiration and became a source of many creative ideas for me”…
The Pillar of Happiness
During a walk around
There exists a belief that if someone manages to encompass the pillar with outstretched arms standing with his back to it he will have a happy life and all his dreams will come true.
There was a queue near the pillar. People kept pressing themselves to the polished surface of the pillar trying to make at least their fingertips to close up behind it. However no one was able to do so.
When Viktor’s turn came he easily coped with the challenge (the spread of the newly-made pilgrim’s arms made
Viktor learned afterwards that “Mahatma” is translated from Hindi as “a great soul”. Hindus use this word to call people who have developed such extraordinary abilities and have reached such levels of spiritual knowledge which can be available for ordinary people only after countless numbers of transformations on the way to cosmic evolution if they don’t run counter to targets of nature and don’t destruct themselves.
What the pilgrim saw in Viktor’s left palm was the confluence of heart and head lines which is one of the signatures of a Mahatma. Viktor was aware of such a peculiarity of his hands. Studying at the
However this was not the end of the story. The next day the student received a parcel from his granny who lived in
Commenting upon this story a few years later Viktor said: “The East is too delicate. The most important thing is to treat its customs and traditions respectively and positively and not to lose touch with reality. No one can reach the peak of perfection. But everyone must strive for it”…
The Corporation “Tomterra”
The romanticism of Viktor’s first business experience in “Tomtex” vanished after a year. Because of his charismatic nature Viktor attracted rich foreigners who didn’t doubt his honesty and sold great interest-free consignments for realization. But Viktor was unaware of such human vices as meanness, greediness and betrayal. He had never encountered them and had never had such great sums of money.
The firm’s director Eduard Bondarenko and its financial officer Dmitry Buznik along with Ilya Tupitsin, a former black marketeer, sold the batch of TV-sets for $300000 and transferred the money to some unknown accounts in
At that hard time creditors dealt with debtors shortly. So the Turks asked some
Today Eduard Merker owns a plastic surgery clinic which he has purchased for the money stolen from Sikhs and Turks and, as it seems, feels quite comfortable. Well, everybody ought to do his own thing. Yet, probably, sometime such swindlers get their bitters. There must be justice in this world. By the way, to use doctor Merker’s services visit the web-site www.merker.ru.
Having left the firm “Tomtex” due to the objective reasons stone broke Viktor soon founded his own firm “Corporation Tomterra”. After six month the firm became the biggest furniture importer in
How was such a result obtained? Visiting his comrade Antanas Lukashavjachus in the capital of Lithuania Vilnius Viktor noticed that Lithuanian telephone directories gave more than a hundred numbers of furniture plants. Considering the small sizes of the country’s territory Viktor supposed, and after some time got to know for sure, that in
In the same period Viktor successfully realized one more project which was extremely important for
The years of conducting business in “Tomterra” had an important influence on Viktor’s character and professionalism development in the sphere of practical economy. In addition, he made a series of interesting acquaintances and participated in a number of events which altered his attitude to people and to himself and taught him the rules of etiquette and ethics that were not taught anywhere in Russia at that time.
One of the most memorable events was the arrival of two real billionaires, Darcy from
Viktor still has to stifle his laughter when he tells about his trip to the mountains in search of antlers together with the foreigners. As it appeared later the real antlers the businessmen were interested in had never been found in the Altai region. So the travellers and Viktor flew from
During the business trip communicating with Darcy and Amrik in huge deluxe suites Viktor noticed for the first time that his humble little travelling bag with personal care items could not be compared with enormous trunks of cosmetics for men the billionaires were travelling with. Seeing Viktor’s surprised expression Darcy commented that “a person’s care about his appearance should be equal to his respect to himself and to the respect he wishes to get from the others”. Viktor learned this lesson for the rest of his life…
The Biotechnological Complex
One day after a lesson at the music conservatory Eugeny Burunov, Viktor’s acquaintance, told him about a miracle-working book by Napoleon Hill “Think and Grow Rich”. “This book is going to change your mind!” – said Eugeny. At that moment Viktor’ processing agreement with
Viktor got down to studying the recommended book with a great enthusiasm. Having finished reading he really realized some of the mistakes he had made in his life and business. After a while of reconsideration Viktor started to implement the idea of building the first Russian biotechnological complex for grain crops processing which accidentally came to his mind. In order to build a business-plan he had to study all existing foreign sources of literature on the topic of this field of industry and to visit a lot of design institutes of
Of all the bright events of those years the most memorable for Viktor was his meeting with a representative of the World Bank, an imposing Italian and a doctor of economy.
