Sergei Sobyanin: VDNKh at its finest as it gears up for another anniversary

Sergei Sobyanin: VDNKh at its finest as it gears up for another anniversary
Photo: Photo by the Mayor and Moscow Government Press Service. Denis Grishkin
VDNKh has become one of the capital’s most popular attractions, and a venue for concerts, festivals, exhibitions plus all kinds of other activities.

In a Twitter message, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin congratulated VDNKh on its 79th anniversary. He wrote that the complex was at its finest as it prepared to celebrate yet another anniversary: its Central Pavilion was renovated, and the historical fountains restored.

“It will only get better as things move forward. A new era is about to begin,” he wrote.


Celebrations were staged on the square in front of the Central Pavilion as part of the 4th Inspiration International Art Festival 2018 with a performance given by the Russian Philharmonic symphonic orchestra. People also got a chance to see the show “A Space Odyssey”, created for the occasion by the French theatre Les Plasticiens Volants. This is a story of travel across the universe, presented as a succession of more than 35 amazing and fantastic figures of incredible shape, colour and size, walking the earth and floating through the air.

The show was followed by fireworks.

Aria show and Anniversary Cabaret

The Inspiration Art Festival opened on 20 July at VDNKh. Every year, it celebrates one art genre and an important art topic. This year the festival honoured the theatre genre.


German-Swiss group Rimini Protokoll opened the festival by presenting Situation Rooms, an immersive project akin to a sociological experiment.

The festival will be on until 5 August, with many interesting events on the menu. Between 2 and 4 August NoGravity, an Italian theatre, will perform its Aria show, which captured the leading European festivals. It is built on a bizarre plastic game and unique stage machinery. The performance will take place actually on the Garden Pond in Ostankino Park, where the unique Green Theatre. Stage on the Water show has been running for the second consecutive season and the show has already managed to mesmerise leading European festivals.

The festival programme also includes special events, such as the Names programme devoted to the work of prominent 20th century Russian writers. It was timed to coincide with the opening of VDNKh’s House of Culture after restoration, creating a crossroads between theatre, architecture and literature.

The Theatre of Nations showed two solo performances from the series "Our Everything..." based on the works of Joseph Brodsky and Nodar Dumbadze. People’s Artist of Russia Alexander Filippenko prepared for the festival a new programme "Hello Mikhail Mikhailovich!", inspired by two legendary Mikhails — Zoshchenko and Zhvanetsky. Director Gleb Cherepanov produced All Shades of Black, a story about Sasha Cherny, the famous poet of the Silver Age.

On 3 and 4 August, Lyudmila Petrushevskaya, who celebrated her 80th birthday this year, will present the Anniversary Cabaret on the House of Culture’s stage.

In the second special programme, theatre meets cinema. Also a youth student programme of performances will be held during the festival. All in all, the festival offers a venue for more than 80 events, including plays, film screenings, meetings with cultural figures, and large-scale open-air theatre performances.

The Art Director of the festival is Roman Dolzhansky, theatre critic and Deputy Artistic Director at the Theatre of Nations, while actress Ingeborga Dapkunaite took on the role of the festival’s Artistic Director.

Revival Project

VDNKh is now the world’s largest exhibition, museum and leisure complex, and one of the most popular public spaces in Moscow with about 25 million visitors per year.

The Exhibition opened on 1 August 1939. Its name has changed several times throughout its history: VSKhV, VPV, VDNKh USSR, VVTs. The decision to introduce the current designation, VDNKh, was taken by Moscow residents in a vote held at Sergei Sobyanin’s initiative on the Active Citizen online platform.

There were periods in VDNKh history when its pavilions were used as markets with various goods on sale, while its territory was littered with shanty developments. All this ended in 2013 when the President of Russia issued an executive order making VDNKh city property, and the revival project was launched in the spring of 2014.

Any structures which had been put up without planning permission were demolished. The territory was then improved and merged with Ostankino Park. As soon as urgent works to preserve architectural monuments ended they were followed by a large-scale project to restore the pavilions back to their original appearance.

Throughout the central alley, 14 fountains were done up, surrounded by flower beds with more than four thousand roses. The Golden Spike, the most spectacular fountain, was also restored alongside the Kamenski Pond, where the fountain is located.

In addition to all this, the Northern and Southern rose gardens were created. The first one is located near the big promenade, and the second one near the Central Pavilion. Both have benches. Visitors have a choice between both paved or gravel paths if they decide they want to take a closer peep at the flowers.

The first stage in the creation of a landscape park, Moscow’s new green area, was completed. The square in front of Pavilion No.36, the Museum of Cinema, also benefited from improvements, and was repaved with light-coloured granite, and benches were placed along the perimetre.

During the warm months, VDNKh is an amazing place for festivals and open-air concerts and as soon as summer changes to winter an artificial ice-skating rink plus a tubing hill are available.

Summer at VDNKh

This summer, VDNKh has become home to a number of memorable exhibitions, concerts, festivals, lectures and sports events. Project Resident, Russian inter-museum exchange programme, continues with the Hundredth April exhibition from Vladimir Mayakovsky State Museum in the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman pavilion, alongside the exhibition Test of Strength. Selected Works from the сollection of the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts.

Knowledge.VDNKh educational programme is in its third year. Last year, its attendance exceeded 15,000 people.

Pavilion No. 67 Karelia hosts the exhibition The Ball is Round, The Field is Flat: Chronicles of Russian Football from 1897–2018, to mark the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

In mid-June a new stage opened on the roof of the Worker and Kolkhoz Woman pavilion, where live concerts will be performed as part of the Rooftop Music project until the end of August twice a week. On Thursdays, the stage will be open for jazz and instrumental music, and on Sundays for the latest music trends and genres, from Indie rock and electronic music to rhythm and blues, and new folk.

The VDNKh Green Theatre. Stage on the Water offers one of the most inspiring venues of the capital. For the second consecutive year, it’s where to go for Neoclassics modern academic music concerts. Starting in mid-August, it will also provide a venue for a series of concerts called Jazz Weekend, and also the Night of Single-Act Ballets, VDNKh’s joint project with the Ballet Moscow theatre.