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
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
“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.
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.
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).
A concert by the famous and talented pianist Polina Osetinskaya at the Great Hall of the St. Petersburg Philharmonic has been canceled.
“I think everything is clear to everyone. Thank you for your concern,” Polina wrote on social media.
What could be clearer? At outset of the “special operation,” Osetinskaya wrote about her attitude to it, about what she really thinks.
And now, like many other artists whose conscience did not permit them to remain silent, she has been excommunicated from her work.
But our TV screens and concert halls are still full of those artists who have no conscience at all. Either they had one, or it atrophied from disuse.
Source: Boris Vishnevsky, Facebook, 2 September 2022. Photo of Ms. Osetinskaya courtesy of her website. Translated by the Russian Reader
Moscow police on Friday evening detained the director, actors and audience of a theatrical street performance — a total of fourteen people, reports OVD Info. The reason for the arrests is not yet known.
The operetta has been produced by the Moscow troupe Theater of the Transitional Period and director Vsevolod Lisovsky. He chose the format of street performances in pedestrian underpasses a few months ago. He decided to stage the Brecht play, he said, “because you can’t think of anything more resonant with the time.”
Written by Brecht in 1934–1938, Fear and Misery of the Third Reich is based on eyewitness accounts and newspaper articles. It deals with fascism’s gradual penetration of all areas of life in Nazi Germany, thus discrediting justice and undermining morality.
Six months ago, my friends started leaving Russia. More and more loved ones ended up far, far away from me. I had to make a difficult decision. Did want to leave with the others, or should I stay in Russia?
After much thought, I came to the conclusion that I had to stay. In those days, I listened to Anatoly Krupnov’s song “I’m Staying” all the time and was amazed at how accurately the song conveyed my feelings. Therefore, when the girls and I were developing the concept of a support group for activists who, like us, had decided not to leave, I suggested calling our project “I’m Staying.”
The “I’m Staying” community has been around for four months. In addition to the support groups, we also became a kind of cultural project. We held a concert, and in the near future we are going to put on a theatrical performance.
But recently, the song “I’m Staying” has been used by completely different people for completely different purposes. Many people have seen the cover of this song by pro-government musicians. In my opinion, it’s a very bad cover, but that’s not the point. They now want to make the song “I’m Staying” a tool of propaganda, completely distorting its original message.
I don’t want to let propaganda steal the song from us. Therefore, I remind you that “I’m Staying” is us. And our next meeting, the twenty-first in a row, will take place this Saturday, August 27. If you want to come, write to me on Telegram @acrossius and send me links to your social networks.
Source: Aleksandra Rossius, Facebook, 26 August 2022. Thanks to Yana Teplitskaya for the link. Translated by the Russian Reader
We are at a standstill again, and there is water in the hold, And you keep telling me to run again, And you’re saying again that you have to go there, Where the keel is even, it is dry, and there is air to breathe. But even here there is a chance, albeit one in ten, Maybe time moves forward here at a crawl, not a run, And maybe it’s more difficult to stay here than to leave, I still believe that I will be lucky…
And I-I-I-I-I, I’m staying, Where I want to be, And even though I’m a little afraid, But I, I’m staying, I’m staying to live!
You say there’s enough evil here, And you’re in a hurry to get out as soon as possible, You say that bondage is sweet to me, And you firmly believe in the truth of the other way, Run, swim, fly — where it doesn’t matter, If only to where we are not and haven’t been, You say everything died here a long time ago, And there are too many strangers among us…
But I, I’m staying, Where I want to be, And even though I’m a little afraid, But I, I, I’m staying, I’m staying to live! I’m staying! I’m staying!
I’m used to it here, even though it’s like I’m in the service, I can see everything, even though there are few lights here, And here I stand so firmly on my feet, And to stand, I have to stick to my roots. I’m used to it here, I’m not so lonely here, At least sometimes I see my kind, When the last bell starts ringing, I’ll be here if I’m alive…
For I, I’m staying, Where I want to be, And even though I’m a little afraid, But I, I’m staying, I’m staying to live! I’m staying! I’m staying!
