Vladimir Ufliand: “The human world is fickle”

Vladimir Ufliand (1937–2007)

Мир человеческий изменчив.  
По замыслу его когда-то сделавших.  
Сто лет тому назад любили женщин.  
А в наше время чаще любят девушек.  
Сто лет назад ходили оборванцами,  
неграмотными,  
в шкурах покоробленных.  
Сто лет тому назад любили Францию.  
А в наши дни сильнее любят Родину.  
Сто лет назад в особняке помещичьем  
при сальных, оплывающих свечах  
всю жизнь прожить чужим посмешищем  
легко могли б вы.  
Но сейчас.  
Сейчас не любят нравственных калек. 
Весёлых любят.  
Полных смелости.  
Таких, как я.  
Весёлый человек.  
Типичный представитель современности. 

1957

Source

Joseph Brodsky recites “The human world is fickle” (1957) by his friend the poet Vladimir Ufliand

The human world is fickle.
It was planned that way by them who made it way back when.
A hundred years ago, people loved women.
But nowadays they more often dig chicks.
A hundred years ago, people went around ragged,
illiterate,
in kinky furs.
A hundred years ago, people adored France.
But nowadays they fancy the Motherland more.
A hundred years ago, you easily could
spend your whole life as someone's laughing stock
in a manor house
lit by greasy, guttering candles.
But nowadays.
But nowadays people don't care for emotional wrecks.
They like funny folk.
People full of moxie.
People like me.
A cheerful sort.
The very model of a modern bloke.

1957

The original poem and the video were gifted to her friends and acquaintances, today on her birthday, by the fabulously courageous and definitely cheerful Leokadia Frenkel, to whom I dedicate the translation, above. I also had the good fortune to be acquainted with the gentle, funny, gracious Vladimir Ufliand in real life. His photo, above, was taken by Vadim Egorovsky (1940–2020) in 1995, and is courtesy of Rosphoto and the Tamizdat Project. ||| TRR

The Fire in Uryupinsk and Elsewhere

Guryanov Sergei @Segozavr
A man backed his car up to the building housing the draft board [conscription office] and began tossing Molotov cocktails. 100 square meters were destroyed by fire. Uryupinsk, Volgograd Region, Russia, 26.09.2022
.

Source: Twitter. Translated by the Russian Reader. “The name of this town is known to many Russian people as a synonym for ‘backwater town.’ This usage became widespread after the popular Soviet film Destiny of a Man. The film was based on a short story by Mikhail Sholokhov, and Uryupinsk was the place of the action, shown as an inconspicuous provincial town.”


A screenshot of the visuals in Mr. Stupin’s original post

In Moscow’s Kosino-Ukhtomsky district, housing authority employees and police officers, without showing their IDs, have been breaking open front doors in the staircases of residential buildings in order to serve residents with summonses to the military enlistment office! Some residents have already been issued threats that the electrical wires to their apartments will be cut if the men do not open the door to receive a summons!

Source: Yevgeny Stupin, Facebook, 26 September 2022. Thanks to Alexander Kynev for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader


A telephone call I got yesterday from a female acquaintance has made me think about the economic consequences of the “mogilization” [literally, “grave-ization,” a play on the word “mobilization”]. I confirmed her fears that her son would be among the first to be mobilized. And that they would come looking for him first at his registered address, then at his workplace. Consequently, the solution to his problem would be to quit his job and go live somewhere in the boondocks for a year, even if there was no work there.

And now look — not only those who are called up will vanish from workplaces, but also those who dodge the draft. To get the three hundred thousand men declared [by Putin as the goal of his “partial mobilization”], they have to slap the asses of at least a million men with draft notices and dragnets. I’m not an economist and I cannot even estimate numerically what kind of blow to the country’s GDP will be caused by the withdrawal of at least half a million employees.

By the way, the mobilized must be fired [by law]. It is not very clear whether their jobs will be kept for them in any way. But [officially] they will not be listed as on leave, but as having been called up from the reserves to military training camps. They will simply be dismissed from their jobs, and they will have to be paid in full.

