The 44,000-strong Australian-Ukrainian community has strongly condemned the Great Moscow Circus in Australia for refusing to make any changes to its operations in light of the brutal, illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine.
”We voiced our concerns over the phone to Mr Edgley. We have explained that in the current circumstances, when every day there is news about the unprecedented destruction and humanitarian loss being inflicted by the Russian Federation (often referred as Moscow), his family’s “The Great Moscow Circus” brand (with popping large inflated clowns) not only raises the brows of many local Australians, but is an insult to Australians of Ukrainian heritage in NT and across Australia” said Mr Orest Zadvirnyy, Principal Executive Officer of Ukrainian-Australian Association of Northern Territory and representative for NT of the Australian Ukrainian Commercial Chamber (AUCC).
“A small print text on their FB page stating their circus is not affiliated with Russian government is not good enough to dispel the ambiguity caused by the circus’ brand. Offering us tickets to the show is also insulting,” he added.
Mr Stefan Romaniw OAM, Co-Chair of the Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations, has joined calls for the circus to do more.
“At the recent Australian Ballet and Opera Australia production of Anna Karenina, public statements on the audience program indicated that the companies supported Ukraine. It is the least The Great Moscow Circus can do,” said Mr Romaniw.
Mr Zadvirnyy said “We have asked the Edgley family in an open letter signed by all Ukrainian communities of Australia, as well as Estonian and Latvian communities of NT, to convey a clear message to the circus’s audience and general public that their circus, despite its name, is not affiliated with the Russian government and denounces the Russian threat to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.”
“We have suggested they could make a media statement and clearly display it at the circus’s entrance. We have also suggested they could include a short voice-over during the performance, and encourage support for Ukrainian charitable organizations”, said Mr Zadvirnyy.
“But the family have not undertaken to do any of these things. All they have said in their response letter that they are “appalled with the actions of the Russian government and their invasion of Ukraine”. I am under the strong impression they are very reluctant to make such statements officially or display them publically,” said Mr Zadvirnyy.
Mr Romaniw added “The Great Moscow Circus needs to realise their brand name raises questions, which need to be actively and publicly rejected. Almost a thousand companies around the world have quit Russia, including Eurovision, Spotify and Netflix. Even McDonald’s has recently announced they would be exiting the Russian market completely because operating there is not consistent with McDonald’s values. The Great Moscow Circus needs to make the same strong statements and actions.”
Orest Zadvirnyy – 0497 772 584 (via WhatsApp – currently in Indonesia)
Stefan Romaniw – 0419 531 255