The tables covered in beer Showbiz whines, minute detail (2) Hand on the shoulder in Leicester Square (3) It’s vaudeville pub back room dusty pictures of White frocked girls and music teachers The beds too clean Water’s poisonous for the system (4)
And you know in your brain Leave the capitol! (5) Exit this Roman Shell! (6) Then you know you must leave the capitol
Straight home, straight home, straight home One room, one room (7)
My roommate Victor is a completely unique person. He is sixty-seven years old and an absolute image of our Soviet life from the 1970s to the 2010s, with all the paradoxes peculiar to the time. He is a fervent [Russian Orthodox] believer and yet he believes everything said on the radio about the atrocities committed the Ukrainian army. On the other hand, he is perplexed how military operations were launched without consultations. Victor worked as a driver, but also played music in bands. He knows all the western groups of the 70s and all the stars in both the West and Russia. He has seen every Soviet film and remembers all the scenes, all the actors, all the songs. A lot of happy memories are consolidated in him, as well as a lot of regrets about the past. Basically, he’s a typical chip off the old Soviet block. In him you have the songs, you have Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones and Alla Pugacheva and Eldar Ryazanov and [Leonid] Gaidai and Muslim Magomayev and everyone else, down to the last detail. You might say that he and I are living in the USSR from Khrushchev to Putin. It’s funny, but interesting. It’s Russia.
Source: Anatoly Zaslavsky, Facebook, 5 August 2022. Mr. Zaslavsky is a well-known Petersburg painter currently undergoing treatment at the city’s Botkin Hospital. Victor is his roommate at the hospital and has already featured in earlier social media dispatches. Translated by the Russian Reader
The folding seats clapped, The October’s curtains came down.
The rider finally galloped
Off toward the radiant dawn,
Faded show bills on the wall,
Blue ticket stubs on the floor.
Dusk on Nevsky had almost fallen
As we came out on the corner.
The jeans were Polish, the beret a sham.
Wow, we had enough for Kagor.
We had to live. Return bottles and pass exams.
To live and live till we got to here.
5 August 22
Source: Vadim Zhuk, Facebook, 5 August 2022. Mr. Zhuk is is a well-known Russian actor, screenwriter, TV presenter, and poet, whose poem “A Skeleton in the Closet” was published here last month. Translated by the Russian Reader
On March 18, Irina Gen, a teacher of English in Penza, made an anti-war speech to her eighth-graders while explaining why they would not be able to travel to competitions in the Czech Republic. She told them about the shelling of the maternity hospital in Mariupol and the downed Boeing. One of the pupils recorded the teacher’s speech on a dictaphone and sent the recording to the security forces. A criminal case was opened against Gen ten days later. Today she was sentenced to five years of probation with a ban on teaching for three years. She had [originally] pleaded not guilty.
Source: Dmitry Tkachev, Facebook, 4 August 2022. Mr. Tkachev cites, in the comments, this article about Ms. Gen’s case, published in Mediazona the same day. Translated by the Russian Reader
It’s the 12th anniversary of the antifa protest in Khimki
Antifa.ru and other channels have recalled the historical date of 28 July 2010, when, at the height of its popularity, the antifa movement in Moscow was involved in solving social issues.
Throughout 2010, progressive Muscovites were extremely agitated about the planned construction of an alternate to the Leningrad Highway through the Khimki Forest in the nearest part of the Moscow Region. A lot of money was riding on the project, but responsibility for fighting the protesters was entrusted to the local Khimki authorities. Judging by their tactics, they were probably quite criminalized.
For antifa, the line was crossed when right-wing football hooligans — neo-Nazis, in other words — were involved in dispersing a tent camp set up in the forest by the protesters.
In late July, a secret concert by the bands Inspection Line and Moscow Death Brigade, popular among the antifa crowd, was advertised on social media. On July 28, Inspection Line vocalist and writer Petya Kosovo famously said to those who had come to the rendezvous point, “I hope there are no rubes here who think they just came to a concert? We’re going to Khimki!”
Several hundred young people exploded: they went to Khimki “to protect the Russian forest from Nazi occupation.”
