About Fan Club
Our Fan club orginally started in 1981 in Moscow, when Nadezda Sevnitskaya, the founder of the club started a lecture series on Presley's life in the Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow. In those years there was a huge deficiency of the literature devoted to Elvis Presley and in general of history of the American music. But Sevnitskaya has translated 20 books which she could find.
In 1990 under the initiative of Nadezda Sevnitskaya Elvis Russian fans have founded the first Elvis Presley fan club in USSR based in the Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow.
On the presentation of the fan club there was known singer Muslim Magomayev who is the number one honorary member of club. He has presented to a fan club rare Elvis' records, albums with notes and videos.
The fact of foundation the first Elvis Presley Fan Club obtained such wide resonance, that into the club began to come the letters from the different cities of USSR and other countries of the world from the people, which requested to accept them in members of Fan Club. Fan club released 4 vinyl records, organized regular member meetings.
The Russian Elvis Presley Fan Club work very hard to promote Elvis, his records, his movies in Russia. And this is not an easy job because Elvis music was under the complete ban in the USSR, his records were not published, songs didn't sound, even Elvis photograph couldn't be found anywhere. To listen Elvis songs was nevertheless, that to commit crime. Elvis was underground and his records were sold from the hands between the collectors, under the fear to fall into the prison. These were special "records", such wasn't nowhere more in the world - records "on the edges" (songs were recorded underground in the X-ray photographs). And people listened it at home, under the ban, but they felt happy, because this was the only way to listen Elvis music.
Russian people knows the Elvis music very badly, Elvis couldn't be opened into Russia because of the long existed "Iron Curtain" and the totalitarian regime.
But nevertheless, there are now in Russia many young people, which greatly loves Elvis. The club now has members that range from students to retirees.
The members of the fan club meets to hear Elvis songs, watch his movies & videos and talk about Elvis. Every year we celebrate Elvis' Birthday with a party in January and gather August, 16 at the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death.
We publish our articles about Elvis in Russian newsletters and magazines, tells about Elvis on Russian TV and Radio, organize events dedicated to Elvis.
In 2004 The Russian Elvis Presley Fan club has been officially registered as The Official Russian Elvis Presley Fan Club in Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc. and became a part of the world community of Elvis Presley's fan clubs.
The King Is Dead: Long Live Elvis!
By Nina Klose
Elvis is alive and well and living - of all places - in the Museum of Musical Culture in Moscow.
His Russian fans have founded a federation-wide club based in the museum boasting over a thousand members. The club holds regular lectures on Elvis' life and musical roots, and plans a temporary Elvis exhibition timed to open in January 1994, the 59 th anniversary of Presley birth.
On Monday, Aug. 16 - the 16th anniversary of Presley's death - the seven members of the club's governing council will gather to mark The King's death in traditional Russian fashion: they will place a glass of vodka and a piece of black bread in front of a photograph of Presley.
The Russian fascination with Elvis is one more manifestation of the international craze for the rock star, but with an approach that is uniquely Russian.
Nadezhda Sevnitskaya, 48, the founder of the club, feels that Americans do not fully understand Elvis' genius. In the United states, all the books about Elvis Presley are fixated "on his image", rather than on his musical talent, she said.
Sevnitskaya says she and fellow members will listen to Presley's music on the 16th and recall his life through books and photographs.
She first heard "Love me tender" at a friend's house in 1957, at the age of 12. It was true love. For Sevnitskaya, Elvis is "everything". After the death of both her husband and mother in 1986, Presley's music helped to sustain her, she said.
Presley is a beacon not only for his contemporaries. Grigory Kuzmin, 20, a sound engineer and a founding member of the club, was also smitten with the Presley bug at age 12.
"Elvis is a way of life", he said.
Kuzmin has collected over 400 Elvis recordings. He helped to publish the first two recordings in a series of eight to be put out by the club, including 30 of Presley's early songs.
Kuzmin said the tradition of Elvis impersonators, which is common in the United States, is frowned upon in Russia.
"It is only a cheap imitation and disrespectful," he said.
Sevnitskaya and Kuzmin estimate that there are over 2 million Elvis fans in Russia, judging by the demand for his recordings in Moscow.
The Elvis Presley Fan Club was registered officially in 1990 with the Ministry of Justice, but will begin a formal sign-up of members only this October due to bureaucratic obstacles, Kuzmin said.
"It took us six months just to explain what a 'fan' was," he said. "They thought it was something you dry your hair with."
The club began informally in 1981, when Sevnitskaya started a lecture series on Presley's life, she said. She has developed 21 lectures, which often last as long as four hours each, including material on the history of Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues, Country and Soul, as well as five lectures dedicated to Presley' own life, she said.
Arkady Kovalenko, 50, a former fact-checker with the Pravda newspaper, calls himself a "solo" Elvis fan. He prefers to "celebrate Elvis" in his own way, by playing Presley's music every day, rather than by joining the club. On Aug. 16 he will "raise his glass" to the rock star.
Presley "played a very strong role" in Kovalenko's life by leading him to American gospel music and an interest in religion, he said.
"I have a more serious attitude toward Elvis than many young people today,' he said.
For Anatoly Panyushkin, 59, director of the Museum of Musical Culture, Elvis Presley "brings back my youth."
"It's too bad his life went badly toward the end," Panyushkin said. "I get tears in my eyes at the sound of 'My Way.' "
VINYL RECORDS RELEASED BY FAN CLUB
Nadezhda Sevnitskaya' book 'I WASHED HANDS IN MUDDY WATERS'
The Official Russian Elvis Presley Fan Club was founded in Moscow in 1990
The fan club registered in Elvis Presley Enterprises Inc.
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