Really simple vacancies can be filled by migrants from Central Asia, but it is another matter whether they will go and fill them. Currently, the exchange rate has been maintained at a level that is favorable to migrant workers, but as soon as the volume of imports grows (and it will grow: there will be other sources, gray market goods/parallel imports, and so on), this rate will inevitably begin to sink. Consequently, the economy will take a simultaneous triple hit around December:

1) On December 5, a complete ban on the delivery of Russian crude oil to the EU will come into effect;
2) hundreds of thousands of people will be laid off in October, November, and December;
3) and the exchange rate will go crazy.

By the way, state-funded and quasi-state-funded organizations will face the biggest problems. Petersburgers are no stranger to it, but the snow will definitely not be removed this year, either.

That’s my economic forecast for you. It’s going to be a clusterfuck, my fellow Russians.

Source: Vladimir Volokhonsky, Facebook, 22 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


Yesterday, Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilization, which is actually a total mobilization. His decree sets no restrictions on age, qualifications, regions, and the number of people mobilized. Already today, we see that everyone is being called up.

Source: Navalny LIVE, YouTube, 22 September 2022. Annotation translated by the Russian Reader. The video has already been viewed over 2.6 million times since it was posted. It has no subtitles in English, but the message from the lawyer in the video is clear and simple: there is no such thing as a “partial” mobilization, so all draft-age men must avoid being called up and serving at all costs, especially since Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine is illegal and criminal.

“Telephone Terrorism”

Alexander Petrosyan, “Today on Sennaya Square [in Petersburg],” Facebook, 24 September 2022

In Petersburg, police have searched the homes of activists, as well as the home of Sota journalist Victoria Arefieva. The security forces broke down the door to Arefieva’s apartment, seized electronic devices belonging to the journalist and her sister, and detained her for forty-eight hours on suspicion of making a phoney bomb threat to the St. Petersburg City Court, Sota wrote on Saturday, September 24.

In addition, searches were conducted at the homes of persons implicated in the case of the Vesna Movement activists Yevgeny Fateyev and Valentin Khoroshenin, whom a court has banned from “engaging in certain activities.” The security forces also visited the home of activist Pallada Bashurova, against whom two “telephone terrorism” investigations have been launched, OVD Info reports. Yevgenia Litvinova, a member of the Petersburg Human Rights Council, was also detained in connection with a “telephone terrorism” case.

New protests against mobilization scheduled for September 24

According to Sota, the searches are connected with protests, scheduled for September 24, against the “partial mobilization”; law enforcement agencies thereby are attempting to prevent their coverage in the press. Vesna, a democratic youth movement, called on Russians to engage in a new round of protests in the wake of the first wave that occurred on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin made the announcement. “Mogilization [“grave-ization”] is actively going on all over the country. Soon thousands of our men could go to the front. We can and must oppose it!” Vesna said in a statement issued on September 22.

According to the online human rights project OVD Info, on September 21, the police detained more than 1,300 protesters in thirty-nine cities across Russia. Most of the arrests occurred in Moscow and Petersburg. In some police departments, the detainees were handed summonses to the military enlistment office right on the spot.

Source: Olga Lebedeva, “Homes of activists and journalists searched in Petersburg,” DW, 24 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader

“No Future”: Popular Reactions to Putin’s Mobilization

Outside Gostiny Dvor [metro station and shopping center, in downtown Petersburg]. The police are plucking out the protesters one by one and dragging them away.

Passersby ask, “What happened?”

Most either don’t read the news or support the mobilization.

They look at us like we’re idiots.

I asked a middle-aged woman whether she had any children.

“Two sons, so what?” she answered me defiantly.

Today I thought for the first time that there is no future.

[Comments]

Natalia Vvedenskaya

Just for balance. Today, in the supermarket, I quietly eavesdropped on the conversations among the saleswomen (these were two different conversations). Irritated and indignant, these middle-aged women said that the members of parliament [who quickly passed laws enforcing Putin’s mobilization] should go to war themselves.