Upon arriving in Khimki, right at the train station, they asked where city hall was, and the locals happily showed them the way. The protesters immediately produced masks and a banner about the Russian forest, and the crowd of about 400 people headed to the hated city hall, cheerfully chanting as they marched. On a video that circulated at the time, you can clearly see a police jeep fleeing from the determined young people.
It was the weekend, so the protesters were not able to talk with the local administration. The protesters decorated city hall with protest graffiti and shots from trauma pistols. They actually did very little damage to the building.
But this incident was followed by a shellacking. Only not the mythical shellacking of the Khimki City Hall, but the real shellacking of the antifa movement by the so-called law enforcement agencies.
Police raids took place all over central Russia — in Nizhny Novgorod, in Kostroma (where a whole punk-hardcore festival on a riverboat was arrested), not to mention Moscow and the Moscow Region. Hundreds of people were detained and beaten; hundreds fled Russia. Some left forever, while others returned after a year or two. But their spirit wasn’t the same when they came home: they hunkered down. And the movement — that big and formidable movement that had caused a stir in 2010, the movement that had protected workers and refugees from being illegally evicted from dorms and had defended the Khimki Forest — that movement no longer existed. The gloomy era of Bolotnaya Square and the constant stomping of protests, the era of crackdowns, was coming.
Source: Volja (Telegram), 28 July 2022. Translated by the Russian Reader
Fontanka.ru has come into possession of a list of musical performers whose performances in Russia were allegedly considered undesirable. According to our information, the document has been circulated among promoters.
Some of the musicians on the list have, in fact, had difficulties organizing concerts since the start of the special military operation (due to their public stance on it), while others have simply left the country. The list was provided to us by one of the musicians who found themselves on the stop list.
Fontanka.ru contacted a number of concert organizers. Although they admitted having heard about the list, most of them refused to continue the conversation. One of our sources, however, confirmed that the list was authentic. But he clarified that the list was amended and supplemented daily. However, even without it, “all producers know perfectly well” which musicians they can work with and which they cannot.
We publish the list in the form (including peculiarities of spelling) in which it was submitted to us:
rap artist Noize MC (Ivan Alexeyev)
rap artist Oxxxymiron (Miron Fyodorov)
DDT (soloist Yuri Shevchuk)
Time Machine (soloist Andrei Makarevich)
Aquarium (soloist Boris Grebenshchikov)
Kasta (soloists Vladislav Leshkevich, Mikhail Epifantsev, Andrei Pasechny)
B2 (soloists Alexander Uman, Yegor Bortnik)
Accident (soloist Alexei Kortnev)
singer Zemfira (Zemfira Ramazanova)
singer Valery Meladze
Dmitry Spirin (ex-soloist of the band Cockroaches)
Anacondaz (soloists Artem Khorev, Sergei Karamushkin)
It’s hilarious how many people, back in the day, thought that Medvedev was a “liberal”:
Reviving Russia’s implicit nuclear threats, Dmitry Medvedev, a former president, has warned that the war in Ukraine might endanger the future of humanity. Mr Medvedev, now deputy chairman of Russia’s security council, wrote on Telegram that “the idea of punishing a country that has one of the largest nuclear potentials is absurd and potentially poses a threat to the existence of humanity.”
Source: The Economist, “The World in Brief” (email newsletter), 7 July 2022
Meeting with Russian rock musicians
Dmitry Medvedev held an informal meeting with Russian rock musicians, during which he answered numerous questions on a variety of topics, including the most pressing ones.
One of the questions concerned the Khimki Forest. The President stressed that in the case of such high-profile topics, a wide-ranging discussion is needed to make a final decision. Dmitry Medvedev noted that the authorities should learn a lesson from this situation. “If there is still a feeling that the topic is making huge waves, you cannot close your eyes and say that we have made the optimal decision, even when it is optimal,” he said.
“Trying to pretend that everything is okay, that nothing is happening, can lead to a dead end, putting all of us in a very difficult situation, in which the authorities have to make a difficult, unpopular, and simply bad decision,” Medvedev said.
He stressed that in this case it was necessary to hold consultations, meet, discuss, and only then make a final decision.
