Honored Artist of Russia Vitaly Smolyanets is the only circus performer in the world, performing without both legs. Spectators of the famous show "The Empire of Lionesses" meet the tamer standing, arranging endless applause to the professionalism of the master and the courage of the indifferent person.
Way to the arena
In September 2016 he became the owner of the prestigious award of the World Festival "Idol-2016", held among circus performers, and in fact he once started as an ordinary driver of a wagon carrying animals. A native of the Donetsk region (Khartsyzsk), Vitaly Smolyanets, whose biography is presented in the article, was born in 1973. After the school, even under Soviet rule, was drafted to the Northern Fleet, and was demobilized in 1993 already in the times of the CIS. He worked as a trucker, while a friend Sergei Belyakov did not open a private circus in Russia and did not invite Vitaly to work as a driver.
The young man was imbued with the atmosphere of the circus, and soon began to assist a friend in his room with predators. Sometimes it was necessary to completely replace the one in the arena, and Vitali began to dream of his own attraction. It took him six years to accumulate funds for the purchase of the first pets: the lionesses Nicky and the lion Simon, purchased in Novosibirsk in 2002.
A year later, Vitaliy Smolyanets (photo is in this material) took baptism of fire. The number turned out, and after a while the young man became an artist of the State Circus. In 2012 he created an original attraction, in which six lionesses and two tigers took part. Simon had to return to the zoo, because work with heterosexual predators did not work out. Lionesses should have one leader - a trainer. Lions look more impressive on the arena, besides it's more difficult to work with bigger cats, but the young tamer did not look for easy ways.
His beauties began to do so unique tricks that in 2015 he will be awarded the circus award "Master" as the best trainer. In his room, lionesses make a ride on the hind legs, and the dynamics, complexity and precision of execution are such that Edgard Zapashny specially traveled to Nizhny Novgorod, where the trainer toured to meet his talented colleague.
The circus and predators became the meaning of the artist's life. Vitaly Smolyanets even created a family with a hereditary circus. Inessa is younger than her husband for 10 years. She is also a tamer, but her animals are ponies and monkeys. The couple together for 13 years, touring with the circus, where the whole second part of the program is Vitaly's attraction.
The family has two sons. The eldest Igor is a schoolboy. He had already entered the cage with small cubs, but his father does not let him in with adults: predators are able to attack those they consider weaker. Today Igor lives in Ugra (Kemerovo region), where Vitaly's mother-in-law lives, she studies at school. Junior Mark toured with his parents, learning the life of circus behind the scenes. The elder brother Vladimir is assisting a distinguished relative in a room with wild cats.
The road divided the life of the trainer on before and after. 9.02.2015 at 3 o'clock in the morning he was driving his own car on the icy road Tver - Moscow. After passing the 138th km in the area of the village. Redkino, he witnessed how the UAZ car deployed in front of him, crashed into the fence. The passenger broke through the windshield and flew to the middle of the highway, and the driver was in a state of shock. The next morning, the media will report in detail that Vitaliy Smolyanets, an animal trainer, was involved in an accident that cost him both legs.
This night, the artist had to endure the most terrible moments of his life. Stopping on the sidelines, he rushed to the lying passenger to pull him off the roadway. He saw with his side vision how the truck was rushing over them, the driver of which could not manage the control on a slippery track. Crying to the driver of UAZ, who managed to roll under the bump, Vitali managed to push out beyond the fence of the unconscious passenger, and he was hit by a cargo truck MAZ.
After the crash
One Vitaly's leg was torn off at once, and the second one had an open fracture. In full consciousness, the trainer called his wife, saying goodbye and asking for forgiveness for everything. He sincerely believed that he would die, bleeding on the track. The pain was unbearable, and he prayed for the speedy cessation of torment. But all subsequent events have become a series of happy accidents, as if in gratitude for the heroism displayed and human participation.
Arriving traffic police officers managed to stop the bleeding by dragging their legs with a tourniquet. After 30 minutes, the ambulance delivered the wounded to the Redkino settlement belonging to the Ministry of Emergency Situations. Professional surgeons, cutting the clothes right on the operating table, skillfully performed the operation to amputate the second leg, saving the artist life. A few hours later, at the bedside of the patient was already a wife, the next three months did not depart from his wife. Vitaly Smolyanets, the accident for which ended so tragically, asked his brother Vladimir to replace him on tour. And he agreed, going to the arena in three days. None of the viewers did not pass the ticket, although the elder brother managed to get out for the main tricks only in a month.
Upon learning of the tragedy, Edgard Zapashny arrived in Redkino. Once his grandfather killed gangrene. He understood that in a small village with minimal help it is difficult to go out to a seriously ill patient, so he called I. Kobzon with help to move to the Institute. Vishnevsky. In the fate of Vitaly not only friends, but also previously unfamiliar people took part. The actor was transferred to Moscow, where after 5 weeks of intensive care a long process of recovery began.
Vitaly Smolyanets was discharged from the hospital only at the end of April. To fight for his life faith helped him, that even without legs he could return to the profession. Rosgosirk in the person of Vadim Gagloev not only preserved the attraction, but also allocated two million for the purchase of prostheses, on which the Paralympic champions set their records. The rest of the sum (3 million rubles) was collected by friends who did not leave their comrade in trouble. After discharge, the trainer immediately went to Bryansk, where his pets were on tour. It was the most touching encounter that is only possible between man and animals.
Who are the people for whom Vitaly Smolyanets has sacrificed his life - a world-class trainer? Driver Ilya Manukhov always visited the savior during the treatment. Revelation for him were the words when Vitali confessed that he regretted nothing, and could hardly have acted otherwise. Passenger Sergei Suslov spent a month in a coma. He does not remember anything from the moment he fell asleep on the road in the passenger seat. Today the young man lives a normal life, although his speech is slightly difficult, and the consequences of severe injuries make themselves felt. But the wife and two small children are a good reason to rejoice at every moment of the newly given life.
Only the driver of the wagon appeared on the doorstep of the hospital only once to find out whether the victim would initiate a criminal case in connection with an accident. Vitali believes that today there is nothing to fix, so there is no point in looking for the guilty. We must find ways to return to the system.
Return to service
In August 2015, Vitaly Smolyanets stood on prostheses, and in September he began to rehearse the number. Inna's wife decided to go on an attraction to her husband to always be there, even in the circus arena. The artist did not doubt that he could enter the cage to the animals that recognized him as a leader, even if he drives there on a wheelchair. But worried for the reaction of the audience: will those not notice his crutches and will not his appearance cause pity?
The premiere performance took place in December 2015 in Rostov. The artist used crutches instead of stacks and was so focused on what was happening in the cage, which for a moment seemed to him: the tribunes did not react to his tricks. But when the number ended, he heard deafening applause from the spectators, standing a welcoming artist and a truly strong man. For the lions will never believe the weak.