Source: Galina Artemenko, Facebook, 21 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


On the bus. A middle-aged woman in the front seat yells into the phone, not mincing her words. She says that there is a panic at work, that they have seven days to keep the guys from getting drafted. This was followed by instructions for direct action. The young fellow sitting with his back to her listened attentively, while the girls opposite him could not have cared less.

Source: Friends-only post on Facebook by a trusted source and occasional contributor to this website, identified here as “AR” for future reference. Translated by the Russian Reader


This hurts a lot. I console myself with the fact that, as in private life, the most vital and beautiful thing is the process itself, when you are initially in a hole, but you fight to make things better. But can I please go back to the time when I have to confront myself, and not a crazy autocrat with a nuclear button?

I try to shift my focus from irritation towards Russians who support the war, and the collective Europe playing along [sic], to endless love. First of all, to people who are in Russia and are not afraid to speak out against the war. I am glad that I am living at the same time as you. Of course, we are far from being Iran, where people take deadly risks for their beliefs. But we’re cool, too. We’re doing what we can. If everyone in Russia were like us, the war would have ended today. Now, when it is important to support myself, I console myself with this thought, and I advise you to do the same.

Source: Friends-only post on Facebook by a grassroots activist in Petersburg, identified here as “JA” for future reference. Translated by the Russian Reader


On the evening of September 21, in Petersburg, as in other cities, a protest was held against the mobilization of Russians for the war in Ukraine. The protest was called by the Vesna Movement. The protesters gathered at 7 p.m. on St. Isaac’s Square.

Riot police vigorously detained protesters, beat them with batons, dragged them on the ground, and put them on their knees. According to OVD Info, at least 444 people were detained in St. Petersburg.

Bumaga has put together a photo chronicle of the first popular protest in the city in the last six months.

Source: “How an anti-mobilization rally — the first mass protest in six months — took place in Petersburg,” Bumaga, 21 September 2022. There are several more photographs of the protest rally at the link, including photos from a second, separate protest the same evening outside Gostiny Dvor (as described by Galina Artemenko, above). Translated by the Russian Reader


Conscription Notice Russia. This channel was created to inform the residents of Russia about the delivery of conscription notices in our city! [sic] Write here with information about which addresses conscription notices in Russia are being sent — @maks_ge

“Prospect Mira. A conscription notice was just served to a man approximately 40-45 years of age. He was strolling with his wife and dog. Then they [the police?] went up to some young guys sitting on a bench and had a chat with them.”

“They’ve already started handing out conscription notices at the factories in the town of Gatchina in Leningrad Region.”

“The Gazpromneft filling station at Amurskaya 15A. Two men got into a scrap, and the attendant called the police. The cops came and gave them tickets. They threatened the men, saying that tomorrow, other people in uniform would come visit them at home — I think they meant the military conscription office.”

Source: Screenshot of the Telegram channel Where Draft Papers Are Being Handed Out — Russia. The channel was created on August 13, but only started posting on September 21. It already has over ten thousand subscribers. Thanks to VL for the heads-up. Translated by the Russian Reader


Well, my prognosis was mistaken. I underestimated the regime’s vileness and meanness. As the supreme ruler declared a partial mobilization, the local military enlistment offices issued decrees concerning all reservists without exception.

This is totally fucked up. For example, “temporary residents must depart for their legal place of residence.” Accordingly, millions of unregistered men or men registered at their temporary residences in large cities must leave for their hometowns or home regions. Accordingly, all these millions of men are “lawbreakers” — they can be seized in dragnets, blackmailed with prison terms, locked up, beaten up, and anything else that our cops do with our citizens. When [the cops] are faced with passive resistance, they will indiscriminately rake in whomever they catch.

These people will certainly “engage in combat,” but that will happen later. What matters now is filling the quotas.

