The sad tale of the rapping soldier

All in good humour, a soldier wrote and recorded a parody of Eminem's "Stan" - this time about daily life in the Russian army. In doing so, he managed to win himself a one-way ticket to Russia's far eastern wastelands.

A story of low wages, high mortgage rates and ramshackle barracks - the rap cover is Lieutenant Vitaly Efremov's  complaint to the Russian defence minister, Anatoly Serdyakov, and then post it on RuTube. At the end of the rap, he explains how disappointed he was not to have received a reply from the minister. But not so fast! The response finally arrived: Efremov would be transferred, he was informed, to Ussuriysk, a far-flung town in the eastern wilderness of Russia.

Still, there are no words of condolence in the Russian blogosphere - in fact the majority of bloggers think that an even harsher punishment should have been doled out to the "snivelling cry-baby".

For those who don't know the original song, Eminem takes on the role of one of his fans, Stan, who writes to him about his problems. The idol doesn't write back, and Stan finally commits suicide.


Translated and subtitled by one of our Russian-speaking Observers.


What is shown in this video

What is shown in this video is not barracks. Barracks are for rank and file soldiers and they tend to be even worse than this. This man is a young officer fresh from military school. The state in Russia must provide accommodation for such people, but in practice this usually means dormitories like this.

Likewise, there are many inaccuracies in the translation which distort the meaning of lyrics. He complains to the minister that many benefits that previously went with his army pay have been cancelled - this is lost in translation. Also in your translation he says the time before he is up for promotion has been cut down - but in fact he says exactly the opposite.


The translation was done by a French student who speaks Russian. Thank you for pointing out the mistakes and adding this important information to the translation.

"Lja-lja" means an idle talk

Present condition of army is a handwork of liberal friends of the West. So it is not necessary lja-lja about unfortunate lieutenants. And then, the army never was sanatorium.
I see, on this site the negative information on Russia is given only. I will give a free professional advice: truthfulness illusion needs also something good about Russia to tell. For example that documents have declassified - about the Munich arrangement when Europe has given Czechoslovakia to Hitler , has sacrificed to its Minotaur, in hope that Hitler will not eat Europe, and will go to the USSR.
England has given Czechoslovakia to Hitler, Poland and Hungary as jackals have torn off from it territory pieces. And France... On January, 25th, 1924 Czechoslovakia and France have concluded the termless contract on the union and friendship which has been added by the ex-Czechoslovak guarantee pact signed in Locarno on December, 1st, 1925 and providing protection by France of borders of Czechoslovakia. France, you has protected the friend? You together with England have told Czechoslovakia: we do not recognise you as a victim of aggression in case of Hitler's attack...
You will tell - and where here is good about Russia? And good is that the USSR then was ready to come to the rescue of Czechoslovakia, but all Europe was against. And Czechs have refused the help finally, have given in to pressure of Europe.

From Russia - with love to you, democratic Europe!

Russia / History

I don't think you are in a position to think about how good was Russia to Europe in the XIX century. The number of victims in the communism era was two times bigger than the number of all victims in the WW2. Russia took its slice of Europe after WW2 (Baltic countries, central eastern countries) and also Russia had a deal with Churchill regarding the sphere of influence.

In October 1944 Churchill went to Moscow to resolve the growing Russo-British disputes. At their first meeting Churchill slipped a small piece of paper across the table to Stalin on which the following was written: Romania 90% to Russia; Greece 90% to Britain; Yugoslavia 50-50; Hungary 50-50; Bulgaria 75% to Russia. Stalin looked at the list, changed Bulgaria to 90% and ticked it with a fat blue pencil.

Now Russia is trying to survive in capitalism and I'm afraid that you will be disappointed since the economico-financial crisis will drive Russia to bankruptcy.

As an American Airman seeing

As an American Airman seeing those images and ideas depicted in this video made me extremely sad. I believe in the honor and privilege of serving your country and to see someone who is making so many sacrifices for their nation be treated so poorly is a shame.

My heart goes out to this lieutenant and his friends who put so much effort creating this video. They took a risk to speak up for their fellow soldiers, hopefully this press will improve the conditions of the Russian soldier, if not the reassignment/punishment will be in vain.

The colleague, do not take

The colleague, do not take to heart burden of military service in Russia. I served on a helicopter in 80th years not only in Afghanistan (it's worse than Ussuriysk), but also in garrison Magdagachi (Amur area, near to Ussuriysk) which was considered as the most deaf hole. I did not see a punishment in places of my service.
Eventually, the lieutenant have not shot:) And in Ussuriisk the fine nature, a taiga, mushrooms, berries, fishing! The young man should begin service in wild and beautiful places...

your arguement is weak and

your arguement is weak and too old. There is nobody from that time who we can even blame. Stalin made a deal with Hitler to share poland, and killed more people over time then Hitler did. Try to argue with something more current then 1925, huh?


Dear Igor,
I agree, we tend to publish pessimistic news on the Observers, not only on Russia. But we really enjoy your comments. They're important because, even if they're disturbing, they provide an insight on Russia which is different from what's usually reported in Western Europe. By the way, feel free to suggest topics we could work on, keeping in mind that we focus on amateur content (photos, videos, etc). And you could also participate to certain posts, as all our Observers. Just use the "send us a tip" link that appears on the right of the web site once you're logged in.

Thanks you for the offer. I

Thanks you for the offer. I agree. And now I will send you interesting and very actual today a theme.

Dear Igor, and you Russian

Dear Igor,

and you Russian "brothers" also "rescued" Czechoslovakia in 1968?

"Bolsoe Vam sposiba bratja zachvatciki!"

in translation to English:

"Thank you brothers intruders!"

Let´s not forget the history.