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Spiderman in Moscow: Much Fuss about Nothing
September 5, 2007 15:35

If it was needed to nominate somebody in the category Russian Disappointment of the Month, the winner would be obvious Alain Robert known as French Spiderman, who has climbed a great number of the worlds tallest skyscrapers without belay. Amongst them is Eiffels Tower (Paris), Twin Towers (Kuala Lumpur), Empire State Building (New York), Sears Tower (Chicago), Taipei 101 (Taiwan), Golden Gate (San-Francisco), IMB headquarters (New-York), Canary Wharf Building (London), Tour Montpanasse (Paris), Sydney Opera House (Sydney), etc.

The first news about the intentions of Alain Robert to conquer a tower in Moscow appeared in Russian press a month prior to his visit. This time Spiderman picks the highest tower in Europe which is part of the business-complex Moscow-City and is 242-metre high.

The show of the world-famous climber was scheduled September 2, 2007. However, if believe Russian media, the Spiderman show was banned due to the absence of official permission of the local administration, although initially it was said that there was no need in getting permission because the building that Spiderman was going to climb was registered as private property.

On September 2, 2007 many people came to the Moscow-City complex to see the show, which, however, did not start. It is remarkable that the climbing organizers (Mirax-Group) notified the spectators about cancellation of the show only when nearly an hour had passed since the scheduled beginning of the show. At the same time the Internet media wrote that the organizers knew about a ban put on the show by the local Moscow administration 1.5 hours prior to its scheduled beginning. Here emerges a question: what was the point in making so many people wait for the show while it had been known beforehand that the show would not start?

The same evening it became known that Mirax Group finally managed to get permission of the local administration for holding the show that was re-scheduled September 4 and was said to start at 6.30pm Moscow time. Alain Robert estimated that it would take him an hour to climb the tower.

In reality, straight in a Russian way, the show did not start on time. Instead, Alain Robert started climbing the tower around half hour earlier than the scheduled time, and it took him only half hour to climb the tower. The latter, however, is no wonder, because for a professional climber it can hardly be a big deal to climb a building with the help of a preliminarily set ladder. It is hard to believe, but in fact Alain Robert did not climb the highest tower in Europe, he simply climbed a 242-metre high ladder set by organizers of the show Mirax Group who called the ladder a temporary safety system on the surface that simultaneously served as an obstacle course for Robert.

As Alain Robert explained before, his choice fell on the Europes highest tower because he found it to be one of the worlds hardest constructions for climbing due to the smooth surface of the building. Knowing the reasons of the Spidermans choice, the fact of using a ladder to climb this building looks like paradox.

Here emerges another question: has Alain Robert really done a remarkable deed by climbing the tower using a ladder? Would there also be so much fuss about such event if, lets say, some ordinary comrade Vasya Pupkin or John Smith had climbed the same building with the help of the same ladder?

After climbing the tower Alain Robert was detained by the Moscow police. Interestingly, according to media, the police did not know that Spiderman had official permission of the local administration to climb the tower. It may seem that the Moscow police live in a complete informational vacuum: all media sources repeatedly reported that the administration of the Central District of Moscow let Mirax Group organize the show, all spectators knew about this fact, but the police accidentally did not. Nevertheless, it would not have been Alain Robert if he had not organized a small extra-show called Detaining by the Local Police it is known that he has rarely climbed buildings in other countries without being detained.

In the end Alain Robert promised to return to Moscow and next time to climb a 140-metre stele situated on Poklonnaya Hill in the Russian capital. Perhaps, organizers of the next Spiderman show in Moscow will have enough time for constructing another ladder and setting it on the stele.


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