Source: George Losev, Facebook, 21 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


Putin has announced a “partial mobilization.” Only time will tell how “partial” it is, but it is already clear that the mobilization will affect many people. What options do those whom the Kremlin wants to mobilize have?

  1. Become cannon fodder.
  2. Go to jail.
  3. Illegally flee the country. If you fail, you go to jail.
  4. Go underground. If you fail, you go to jail.
  5. Go underground and become a guerrilla. You could also go to jail.

I do not consider legal ways to avoid mobilization, since the rules of the game can change at any moment, and those who were not subject to mobilization yesterday will be subject to it tomorrow.

The choice isn’t great, but there is a choice.

Source: Ivan Astashin, Facebook, 21 September. Mr. Astashin is a former political prisoner and human rights activist who now seems to be living in exile in Berlin. Translated by the Russian Reader


In the kitchen of a communal flat:

— Soooo, you live closer to the front door, don’t open it to anyone. If they come, tell them there are no men living here.

— I’ve been dodging the draft for so long I don’t even remember how to do it anymore. I’ve had so many chronic illnesses since then. Do you think it will help?

— At my work, a friend of a friend of a friend of a colleague is offering to drive [men] to Finland for 50 thousand rubles [approx. 855 euros]. Any takers?

— He’s definitely going to Finland? That’s too cheap somehow. What if he takes you to the military enlistment office?

— My pop says that he would volunteer himself, but he’s already sixty-seven, they won’t take him. But he’s weird that way. He never goes to the welfare office, because he believes you have to have pride: he didn’t work all his life to ask the state for something in his old age! His pension is 25 thousand rubles a month [approx. 440 euros].

— Maybe he is also one of those people who have nothing, and who donates money to buy socks for soldiers?

— No, he believes that we have the strongest army and does not give them a kopeck. He says the people asking for that money are scammers.

Source: Friends-only post on Facebook by a veteran human rights activist in Petersburg, identified here as “NN” for future reference. Translated by the Russian Reader

Mobilization: Mission Possible

The same day that President Putin announced a call-up of reservists to send off to continue his unprovoked invasion of Russia, Russian mega online retailer Ozon informed its customers that it was now selling the new Apple iPhone 14. Source: Ozon.ru

I have been extremely troubled by arguments that a mobilization in Russia is impossible. People are saying that everyone will run off, nothing will come of it, there is no logistics or anything else. This is all true, of course, but the stated goal of calling up 300 thousand reservists is quite realistic, in my unprofessional opinion.

I really don’t see any earth-shattering problems to it. There are military enlistment offices, there is transport. The uniforms will be fetched from Afghan War-era stockpiles. You know, those sand-colored uniforms, star-embossed belt buckles, and Kirza boots — there is probably a lot more of this stuff in the warehouses. The “mobilizees” will look, however, more like mobs of POWS than like an army, what with all of them wearing different uniforms, some sporting Kirza boots, and some in ankle-high combat boots purchased on the side from a cunning ensign. But still.

I have no doubt that our state will cope with the task of mobilizing men and delivering them to Ukraine. It will be done shabbily — five hundred men will lose fingers to frostbite while traveling in unheated train cars, and fifteen hundred will escape somewhere along the way — but that doesn’t mean that no one will get there.

So, I listened with some bewilderment to arguments that no mobilization would be declared. And now a mobilization has been announced, to the delight of Strelkov.

To make the figures clearer, I should explain that about 400 thousand people live in our district in Petersburg, the Frunzensky District, which means that 600 men should be called up (taking into account the fact that our population is older than the average for Russia). In reality, it will most likely be even fewer, since the powers that be will probably decide to throw residents of the ethnic republics into the furnace again.

Over the past few months, our district authorities have just barely recruited about forty volunteers, since they were unable to use any of the state’s usual enforcement mechanisms. Now they will have all the tools of the military enlistment officer at their disposal.

I’m sorry, but I believe in the success of the mobilization at this stage and that the stated quantities are doable. I don’t believe in the success of Putin’s war. Unmotivated poorly armed cannon fodder is needed in this war, but the benefit from it is not so great, and it will arrive [in Ukraine] only in winter, by the time the front stabilizes somewhere near Henichesk.

