Putin's not a fan of punk rock
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With lyrics like "Just don't listen to him; a pig will always find mud to roll in", it's no surprise that punk band PTVP can't be found on Russian TV. But one of our pro-Kremlin Observers tells us it's got nothing to do with politics. Read more...
With lyrics like "Just don't listen to him; a pig will always find mud to roll in", it's no surprise that punk band PTVP can't be found on Russian TV. But one of our pro-Kremlin Observers tells us it's got nothing to do with politics.
Punk has been more or less entirely removed from the Russian media since Vladimir Putin's first term as president in 2000. Last month we were made aware that some of the music fans had even been added to the government's extremist list and supporters of punk groups were being placed under police surveillance. The lengthy crackdown pushed some groups to go mainstream. But one band which did not succumb to the censorship, is PTVP, or "The Last Tanks in Paris". After AFP published a story about the band on Monday, the Western media fell in love with PTVP, being particularly taken with the idea of calling Putin a pig.
The song in which Putin is referred to as such is called FSB Whore (referring to the Federal Security Service, successor to the KGB). The lyrics are short and to the point:
He always lies to you
Just don't listen to him
A pig will always find mud to roll in
The group also sings in more details about Putin in their take on the Sex Pistols legendary hit God Save the Queen. In the following video they're performing "God Save Putin" at the Tabula Rasa rock club in Moscow, November 2007. Before he starts singing, front man Alexei Nikonov recites a little rhyme about Putin being like a rat.
“They’re censored because they are punks, not because they are anti-government”
Yuri Jakor is a political activist from for pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi. He lives in Russia's punk capital, Saint Petersburg.
I don't like PTVP but not because of their anti-government stance. What displeases me is their lyrics in general. One of their most well-known songs starts with ‘I put a hole through my hand with a corkscrew'. Such lyrics might be normal in France with the history of literature they have there, but for Russia it's a bit radical.
Nobody has censored this band because they are anti-government, they're censored because they are punks, and we simply don't show punks on Russian TV or radio. The music we show on Russian TV is MTV and official pop-concerts. Even Russia's biggest punk band, Grazdanskaya Oborona has never been shown on TV. The only punk you'll see on air is bands like Korol I Shut [a pop-punk band who sing about vampires and mythology]. That's not real punk.
In any case, PTVP and front man Alexei Nikonov only have an anti-government image because that's how they make a living. A punk can't be seen agreeing with the government; he's a punk. As PTVP are not in the capital, they're not able to sell themselves out by going into pop music or R'n'B. So instead, they make money by putting on punk gigs in expensive clubs here. PTVP holds a concert or two in the best clubs in St Petersburg every month.
And anyway, PTVP isn't the first Russian anti-government band. The front man of Russia's most popular rock band, DDT, Yuri Shevchuk sung in 2002 ‘Putin goes from shore to shore, while we're still in the shit' to try and work up an Orange revolution in Russia.
The only reason these bands get attention is because most of the American press want to depict Putin as a dictator, despite it not being true. I really don't think that PTVP like Putin any more then the Sex Pistols liked the British queen or George Michael liked Tony Blair. I see no difference whatsoever."
Russia: “One million miles of shit”
Performance in London. Video posted here.
The lyrics, translated by Ostap Karmodi, are as follows:
Good morning Beslan, Good morning Chechnya, Good morning cops, Good morning my country
My free country, My free country, My free country, A million miles of shit
Good morning Nord-Ost, Good morning Moscow, Good morning people, Good morning my country
Beslan refers to the 2004 school massacre when almost 200 children were killed.
Nor-Ost refers to the Moscow theatre hostage crisis of 2002 perpetrated by Chechen separatists, when over 100 hostages were killed.