One winter day the above-mentioned Italian came to the plant territory on call of the region administration. Viktor was waiting for him in the spacious director-general’s office. After they met Viktor offered the foreigner Russian Vodka but he refused. Soon after the beginning of the conversation the banker started to put pressure on Viktor assuring that it was impossible to build such a gigantic plant using eight times less funds than it was necessary in
“The laws of economy are universal” – said the foreign expert arrogantly, - “Miracles are impossible”.
The latter phrase piqued Viktor.
“Ok” – he answered, - “Have you ever thought about the fact that sometimes such things can happen in our lives that seemed absolutely inconceivable only five minutes earlier? For example, can you believe now that being at the Tomsk biotechnological plant, in the director’s office, you will hear that director singing any aria you would like him to sing in a perfect Italian using the ancient “Bell Canto” techniques? “
The banker looked at Viktor as if he was a seriously diseased person and sympathetically uttered:
“Of course, I will never believe in such nonsense!”
“All right. Then make out your order!” – Viktor parried.
The aria his visitor chose - “Dicitincello vuje” (Falvo) - appeared to be elementary for Viktor. He stood in the centre of his enormous office-room and sang with his unbelievably beautiful timbre in a perfect Italian.
The most interesting thing was the process of changing of the stiff foreigner’s expression. At first he winced, then wiped his misted glasses and, finally, burst into tears. He was so deeply shocked that after the end of the aria he could not speak for a while. The first words the foreigner uttered were: “Could you pour me your alcohol?” The aged expert drank a third of a glass with
“I have never seen or heard anything similar in my entire in life! You, Russians, are a real mystery for me. And if the director of the plant can without any preparations sing an aria in Italian no worse than the best soloists of “
After that the economist paternally hugged his young Siberian opponent who managed to radically change his world outlook and left a deep mark in his life…
Today Viktor can rarely be seen performing on stage and participating in concerts. This fact is connected with an extreme demand for him in the highly intellectual engineering business. He is a member of the council of experts in the field of biotechnologies of the State Duma of the
In 2010 some of the sport facilities projects created by Viktor’s projecting institute “ROSSPETSPROEKT” won the first and the third places in the national contest of the best mass sports projects organized by Russian Ministry of Sports, Tourism and Youth Policy and the political party “United Russia”. Viktor was the one to develop the entire projects and to lead the process of their realization by the institute’s specialists.
The Code of Life
Nowadays, having gained wide experience in business, Viktor challenges many of Napoleon Hill and Dale Carnegie’s ideas and the American psychology of success as a whole. In his opinion, these “three apostles” of the American dream in reality can have a wrecking influence on people’s psychic. A person’s whole life is aimed at the much-talked about success which is measured only by money and fame. Nothing is said about the most important things that a person needs – happiness and love.
According to Napoleon Hill’s advice, people should set the most unbelievable goals, cultivate a burning desire for reaching those goals at any cost, and imagine gobs of money at night as if they already possessed them. But in reality when millions of people do not get the desired result disappointment, depression and the feeling of dissatisfaction start to seize them which results in shootings at schools, in offices and in the streets. In practice an illusive dream is fulfilled only in rear cases by highly gifted people who, unfortunately, belong to the minority.
Viktor suggests his own method of gaining success: “One should always set real and feasible goals basing on the knowledge and talents of a particular person, on his professionalism. In addition to that, there should always be a dream-goal the achievement of which is practically impossible. Having these two types of goals leads to gradually attaining constant success and strengthening of a person’s confidence in his abilities, competence and importance. And having a dream lets a person always have a possibility to find the answer to the eternal question of the purpose of life as he still has something to strive for, no matter the circumstances. However the most important thing for a person is to understand that a dream is a dream, and it can or can not be fulfilled”.
In Dale Carnegie’s works Viktor sees the following inaccuracies:
“The book tells much about how to become a friend to a right person at any cost. First of all, it’s cynical to try to stir up warm feelings in a person you actually don’t like, whom you need only to take advantage of his professional opportunities, social status and connections. And, secondly, Dale Carnegie does not consider the cases when the “right person” appears an immoral negative type or an imperious psychopath. It would be curious to try applying Carnegie’s techniques of making friends in such a case. Here copying your opponent’s pose or gestures simply won’t do as he will not pay attention to you due to his “bad” nature”.
Instead of such insincere and ineffective techniques Viktor successfully uses the method of “casting away and gathering stones together”.
