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Let It Be Known!

DanceSport in Russia © Roland

Russia is one of the DanceSport countries "par excellence," one with extremely high participation at all levels - and one with an elite that has marked the recent years when it comes to the results obtained in international competition. You only need to look at this "Live from Platja d'Aro" blog to see it confirmed. However, the positive assessment must be made almost despite of the national governing body, the Russian DanceSport Union, having failed in its mission to provide its dancers with the integrity and the solid federal structure that is required for membership in the World DanceSport Federation.

To put the expulsion of RDSU in its proper perspective, the WDSF Presidium wishes for the following to be known by those who have made deliberate last-minute efforts to comply with the requirements imposed on the Russian DanceSport Union in June 2016.

We were disappointed with the lack of legal finality in the various results of the legal actions and processes occurring within the Russian DanceSport community.

We were also disappointed at the failure, refusal or neglect of various parties to take sufficient efforts to comply with the demands made by the WDSF Presidium, which we are pleased and grateful to note that you have described as reasonable.

Regarding the latest meeting of a group claiming to represent or control RDSU, we were notified far too late to be able to ask any experienced WDSF observer to change his or her schedule, book airfare and obtain a Russian visa so that s/he could attend to observe that meeting.  We examined the question carefully but concluded that we had received totally insufficient notice.  We recognise the zeal of one group and commend them for wanting to organise a meeting which was an improvement on previous, undemocratic exercises, but we note that people of the stature which we require in observers of such proceedings, require reasonable notice in order to rearrange their schedules and in order to comply with the stringent and time-consuming kind of compliance required by the Russian government's visa system.

Given your characterisation of the nature and effect of the statutes of the RDSU -- that, incredibly, 5-6 people have dictated terms to the whole of a great country -- we sincerely recommend that any new, reform Russian DanceSport organisation adopt a constitution and bylaws which provide for "a system of checks and balances" with respect to all significant forms of power in that new organisation.  Experience has shown -- both in Russia and in most other countries -- that "a system of checks and balances" is the only satisfactory method of restraining the inevitable ambitions of some people who achieve high elective office.  If the initiators of such a new organisation need assistance and advice re:  same, we assure you that the WDSF Legal Commission is ready to review and advise in cooperation with experienced, impartial Russian lawyers.  We cannot write these statutes for Russia, but we can provide advice on how to make them work in a way that leaves the organisation less vulnerable to excessive and unaccountable acts of authority.

We commend your desire to build support for WDSF within Russia and thank you for your willingness to meet with our representatives in order to try to make real progress.  However, a serious and in our view insuperable obstacle stands in the way of any such meeting:  the appeal period for the latest Court Order in this matter does not expire until more than 1 week after the WDSF AGM's mandated expulsion date of October 31, so Ms. Petrova could conceivably file a further appeal during that period, and the appeal might conceivably succeed in having the Order overturned in whole or in part, leaving her with a slightly more plausible claim to authority in RDSU.  We do not know;  no one knows.  Your claims to prestige and legitimacy as DanceSport persons are acknowledged, but despite your efforts, the very belated action take by various parties and your own legal position is simply too uncertain to enable WDSF to acknowledge your claims to authority in RDSU.

We comment that in our opinion the response to the WDSF AGM's Resolution has been principally one of delay and inaction by too many parties.  Why were appropriate legal remedies not pursued immediately after June 12, 2016?  Why did so many parties simply sit back and wait for developments inside Russia?  The WDSF Presidium repeatedly explained the AGM's position and repeatedly provided extensions of time for parties to comply with the requests which you have described as reasonable, but now, the day before the AGM's deadline, we find that the issue of who administers RDSU is still in question under Russian law.  The Presidium and the whole DanceSport world are very disappointed at all of the inaction and even more disappointed that the AGM's sincere efforts to accommodate reasonable action in Russia between June 13 and October 31 -- a period of 4 1/2 months -- were treated with disrespect and did not result in what the AGM expected, namely a bona fide willingness on the part of all parties in Russia to set aside their differences and work together in a spirit of conciliation and reconstruction.

We note with gratitude the statement that "We are able to pay off all debts."  We would treat the payment of RDSU's current large outstanding debts of 

CHF 38,418.51 plus € 25,092.53

as a significant step forward and as an expression of bona fides that would merit a commitment to constructive discussion with your representatives.  At present what we see from our point of view is a catalogue of delay and inaction, and a very large Russian debt, in money and in constructive commitment, owing to the world's DanceSport athletes

We recognise and sincerely sympathise with those parties in Russia who have become exhausted by the angry, lengthy controversies in your country, but we cannot help but say again, that our advice remains the same:  your problems cannot be solved by one side triumphing temporarily over the other, and Russian DanceSport will only be truly served by bringing all serious, bona fide DanceSport people in your country to agree to constructive compromise and conciliation.

WDSF Presidium