Oleg Popov: why the most famous clown of the Soviet Union fled from Russia

History 30/12/19 Wikipediaorg Popov: why the most famous clown of the Soviet Union fled from Russia

In Soviet clown Oleg Popov knew all – from small to large, he was a very popular clown, one of the most famous representatives of the circus profession, along with Yuri Nikulin and Mikhail Rumyantsev. When in 1991 Oleg Popov disappeared from the TV screens and circus arenas of the country collapsed, he went to live and work in Germany, many thought that the clown died.

Difficult child

In 2015, a year before his death, the famous “Sunny clown” after nearly chetvertichnogo stay abroad he returned to Russia, played a lot, won a lot of awards. In numerous interviews leading local media he told about his life.

Oleg Popov was born 11 years before the great Patriotic war in a village near Moscow, and later the family moved to Moscow, where the future circus artist spent his childhood. Father almost didn’t remember, because for some obscure reason, put in prison, where he died. They accused Popov Sr., the son didn’t know (or just didn’t want to talk about it).

wartime childhood Oleg Popov was hungry. According to him, the admission to a circus school young mechanic printing plant of “Pravda”, was engaged in a mug of acrobatics, largely influenced bread card – the school was given 100 grams more than the factory.

Sunny clown

Circus school Oleg Popov graduated in 1950, and by profession he was a trapeze artist. A career as a clown started in the Samara circus. Worked in the troupe Mikhail Rumyantsev (Karandash), learned a lot from him.

As he recalled the priests, the stage image of the “Sunny clown” stuck behind him since 1968 after a tour in London. The local press then wrote that the capital of the UK is overcast, smog and mist, and came to a funny guy from the Soviet Union in the red wig, tartan hat, striped the pants and the London circus arena as if the sun came out. So the nickname Sunny clown migrated from England to the USSR and was accompanied by Oleg Popov almost half a century, until the end of his life.

Popov toured in and outside the USSR. According to the rules of the time, the Soviet citizen, often departing overseas, was bound to be in the Communist party. Artist urged to join the party. But the clown, by his own admission, every time I managed to “cut a fool” – the good, the role allowed. The actor told “AIF”, not that he wanted his departure to a foreign country, and “asked to go” – he was so popular.

a Clown with a smile and remembered: one day, during another overseas tour, the circus announced today in Oleg Popov’s birthday. Filled to capacity hall in unison, applauding, got up. The artist handed over the envelope with the check, which appeared “million…”. Check Popov was immediately taken from the Director of the Soviet troupe, saying that “this is public money”. The next day went to the Bank to cash it, and they explained: written on the check “a Million smiles”.

Oleg Popov was all about what could only dream of creative persons working in this genre. He had the highest rate, the title of people’s artist of the USSR (1969), the clown was four times awarded the order (three times, order of red banner of Labor and order of Lenin), Popov repeatedly received awards circus.

“Nikulin me jealous”

However, in the early ‘ 90s, Oleg Popov emigrated to Germany. All of his Soviet accumulation at that time “burned” as a result of monetary reform, and was appointed government pension amounted to two thousand rubles (for the year). In an interview with NTV in 2015, the 84-year-old clown, who arrived in Moscow at the personal invitation of the Minister of culture of Russia Vladimir Medinsky said that “he did not forget the Motherland, and the Motherland have forgotten it”. All these 24 years Oleg Popov together with his second wife Gabriela toured Europe pod the pseudonym “Happy Hans” and on returning to Russia did not think.

the reason for the departure from the country was a big insult: Yuri Nikulin was appointed Director of the Moscow circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard, and Oleg Popov became, in his words, “in the background, while in the circus, knew better [than myself]”. In an interview with “AIF” Popov said that the sense of injustice he eventually grew stronger and stronger – Nikulin supposedly he was very jealous of big foreign success, which in itself was given to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard.

CEO and artistic Director of the Moscow circus on Tsvetnoy Boulevard Maxim Nikulin confirms that it’s true. But not all: his father Yuri Nikulin actually refused to Popov, but for the reason that at the time of the jubilee the clown had already signed contracts for performances scheduled programme of work of the circus. If Oleg Popov Nikulin was notified about two months before the anniversary, it would be possible to change something, and to cancel the scheduled performances of circus troupes, the Director did not intend.

Maxim Nikulin argues that between his father and Oleg Popov was no competition, because these clowns have different roles – Yuri Nikulin – comic character, and Popov absolute clown. But the difficulties in relationship they still had, that Nikulin Jr. recognizes.

… Oleg Popov died in October 2016 during his tour in Rostov-on-don. According to the decision of his wife and daughter buried in the German town of Egloffstein, where he lived after emigrating from Russia.

Nicholas Syromyatnikov

© Russian Seven

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