“You need to take a sober view of life and should not try to “tame” anyone who is around you and who can help you. There are many people in this world who are “your people”, that is they are suitable for you due to their psycho-physiological peculiarities and they are sure to like you when you meet and to feel a desire to help you. However there are much more people who won’t meet you wishes. Because of the same psychological reasons they will prefer to get away from you as soon as possible. These people are not “yours”. Then why do you need to take a long time to persuade the first comer who is likely to belong to the second type?
That is why it is advisable to inform as many people as you can about your new undertakings and initiatives. Let it be a distribution of a written presentation of your firm and your services. If your offer is interesting and it has prospects among a thousand of receivers there will surely appear tens of your potential partners. Moreover these partners will be scattered all over your city or, perhaps, all over your country. So what is better? Flying across the country and spending much money and time for negotiations or clearly formulating the advantages of your offer, giving it an effective form, printing a thousand copies and sending them to every corner of the country using the database of all your potential clients?”
On the basis of his unique experience in business and his knowledge of people’s behaviour psychology, and having summarized everything he got during his trips to 50 different countries, Viktor formulated his own Code of Life and Success:
- You should always focus on positive thoughts;
- Gather only those people around you who wish you well and always wish other people well in turn;
- Concentrate on the most important thing, do not spread yourself too thinly;
- Always set real goals in your life and do your best to reach them constantly improving your plan. But don’t forget about your main goal – the dream of your life. If you stay faithful to it - sometime it may come true;
- Always be a specialist in your field. Whatever you do – do it better than your competitors;
- Do not cease to study, develop yourself and get new education and knowledge that you need. Stay persistent, patient, hardworking and consistent;
- Never let such human vices as avidity, hatred, envy and pride seize you. They are simply unfavourable and can perniciously influence your personality;
- Never mind the “public opinion”. It simply does not exist. Your opinion is the voice of your heart and mind;
- Do not trust the mass-media. Treat them only as sources of information. Always use your head and check the facts up. Remember that if someone tries to persuade you with the help of mass-media, you are not the one who needs that – you are somebody’s means of defending his interests;
- Any of your actions (not in a case of a love affair) should be accompanied by the process of thinking and analyzing (within reasonable limits, of course);
- Give only that advice which you are sure of and which you have tested yourself;
- Always be honest. Lying humiliates your personality and makes you put yourself too low;
- Have a will to say “no” if it is what you feel;
- Never put up with injustice. This abases your dignity;
- Be able to fight off the offender’s charge if he humiliates you or someone who can not fight for his own hand;
- Never follow the principle: “Having received a slap – turn the other cheek”. From the psychological point of view this moral is baneful and a rational person can not accept it;
- Avoid vengeance. As life shows, revengeful feelings burn you from within. It’s always better to have it out with your opponent at once;
- Find a way to neutralize all your negative thoughts and emotions. Do not let them linger;
- Only self-actualization, a labour of love and loved people can make you happy and bring a meaning to your life. Without these things you are nobody, your mind is tangled, depressed and you feel no purpose of your existence;
- Never forget that life is unique. You will never live your life again. You need to live as long and to be as happy as you can. For this reason your health should be the most important thing for you as your happiness is. Stick to a healthy life-style, eat healthy food, do not become a fat boy. Your youth span directly depends on your thoughts and actions. People grow old only when they are ready for that. Never accept your age – always stay young in your mind. You’ll see that the youth will stay with you and the aging will be waited;
- If someone calls you to sacrifice your health or even life to some person or some thing, do not yield to the provocation. There can be no such values which are worth risking your health or even life. Sacrificing yourself is a sin and shows only fanaticism and folly. It’s always possible to solve a problem reasonably, amicably, or even to prevent a problem using your intellect;
- Avoid baseless risks – getting adrenaline, for example. It is silly and shows only lack of imagination, intellect and favourite activity. And if a risk is unavoidable you can always control it if you don’t panic and use your mind;
- Never lend money to anyone if you want to preserve your relationships with others and to have your own budget. Everyone must earn his living himself. You can only lend some little sums to your friends if you are ready not to get the money back. Try not to have credits at banks because, as life shows, eventually, such credits bring benefits only to a bank, but not to a borrower. It’s better to find some alternative way of earning money using your natural talents and then deposit your profits in a bank at interest. Let a bank work for your benefit.
Today Viktor’s reference books are “The Alchemist” and “The Manual of the Warrior of Light” by Paulo Coelho, “Jonathan Livingston Seagull” by Richard Bach and many other masterpieces of modern literature. These works bring light of joy, warmth of human knowledge and love to the world. They give a supply of positive energy, create a good mood and waken a wish to live and to create.
In spite of his great achievements in intellectual business Viktor can not imagine himself without music. He will soon start his promotion in the Russian show-business…