The annual event, organised by the Russian Club of Luxembourg, is dedicated to promoting Russian culture while supporting charities that help children in need. All of the donations and proceeds from the event’s auction are presented to SOS Children’s Villages and the Podsolnuh Foundation, a Russian charity that provides medicines for children with immunodeficiency disorders.
Oksana Pakhomova, head of the ball’s organising committee, said that in 2018, the ball raised about €50,000, which was equally distributed between to the two foundations. Since its first edition seven years ago, a total of €325,000 has been raised for good causes.
The event was supported by the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce and held under the patronage of the deputy prime minister and minister for the economy, Étienne Schneider (LSAP), who attended the event with his husband.
Guests arrive for the Russian Charity Ball, organised by the Russian Club of Luxembourg at the Cercle Cité, 19 January 2019. Photo credit: Matic Zorman
The ball honoured the 220th birthday of Russian novelist and poet Alexander Sergeyevich Pushkin. Pakhomova explained that: “this is a big celebration for us because it is said that every Russian person has Pushkin in their soul. We want to use this occasion to share our love for the poet with Luxembourgish people.”
Kaempf-Kohler took guests on a culinary journey to Russia with a five-course meal crowned by an assortment of desserts called “The Tales of Pushkin.” Highlights of the charitable auction were historic editions of works by the famous writer featuring signatures of his descendants. Alexander Alexandrovich Pushkin and Maria Madeleine Durnovo, direct descendants of the writer, were honoured guests at the ball.
Natalia, a member of the committee, said that it took the team an entire year to plan the event and compile the grandiose gastronomic and entertainment programme. The roughly 270 guests were enjoyed a fashion show, performances by ballet dancers Svetlana Noskova and Ivan Negrobov, opera singer Oksana Shishenina and ballroom dancers Aliona Filko and Carlo Ennio Stasi. The formal gala culminated in a lively dance later in the evening.
Nathalie Reuter, the RTL TV presenter, and Pavel Artemyev, the Russian musician, were MCs of the Russian Charity Ball in Luxembourg City, 19 January 2019. Photo credit: Matic Zorman
Valeria, originally from Latvia and working in Luxembourg, praised the ball’s programme: “It is nicely varied, music and dance performances are well-balanced. The organisation in general is very smooth.”
Tatiana and her husband Werner attended the ball for the first time this year in a professional capacity due to their ties with the Russia-Luxembourg cultural institute. “We enjoy meeting our acquaintances and it is impressive to see the women’s beautiful dresses,” says Werner.
Tatiana, who wore a sparkling, golden gown, agreed that it is nice to dress up, and added: “our main priority is supporting the charities, however. As a Ukrainian national myself, I appreciated when the Russian Charity Ball raised money for Ukrainian children affected by the 2014 conflict in the past.”
In addition to strengthening social bonds and celebrating Russian culture, the charity ball is also a glamorous occasion for attendees to show off their opulent garments. Lilia described the event as “a beautiful break in my routine, it’s like entering a fairy-tale world. This is an opportunity for me to feel feminine and I enjoy seeing the happy faces of women in their elegant dresses.”
Her friend Julia told Delano that she had her extravagant dress made by a Ukrainian designer, especially for the ball. Lilia expressed her wish that more national groups in Luxembourg would organise similar events: “it’s such a lovely way for communities of different countries to come together and connect with each other.”