It’s not enough to mobilize men. The powers that be still have to somehow mobilize industry. Here I see much less chance of success.

I feel a certain shameful schadenfreude. When I adopted the slogan “Putin = war” as my profile pice in 2014, readers of the Kupchino News made fun of me. The people then were solidly in the “Crimea is ours” camp. Now, for the sake of this selfsame Crimea, a place where, until 2014, Russians could go on holiday with no problems, your brothers and your children will have to go off and die. Not me. I left Russia after police searched my home for a second time and a criminal case was launched against me. When something really could still be done [to oppose the Putin regime] with minimal risks, you were extremely smart to stay at home. Well, now you will be extremely smart in thinking of ways to dodge the draft. What counts is keeping a low profile, isn’t it? The president knows what he’s doing!

However, after this schadenfreude, I immediately feel ashamed. After all, it was I who lost my fight for a Russia free of autocracy, fascism and militarism. By the way, in 2014 I had another profile pic: “Putin = hunger.”

Source: Deputy Volokhonsky (Vladimir Volokhonsky), Telegram, 21 September 2022. Mr. Volokhonsky is a well-known Petersburg grassroots pro-democracy activist and municipal district councilor, currently living in exile in Belgrade. He is also the editor-in-chief of the neighborhood news website Novosti Kupchino (“The Kupchino News”). Translated by the Russian Reader

Reuters


President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War Two, warning the West that if it continued what he called its “nuclear blackmail” that Moscow would respond with the might of all its vast arsenal.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people – this is not a bluff,” Putin said in a televised address to the nation, adding Russia had “lots of weapons to reply.”

One-way flights out of Russia were selling out fast after Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists, and Russia’s opposition called for protests.

Residents of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv dismissed Putin’s move as a mark of desperation and expressed confidence in their own armed forces to drive Russian troops from their country.

The European Union’s executive body told Putin to stop his “reckless” nuclear gamble, while Britain said the threats must be taken seriously.

Alexander Glushko says he spent the last fortnight of the Russian occupation of his hometown of Izium in northeast Ukraine jailed by Russian soldiers in the dank ruins of a police station where he was tortured with electric wires.

Pope Francis said that Ukrainians were being subjected to savageness, monstrosities and torture, calling them a “noble” people being martyred.

Source: Linda Noakes, “The Reuters Daily Briefing,” Reuters, 21 September 2022


Reuters

Our own correspondent is sorry to tell
Of an uneasy time that all is not well
On the borders there’s movement
In the hills there is trouble
Food is short, crime is double

Prices have risen as the government fell
Casualties increase as the enemy shell
The climate’s unhealthy, flies and rats thrive
And sooner or later the end will arrive

This is your correspondent, running out of tape
Gunfire’s increasing
Looting, burning, rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape
Rape

Source: SongMeanings, as written by Colin Newman and Bruce Gilbert

KVN Trix

“Do we need, do we need to keep studying? Maybe we should go straight to prison after university?”

The KVN Trix team from St. Petersburg, which consists of female journalism students, sang about “foreign agents” and the prison sentence of journalist Ivan Safronov.

INDEED!!!

Source: Irod Uralskii (“Herod of the Urals” or “Monster of the Urals”), Telegram, 19 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


KVN Trix

“Maybe we should go straight to prison after university?”: a team of journalism students sang a song about “foreign agents” at a KVN competition

In the quarterfinals of the Baltika KVN League, members of the Petersburg university student team Trix sang a song about the plight of Russian journalism, listing the names of the media outlets and journalists labeled “foreign agents,” to the tune of Alla Pugacheva’s song “Nado zhe” (“Well, I Never”).

During the performance, three members of the team took the stage. The team’s captain, Anastasia Kostina, listed the names of “foreign agents” and asked in the song, “Do we need, do we need, do we need to keep studying? Maybe we should go straight to prison after university?” As she sang these lines, a young man in a police uniform ran onto the stage, twisted the soloist’s hands behind her back, and escorted her backstage.

