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Red Army Choir 'ready for any task' despite plane crash tragedy

April 03, 2017, 11:43 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Sixty-four members of the Alexandrov Ensemble, together with their Artistic Director Valery Khalilov, died in the crash on December 25, 2016

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© Sergei Bobylev/Russian Defense Ministry Press Office/TASS

MOSCOW, April 3. /TASS/. The Alexandrov Song and Dance Ensemble of the Russian Army is ready to go on any tour under instructions issued by the Russian Defense Ministry, the ensemble’s new Artistic Director, Colonel Gennady Sachenyuk, told TASS.

"Despite the fact that we have folk musical instruments - the button accordions and balalaikas - in our hands, we are still military servicemen, and we obey all orders issued by the Defense Ministry unquestionably. We will fulfill our duty wherever we are sent," said Sachenyuk, when asked about the possibility of a trip to Syria.

He noted that the ensemble’s immediate plans include tours of the Czech Republic and Slovakia. "We will have practically a month-long tour of the Czech Republic and Slovakia planned well in advance as of May 10 at the invitation of the Czech side. We will visit twenty cities, including Prague, Bratislava, Ostrava, Brno, Trencin and Zvolen. A concert in Budapest is planned too," he said. The ensemble expects to perform concerts in China agreed upon more than a year ago and it will also put on two concerts in Turkey in April.

Concerts dedicated to Victory Day to mark the Soviet Union’s victory in the Great Patriotic War against Nazi Germany are planned as well. "Our key objective now is to restore our traditional repertoire, the ensemble’s treasure trove. It is important to prepare everything as soon as possible, especially in the run-up to Victory Day [marked on May 9]," Sachenyuk emphasized.

Sixty-four members of the Alexandrov Ensemble died in a plane crash on December 25, 2016. The ensemble’s then Artistic Director Valery Khalilov lost his life in that accident as well. The plane, a Tu-154 aircraft en route to Syria, crashed shortly after taking off from the Black Sea resort of Sochi. There were 92 people on board, including eight crew members and 84 passengers. The plane was also carrying charity activist Elizaveta Glinka, Head of Russian Defense Ministry’s Department of Culture Anton Gubankov and nine Russian reporters.

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