The Kremlin celebrates New Year’s Eve on television: style evocative of a Greek wedding
Thanks to smotrim.ru, the internet broadcaster of state and commercial television in both live and call-up streaming modes, I was able to sample how Official Russia packaged New Year’s Eve for consumption by an audience numbering tens of millions who tuned in across the Federation.
Though there were amusing vintage Soviet films on offer the whole day long, the party really began only after midnight, following the President’s televised address to the nation. This speech, in which Putin spoke against a background of male and female warriors in the Southern Military District headquarters, has, to my surprise, been given reasonable coverage on the BBC and on Euronews this morning. Not as much coverage as Zelensky’s rant to his nation last night, but long enough for Putin to be allowed to score several points in his justification for the Special Military Operation. Accordingly, I will skip directly to the entertainment program which followed.
The show was constructed around a succession of popular songs delivered by well known Russian crooners, male and female, young and old. A string orchestra accompanied some numbers, a sole guitarist or pianist accompanied others. Professional dancers lent support to still others.
There were a number of presenters. Among them, I would call the lead a certain Andrei Malakhov, fifty years old, who is the television host of a scaled down version of this type of songfest every weekend. Andrei is a warm personality, a gallant, who regularly brings on stage many superannuated singers, mostly women, in the most kindly and respectful manner. When I say ‘old,’ I mean old: the well-known lady composer who performed last night as piano accompanist to one singer must be in her 90s; the whole nation was aware of her illness with Covid last year; judging by last night, she seems to have emerged invincible.