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Just heard a snippet of this song, in a documentary about people who were kids in the Soviet Union, now adults after the breakup. My Perestroika

Boris Grebenshikov's song was part of the Soviet underground movement, and he and his band took severe risks to just sing it.

It's worth noting if only because it so well echoes our own overall state, and needs, in USA 2012.

Colonel Vasin has come to the frontline
And brought his young wife along
Colonel Vasin has rallied his corps
And told them: "Let's go home"
We fought this war for seventy years
We were taught that life is a fight
But the intelligence has just reported
We fought ourselves all this time.

And I have seen generals
They drink and eat our death
Their children are going crazy
Cause there's nothing left that they don't have
And our land lies in rust
Our churches are burnt.
If we want to have a home to return to
Now is the time to return

Our train is on fire
There are no buttons to push
Our train is on fire
There is no place to run to
Long ago this land was ours
Before we got trapped in this war
And it will die if it is nobody's
It's time for it to be returned

And the torches are burning around us
It's the rallying of all perished troops
And people who shot our fathers
Are now making plans for our youths.
We were born by the sound of marches
We were threatened by jail
I say it's about time we stopped crawling.
We have returned to our land.

Originally posted to Jim P on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 11:36 AM PDT.

Also republished by Protest Music and Rebel Songwriters.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 11:36:55 AM PDT

  •  "Long ago this land was ours" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P, pico, Eric Nelson, mookins

    is a lyric the Progressive Movement could claim as its own.  Thanks for sharing this song and the video.

    I have taken the liberty of republishing your diary for the Protest Music and Rebel Songwriters groups.


    Hey, Mitt! TAX FORMS! Can you really win by betting against voters' rights to THE TRUTH?

    by vahana on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 11:50:05 AM PDT

    •  "I say it's time we stopped crawling" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, mookins

      is a pretty good motto too.

      Thanks for republishing. I didn't even know there was such a group. Will have to check it out.

      I actually cried when I read the English translation, knowing these guys risked their freedom, maybe even their lives, just to sing a song like this.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 12:01:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Definitely influenced by Dylan, and a major force (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, Jim P, mookins

    in building up the Russian rock movement... 'tho when I hear "Russia's Bob Dylan" I think more people would suggest Vladimir Vysotsky.

    Anyway, just a tangent (I saw the diary title and was curious that someone would be writing on Vysotsky here, heh.)

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 12:29:48 PM PDT

    •  I'm totally ignorant of the history of (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pico, mookins

      the Soviet underground movement. Just saw that film "My Perestroika" where they had a couple of lines translated while the music played in background and loved "But the intelligence has just reported / We fought ourselves all this time." and went looking.

      Saw someone calling Mr Grebenshikov "Russia's Bob Dylan" and went with it.

      Thanks for the info, I'll look further into it.

      These were incredibly brave (or reckless) people, who sang songs like that in that place at that time.


      The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

      by Jim P on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 12:45:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Absolutely. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jim P, mookins

        Sorry, I wasn't trying to downplay Grebenshikov at all: he's a titan in Russian music history, without doubt.  I think the reason people are more likely to associate Vysotsky with Dylan is that they both had the poet-with-a-guitar thing down, and they're both better known for their lyrics than their melodies per se.  

        If you're interested in this kind of history, I'd recommend starting off with the bards.  These were singer-songwriters who made a big impact back in the 60s writing often elliptical songs that were more about the hidden messages behind the poetry than the music itself.  The best was undoubtedly Bulat Okudzhava.  He used to joke that he only knew three chords, but the man wrote powerful, powerful stuff.  

        There's also a brilliant example from Czechoslovakia, Karel Kryl.  His first album was considered so incendiary he had to leave the country.  Without doubt my favorite protest songwriter of all time... I just wish there were a better set of translations of his stuff in English, so that I could spread the gospel more easily, heh.

        Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

        by pico on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 03:36:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well, a whole new area to explore for me. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, mookins

          Thanks for the info.

          On Bob Dylan, melodies, and lyric, I do think one of the sad things is Dylan has written many great melodies, fun to sing. But he's completely overlooked in that regard. And a fair number of his songs have melodies which could only exist to support his lyric, and vice versa, which I think is a unique trait among artists. For example "Tales of Yankee Power." http://www.youtube.com/...

          Thanks again for some background on the Iron Curtain's underground movements. I do wish we had something with both heat and light getting widespread play in the US these days. There are pockets, but nothing of great prominence in saying how things really are. This essay's song could fit us nicely with minor adjustments.

          I highly recommend "My Perestroika" if things Russian and Soviet interest you.


          The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

          by Jim P on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 03:56:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll check it out, thanks! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mookins, Jim P

            Here's one of my favorite Kryl songs, "Salome".  He rewrites the Biblical story of Salome dancing for Herod to make a veiled critique of people who informed on each other during the Soviet years.   The most stinging stanza goes something like:

            The night is already waning; the King smiles,
            'I can live peacefully; everything's for the good of the state.'
            Maybe he remembered that ancient saying,
            That when history is made, no one will cry for a head on a plate.
            It's a powerful song.

            Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

            by pico on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 04:20:37 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Super info! Damn, this place just rocks! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, Jim P
  •  Very powerful lyrics. Thanks for posting this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pico, Jim P

    The vid is really wonderful.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Sun Oct 21, 2012 at 12:35:24 PM PDT

  •  Reminds me of that part in the movie (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim P

    'Breaking the Waves' where one of the church elders says how for salvation one must 'truly LOVE the Word' and she says 'You can't love a word. You can only love a person."

    Those men were void, vacant, and their land was cold and bereft.

    They'd abandoned themselves for the false uplift of Theory (Religious, Communist, Capitalist) and the cold comforts of cruel Power.

    Time to regain ourselves, come back to life.

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