Kostina said that the jury took the joke warmly and that there had been no censorship prior to the performance. “There was no internal censorship. Thanks to the editors for that — they allowed this song. The jury warmly welcomed such humor. They gave a critique at the end of the contest: they said it was bold, satirical, and so topical that it’s a sin to condemn us for it.”

The young woman was also asked what she thinks about continuing her studies in journalism school. “Indeed, I’m having a crisis right now, because I don’t understand whether to put more emphasis on my studies and the profession, or go into humor. But for now I continue to study, because who knows what will come in handy in life,” Anastasia replied.

Source: Mel (“Chalk”) Magazine: On Raising and Educating Children, Facebook, 19 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


KVN (Russian: КВН, an abbreviation of Клуб весёлых и находчивых, Klub Vesyólykh i Nakhódchivykh or Ka-Ve-En, “Club of the Funny and Inventive”) is a Russian (and formerly Soviet) humour TV show and an international competition where teams (usually composed of college students) compete by giving funny answers to questions and showing prepared sketches. The Club originated in the Soviet Union, building on the popularity of an earlier program, An Evening of Funny Questions (Russian: Вечер весёлых вопросов, romanized: Vecher vesyolykh voprosov); the television programme first aired on the First Soviet Channel on November 8, 1961. Eleven years later, in 1972, when few programmes were being broadcast live, Soviet censors, finding the students’ impromptu jokes offensive and anti-Soviet, banned KVN. The show was revived fourteen years later during the perestroika era in 1986, with Alexander Maslyakov as its host. It is one of the longest-running TV programmes on Russian television. It has its own holiday on November 8, the birthday of the game — celebrated by KVN players every year since it was announced and widely celebrated for the first time in 2001.

Source: “KVN,” Wikipedia

“Ingria Will Be Free”

“Oh, Yeah”

Fontanka.ru has published a list of banned artists”
“The politically active rapper has long opposed the authorities”
“The artist is on all the black lists”
“Now he simply will be unable to give concerts in Russia”
“It is still unclear why Oxxxymiron has come back”

Oh, yeah, confiscate our home
Oh, yeah, move into it
Oh, yeah, choke on it
But we’ll rebuild it

The bait is poison
I’m sick of grand ideas
They say, “It starts with you”
I killed the empire in myself
The proprietor turns purple
There’s no way he can evict us
Our flag sports
White snow and a blue river (and that’s it)
The entertainment world is sick
There is a war next door
They’re dancing the cancan
For shit pie
Bubblegum for you
I’m going back to the underground
To the Solovki bells (ding-dong)
Where is my home
Where is my old house
The old house the sorcerer cursed
It’s shaking
The old gnome hiccups under the mountain
With his old Adam’s apple
Scares us with a nuclear mushroom
Fuck the old people
Who “like” the blood of other people’s sons
To hell with the old house
We’ll rebuild

Oh, yeah, confiscate our home
Oh, yeah, move into it
Oh, yeah, choke on it
But we’ll rebuild it

How sweet it is to make money —
A lollipop from Willy Wonka
Like a bloody caramel
In Bingo Bongo’s tear
But we’ve got a puzzle
What goes in the trash, and what in the bag?
And fuck, culture means reassembling
The Rubik’s Cube
The ball is spinning, spinning
The truffles are disappearing
You won’t fill your belly on bagel holes
Human destinies up in smoke
Like droplets in a bottle bong
The wives of honest folk
They buy their shoes at Patriarch’s Pond (clack-clack-clack)
And it’s business as usual
The dress code is casual
The tan is southern
Epilation in the bikini area
Ethnic cleansing in the occupation zone
But they can’t wash themselves clean in the sea
No matter how much they bathe
Fans don’t forget the troubadour
I send greetings to the IC [Investigative Committee] and the Prosecutor’s Office
An air kiss
To the beautiful pussycats on the Obvodny
Ingria will be free!

