-Leonidis, let’s answer the most popular question: how to become a king?
– I do not know. Rather, one can do it by inheritance. It happened to me completely by accident, like so many things in life. In short, I have been on the throne for 14 years, I reigned in the summer of 2008. At that time, with my girlfriend Lesha, I was living in a hostel and working on a construction site. He wanted to win money for a ticket to Nizhny Tagil, where his mother was waiting for him for the summer. And while he was already on the train, a friend who was working as a queen on the street called him and said: he had a force majeure – Peter got drunk. A young man was urgently needed to play the role of emperor. But because my partner was already far away, he advised me. “Yes,” he says, “I have a boyfriend. He is tall. “But his hair is short and he is not very sociable.”
A friend called me and I agreed. I remember they gave me a cheap suit, a wig, very small three size boots. Well, I went out and tried. And for the first time in my life I understood what it means to enjoy work. I never went back to work.
– And how did you feel in the role of Peter the Great?
– For the first 3-4 years I worked on the well-known, controversial project “Hello, photo”, as I call it. This is when you are offered to be photographed on the street next to a famous historical figure. The idea, it seems to me, is not bad, but the implementation suffers. In many cases, this resulted in some kind of pure rudeness, fraud, gypsies and begging. I do not really like. And 10 years later I left with the same image in another realm.
– How did you climb the royal stairs more?
– I graduated from the guides course at the Fortress of Peter and Paul, I talked about the city as an ordinary person, in jeans and a T-shirt. And at some point I thought, why not combine these two incarnations – the guide and the emperor. Then it was all over with some kind of interactive, playful moments – the presentation of decrees, letters, the appointment of grades. And it has become very popular. From that day on, Peter I began to direct my excursions.
– What events were the most important for you?
There are many of them, and they are all different. There are so-called VIPs, when you meet top officials, you communicate with governors, members of the federal government. Recently, for example, he participated in the celebrations of the anniversaries of the public prosecutor’s office. He opened the Sand Sculpture Festival, sincerely admiring the ability of the creators of sand compositions.
But in my emotions, I have not experienced anything cooler than Scarlet Sails. It was 2019, the anniversary celebration. I participated there in two episodes: on the island of Lagos near the walls of the fortress of Peter and Paul and on the spit of the island of Vasilievski. This fact is what I consider to be the peak of my career curve. And I’m very grateful to the organizers, to heaven, to God, to fate, to space – as you wish, for having the opportunity to participate in this project.
You have long hair now. What about the suit and shoes?
– I am already wearing the fifth uniform in terms of execution time. Of course, summer is a little warm inside, because it is a fabric, natural wool. But you can take off your camisole. It is cold in winter. But there are moments of adrenaline, of energy exchange. And when you deal with it, you really do not feel anything. And now I do not go out for a long time.
– How similar are your parameters to Petrovsky?
– I did not reach my hero for a while. His height was 2 m 4 cm, and I have 1.98. But what a leg I have! Everyone pays attention when I tour. They go up and say: “Peter had a small leg”. And I have number 48 boots above the knee.
– Do you have to do everything to order?
– Of course. A separate workshop deals with hats with reinforcement. This is also the fifth, they wear out pretty quickly. I sew boots in Moscow. I am sure that in St. Petersburg there are wonderful craftsmen who make historic costumes and shoes. But I have not found them yet. Therefore, I go to the capital for placement.
– Do they show interest in you in Moscow as Peter I?
Yes, I’m going there for work. The last time was shooting a sketch. There are congratulations, weddings, corporate parties – everything is standard. I really like it there. In fact, I have never shared a skeptical view of Moscow. I did not encounter any rudeness there, not, as they often say, work with elbows. My experience with the capital is the most positive.
– Is it still our favorite city?
Petersburg is the best city in the world. He is loved. I have a prejudiced attitude towards him, I just love him. And I am very grateful to him for the fact that my ups and downs, my meetings and separations, my failures and successes happen inside the city.
– In your opinion, what kind of person was Peter I?
“He is a great and complex person. There are different assessments of his activities. However, no one can deny those global transformations that were completed in a very short time. And I personally treat him with great reverence and I am infinitely grateful to him for St. Petersburg.
– And how did you become a presenter of the weather report on TV?
– It’s also random. And also thanks to Peter I. On June 8, 2011, I stood at the Peter and Paul Fortress in the form of “Hello, photo!”. The film crew of the “Russia 1” channel is approaching. A girl throws out and says she wants to interview me about Peter I.’s birthday I started saying what I think about him, he pointed to the dressing room. Then we broke up. And right after that story, I was fired. It turned out that I said something unnecessary.
After some time, we met again with this journalist. He asked me how I was doing. Fine, I say, but now I’m out of a job. She told her leadership about it, and they, to their credit, did not limit themselves to some formal grievances. And I was called to make a weather forecast, obviously as compensation. I still do, thank you very much.
– You are often asked why, for example, you promised the sun, but it started to rain?
– The most popular question that has prevailed in recent years is: “Why do not you keep a weather forecast on Peter’s camouflage?” Well, what would it look like: “It’s not good for a cyclone to come to our area…” (laughs).
I often associate with the mayor, especially the elderly. They come and ask to open hot water or to restore order in the country. I promise I will definitely do it.
There are also funny cases. One time, for example, he helped a young man to propose marriage. He gave me a sign, I brought him a girl, he fell on one knee and asked her to marry him. Well, I argued, “Anyway, my royal decree is not to deny anything to this gentleman.”
“Are you ready to take this step yet?”
– The most responsible person in your life? As it is fashionable to say today, I am always open to suggestions, I am in active search.
– Tell me, Leonid, what is the most difficult thing in your job? And you are not tired of being in the same picture for so many years?
– I understand what you are saying. Do you mean what follows? Am I obsessed with this image? After all, if you call yourself a loader, climb on the body. You have to match. Therefore, if I have time, I will go to the correspondence department in the theater or at the Institute of Culture.
In the meantime, I can describe myself as a person in a dream state. Nothing is difficult for me. I’m cool. And everything that has been happening in my life since 2008 fits very well into the majestic phrase “enjoy life in all its forms”. Despite the titanic fatigue, some negative moments, it is a great happiness to earn a piece of bread by doing what brings pleasure. In addition, there are so many people around who are happy to see me and are very grateful for the feelings I give them. And what will happen tomorrow, we will wait to see.