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Friday, April 25, 2008

Annals of Neo-Soviet Censorship

Other Russia reports:

Two well-known Russian rock musicians have been cut from television programs planning to feature their work. The first, ironically named Televizor (Television), was supposed to appear in a live show on the St. Petersburg 100TV channel on April 24th. The second, DDT frontman Yury Shevchuk, was banned from the Kultura (Culture) channel.

As the Sobkor@ru news agency reports, the 100TV channel’s editorial offices were apparently concerned with nature of Televizor’s recent lyrics.

Televizor, which came out of the Soviet underground of the mid-1980s, describes itself as “one of the predecessors of Russian neo-romanticism and electronic funk.” The band, led by Mikhail Borzykin, was supposed to appear on the “100 Percent Sound” show, in a live musical performance.

While many of the group’s songs have nothing offensive about them, the group has never shied away from political themes and strong-mouthed lyrics. Their early recordings include songs titled “Your television is speaking with you,” and “Your dad is a fascist.” The band’s most recent album, Megamisanthrope, takes jabs at religion, war and materialism. Televizor’s latest songs have taken a sharp political edge, criticizing repressive authorities and imperialism. Borzykin is an active member of the opposition, and has performed at several demonstrations, including the March 3rd, 2008 March of Dissent in St. Petersburg.

“The songs of Mikhail Borzykin could not be aired, but not for political, but rather ethical reasons,” said Andrei Radin, the lead editor for the 100 TV channel. He explained the channel’s concerns for letting Televizor on the air, noting the “barefaced, explicit obscenity, and even unmentionable language” of Borzykin’s songs.

The singer himself said that “we were told that ‘now there’s such a situation, that we cannot allow this to happen.’”

Another television channel is apparently unhappy with Yury Shevchuk, the front-man of one of Russia’s most famous rock-bands, DDT. According to the North-West Political News Agency, the Kultura (Culture) TV channel has a standing order not to air any of Shevchuk’s songs. This year, he was also replaced at an annual commemorative concert for folk artist Bulat Okudzhava.

Shevchuk, who took part in the March 3rd March of Dissent in St. Petersburg, also performed at a concert after the mass-demonstration. Speaking during the protest, he explained that rock music in Russia and St. Petersburg most of all represents freedom. In a later interview, he added that he decided to march because “there was no other choice left.

Those who speak Russian can listen to an interview with Borzykin here.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

guzhy:
very interesting.
again---this is a terrific site.
shevchuk is THE man.
his band, ddt, is perhaps the most respected and most loved group in russia. he's an intelligent and wonderful songwriter.
their '92 "Aktrisa Vesna" album is a masterpiece, a lovesong to russia, and I'm thrilled that Mr Shevchuk loves russia so much that's he's willing to stand up to tyranny.
"osen ti napomnila dushe o camom glavnom......", "autumn you have reminded the soul of what's the most important"-----
love and freedom.

Anonymous said...

for russsii readers here's an interview with shevchuk on why he joined other russia:
http://www.kp.ru/daily/24085/318260/