Alexei Myasnikov a.k.a. Ded Moroz
Alexei Myasnikov has been playing Russia’s Father Frost, Ded Moroz, for the last seven holiday seasons. One of dozens of jolly men in red suits that the Morozko Sluzhba Deda Moroza (www.dedmorozko.ru) dispatches to spread holiday cheer (by the hour), Alexei answered our queries about tricks of the trade, his helper Snegurochka and the
difference between Ded Moroz and Santa Claus.
by J. Quinn Martin
What do you do as Ded Moroz?
Our job is to give hope, to keep the belief going for as long as possible. Parents or schools or restaurants order us to come play games with children, give out presents and wish them good luck.
What do you do when you’re not Ded Moroz?
I’m an industrial alpinist, which means I do any work in high rise buildings or up high on construction sites. My formal education is as a tailor.
Who is Snegurochka?
Ded Moroz’s granddaughter and faithful companion, the Snow Maiden.
A Ded Moroz from your company can cost up to 16,000 rubles an hour on December 31. Why so expensive?
It’s a simple matter of supply and demand. Our service only has so many Ded Morozes and everyone wants them to ring in the New Year.
What do you do with children who don’t believe in Ded Moroz?
At about age 10, children start to have doubts. But you’d be amazed to see how many start to believe again after meeting Ded Moroz.
What’s the funniest order you’ve ever gotten?
Occasionally grown-up children will order a Ded Moroz home visit as a surprise for their elderly parents. One time I showed up thinking I was bringing presents for little Misha and little Tanya, but Misha and Tanya turned out to be in their 70s. And the funniest part is that they were just as surprised and confused as I was.
What’s the toughest thing about playing Ded Moroz?
It’s hard to courteously turn down alcoholic drinks. This being Russia, when you go into a family’s home they often offer you a shot of vodka or a glass of wine. I have to turn them down – because that’s the company’s rule – but not offend the hosts.
What’s the difference between Santa Claus and Ded Moroz?
I tell the kids Santa Claus is my brother who lives up on the North Pole. Of course, the old Russian joke is that Santa is always sober and by himself, while Russian Ded Moroz is always a bit tipsy and has a girl with him.