Oh, yeah, confiscate our home
Oh, yeah, move into it
Oh, yeah, choke on it
But we’ll rebuild it
But we’ll rebuild it

Source: AZLyrics. Translated by the Russian Reader


In early September, Oxxxymiron suddenly returned to Russia to shoot a new music video. The result is another “extremism” complaint from the grassroots movement Call of the People. He can be said to have come back at the call of the people: Oxxxy’s audience in Russia is estimated in the millions, and Call of the People sends a poison pen letter to the Investigative Committee.

He foresaw this outcome. This is stated in plain text: “I send greetings to the IC and the Prosecutor’s Office!” There are other things in “Oh, Yeah” that don’t get you a pat on the head in the Russian Federation now. There is goofy Petersburg separatism: “Ingria will be free!” The white-and-blue flag of the opposition: “Our flag sports/White snow and a blue river (and that’s it).” “That’s it” — meaning there is no red on their flag, no blood. There are anti-war statements (“Fuck the old people/Who ‘like’ the blood of other people’s sons”) and outrage at the callousness of show business (“The entertainment world is sick/There is a war next door/They’re dancing the cancan/For shit pie”).

This, by the way, quite neatly dovetails with the stance of [ultra-nationalist writer Zakhar] Prilepin, who has been outraged by how the elite and the culture vultures have behaved during the war. Only Miron believes that artists should have compassion for the victims and fight for peace, while Prilepin calls on entertainers to join propaganda teams and stir up hatred for Ukrainians.

All that is in the song, and so the extremism complaint is fair from the point of view of the denouncers who filed it. But one phrase in the complaint — “actions directed against Russia” — is not true. Oxxxymiron calls Russia a home that is no longer habitable, and suggests rebuilding it. This is the song’s point: “Oh, yeah, confiscate our home […] But we’ll rebuild it,” says the refrain. But the house does not cease to be a home. Vladimirskaya Square, Five Corners, interconnected courtyards, and embankments flash on the screen. We will not destroy it, but reassemble it.

Risking his freedom and security, a man came back to his hometown and sang a song about the motherland, about its future. If these are actions against Russia, then what actions are for it?

Like almost all of Miron’s songs, “Oh, Yeah” is literally stuffed with cultural references. “The cursed old house” is from a song by the band Korol i Shut. Willy Wonka is from Roald Dahl’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. “Shit pie” is from [Yegor] Letov. “I killed the empire in myself” is Letov, too, but Letov says “the state” instead of “the empire.” Yes, Oxxymiron has killed, but it’s the empire he has killed, not the motherland.

“It is still unclear why Oxxxymiron has come back,” Miron says, imitating a news report. In fact, he came back to say all this. “The proprietor turns purple/There’s no way he can evict us” — a rare case nowadays of actions and words not diverging.

Source: Yan Shenkman, “Goodbye, Uralvagonzavod! New songs about the motherland: Oxxxymiron, Shevchuk, Ermen Anti,” Novaya Gazeta Europe, 18 September 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader


In reaction to the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, Oxxxymiron called for an anti-war movement, stating, “I know that most people in Russia are against this war, and I am confident that the more people would talk about their real attitude to it, the faster we can stop this horror.” He cancelled six sold-out concerts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, stating, “I cannot entertain you when Russian missiles are falling on Ukraine. When residents of Kyiv are forced to hide in basements and in the metro, while people are dying.” He later said that it was impossible to hold an anti-war concert in Russia because “total censorship has been implemented, and anyone who speaks out against the war in any way becomes a potential target for criminal prosecution.” He went on to announce a series of benefit concerts in other countries, entitled “Russians Against War”, the proceeds from which would be donated to NGOs helping Ukrainian refugees. The first of these concerts was held in Istanbul, which has a large Russian diaspora consisting of people who left the country in protest of the invasion. The other two concerts were held in London and Berlin.