The [planned] construction of Okhta Center, a 400-meter-high business complex in Petersburg that has caused great concern amongst the city’s residents, was also discussed. The head of state stressed that he, as someone who had lived in Petersburg for a considerable part of his life, was not unmindful of the architectural appearance of the city, which is virtually an open-air museum. According to Medvedev, this problem should be solved after the conclusion of the relevant lawsuits and consultations with UNESCO, the international agent empowered to resolve such issues.
“It is extremely important for Petersburg have new centers of growth, new architectural landmarks. But must it be done next to Smolny [Cathedral]? That is a very big question.” There are many places in the city that the skyscraper could complement, Medvedev noted.
Alexei Kortnev, leader of the band Accident, asked the head of state about the plight of Zurab Tsereteli’s Peter the Great monument. “It will depend to a great extent on the new mayor of Moscow,” the President replied, stressing that in the very near future he would submit a candidate for the post of the capital’s mayor to the Moscow City Duma.
The problem of combating drug addiction was also touched upon. Vladimir Shakrin, leader of the group Chaif, asked about the criminal case against the head of the City Without Drugs Foundation in Nizhny Tagil, Yegor Bychkov, and about his trial. Shakhrin noted that Bychkov has been charged with torturing people and kidnapping, although the only thing he did was to help people free themselves from drug addiction.
“One must analyze any case carefully. You said your piece, and I heard what you said. I would ask you to pay attention to what is happening there without interfering in the course of the trial or coming into conflict with the law,” Medvedev said.
Andrei Makarevich asked the head of state to support the Creation of Peace rock festival. The idea of the celebration is to gather on a single stage people of different ethnicities and confessions, and even people from countries “that are not friendly with each other.” The President noted that the festival has been underappreciated, promising to support it.
The rock musicians included the leaders of the groups Earring (Sergei Galanin), Aquarium (Boris Grebenshchikov), Accident (Alexei Kortnev), Time Machine (Andrei Makarevich), B2 (Alexander Uman), and Chaif (Vladimir Shakhrin), as well as ex-Agatha Christie leader Vadim Samoilov and Ilya Knabenhof, leader of the group Pilot. They had several surprises [for the President], performing both their own songs and foreign rock classics [for him].
At the end of the meeting, the musicians took a photo with the President of Russia and presented him with an electric guitar which they had autographed.
Source: Kremlin.ru, 12 October 2010. Translated by the Russian Reader
Why, even when he knows how to work the right way, does a person actually do everything the way he’s used to doing it—that is, the wrong way? Maxim Dorofeyev explains in simple and accessible language why this happens. When you read his book, you’ll learn how thinking and memory work; why you fritter away your brain’s resources; how to conserve them; and how to concentrate properly, articulate tasks, and reactive yourself for productive work. These practical, proven, and well-founded techniques will help you make your to-do list really work and guarantee that you achieve your goals.
Roof Place is a cultural space located on Vasilievsky Island in the building of a former tannery built in 1893. Since its opening in 2016, the site has attracted creative people and connoisseurs of the active lifestyle and comfortable outdoor recreation. Its powerful audio system and convenient location make it a perfect arena [sic] for parties, concerts, and summer festivals.
Rita Dakota (her real name is Margarita Gerasimovich, and she was born in Minsk in 1990 — not on the Pine Ridge Reservation) will be performing at Roof Place’s Roof Fest on July 19. Tickets run from 46 to 77 euros (per the official, not the actual, exchange rate). Screenshot of the concert’s page on Bileter.ru
The point? That Russia, especially its two capitals (Petersburg and Moscow), was never as slavishly “westernizing” as during Putinism’s full flowering. Even a “proxy war with the west” cannot stop this trend, apparently. Hence the mass exodus of many of the “westernizers” and “westernized” from the country after February 24. (You didn’t think all of them left because they’re wild-eyed dissidents opposed to the war, did you?) And often as not this “westernization” has been marked by needless, wholesale injections of English into Russian. By the way, this didn’t happen in the allegedly more slavishly westernizing nineties that have served as a Putinist stalking horse the last glorious twenty-three years.||| TRR