On 29th November, 120 paying guests gathered in Minsk's newest hotel, the Beijing, for one of Belarus' first charity balls in the modern era.
The history of balls in the Russian speaking countries, said director of BCH Anna Garchakova in her introductory speech, tells us that there were two types: private balls, like the one Natasha Rostova dances at in the film of War and Peace, to which guests were invited at the expense of the ball's host and public balls for which there was fierce competition to buy tickets as they were often held in the most glittering and exclusive of venues.
The habit of holding balls died out in the austere Soviet years and is only now starting to be resurrected in Belarus. Thanks to the director of the Beijing Hotel, the ballroom and staff were provided free of charge. The ticket income more than covered the cost of the wonderful dinner and the entertainment. This amount raised was further augmented by an auction to which a local artist donated no fewer than 10 of her works and by a raffle with prizes brought all the way from London.
The final total raised, at time of writing, is somewhat over USD 30,000. A fantastic result for the Belarusian Children's Hospice. Well done Elena Anisimava and her team!
HE Mr Vasily Markovich, Czech ambassador to Belarus, HE Mr Bruce Bucknell, UK ambassador to Belarus, and Elena Anisimava at the ball