Source: “Oxxxymiron,” Wikipedia


Alla Pugacheva, Russia’s most beloved pop singer, posted on Sunday on her Instagram account an appeal to the Russian Ministry of Justice asking to be named a “foreign agent” in solidarity with her husband, comedian Maxim Galkin.

“Please include me in the ranks of foreign agents of my beloved country,” her text read, “since I am in solidarity with my husband — an honest, decent and sincere man, a true and incorruptible patriot of Russia who wants his Homeland to flourish in peace, with freedom of speech, and wants an end to our boys dying for illusory goals, which has turned our country into a pariah state and made life a burden for our citizens.”

After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Pugacheva, Galkin and their children left for Israel. Galkin spent the summer touring in Israel and Europe with stand-up comedy shows that were highly critical of the war and Russian leaders. He performed sold-out shows in Jurmala, Latvia, where the family traditionally spend their summers.

In August, Pugacheva returned to Russia and was quoted in the Russian state press saying that she’d come back “to put things in order, in my head and in your head.” State media also wrote that she planned to send her children to school on Sept. 1.

Galkin was declared a foreign agent on Sept. 16.

Pugacheva joins a now long list of Russian rock and pop musicians speaking out against the war, including DDT frontman Yuri Shevchuk, Andrei Makarevich (Mashina vremeni), Boris Grebenshchikov (Aquarium); Oxxxymiron (Miron Fedorov); Svetlana Loboda; and Noize MC (Ivan Alexeev).

Source: “Pop Diva Alla Pugacheva Comes Out Against the War,” Moscow Times, 18 September 2022

Fairy with a Velvet Core

Maria Butina, a “State Duma deputy” and a “fairy with a velvet core,” is featured on the cover of the September 2022 issue of Semya (“Family”) magazine, wearing an outfit designed by the Russian women’s clothing brand Feminelli [sic] and produced in Kirov. Thanks to Sergei Medvedev for the heads-up.


Maria Butina, a Duma deputy who early gained notoriety as a pro-gun Russian operative in the United States, says that Russia schools should teach young people how to “profile” enemies of the state and then turn them in before they can do any further damage to their country.

Such “civic vigilance,” she says, can be taught and must not be confused with snitching about what someone says or does. Instead, it is about examining people at a glance and recognizing them as enemies (mk.ru/social/2022/09/07/mariya-butina-pedlozhila-vvesti-v-shkolakh-uroki-profaylinga-dlya-vychisleniya-vragov.html).

In reporting this, Anna Belova of Moskovsky komsomolets says that it is far from clear how children will be taught to do something that even professionals struggle with but that one thing is clear: it will only elevate the level of suspiciousness among Russians toward anyone who is different from the majority in any way, ethnically, religiously or behaviorally.

And that of course is precisely what Butina seems committed to doing. 

Source: Paul Goble, “Russian Schools Must Teach Youngsters How to ‘Profile’ Enemies of the State, Butina Says,” Window on Eurasia — New Series, 15 September 2022

Maxim Katz: “You’ve Ruined the Country, You Lousy Geostrategists”

Maxim Katz: “Yesterday, two events happened. First, the Russian army is still shamefully running. Second, Russian missiles are destroying the civilian infrastructure of peaceful Ukrainian cities. Today, in addition to frontline news, I want to tell the leaders of our regime where it’s all going.”

Katz’s takedown of the Putin regime has already been viewed 1.6 million times although it was posted only two days ago, on September 12. It’s outfitted with fairly decent English subtitles for the hard of Russian. It’s definitely worth seventeen minutes of your time.


Maxim Yevgenievich Katz (born December 23, 1984) is a Russian political and public figure, co-founder of the Urban Projects Foundation, author of the YouTube channel of the same name, Russian champion in sports poker, Wikipedia author, and former deputy of the municipal assembly of the Moscow district of Shchukino (2012–2016) from the [social liberal opposition] party Yabloko.

Source: Wikipedia. I’ve slightly edited the text for clarity. ||| TRR

Maxim Katz at the Boris Nemtsov Memorial March in Moscow in 2020. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia