Thursday, July 13, 2017 ... /////

Celebrating Russian pop-music

Donald Trump's son Donald is being harassed for having met an attractive Russian female lawyer. I am amazed by this hysteria and find it as wild and overblown as Russia's FM Lavrov. What's wrong about meeting a Russian lawyer, especially if she could have possessed some useful data on the opponent of the campaign that you direct? Is a Russian lawyer worse than a Japanese, Spanish, or Mexican one? These efforts to outlaw the very meetings with people who are Russian are exactly on par with the Nazis' anti-Semitism and if you think that you're any better, Yankees, you have just blinded yourself. This criminalization of meetings with the Russians corresponds to the situation of the Jews in Germany around 1937.

While Czechia belongs to the Western civilization and has been culturally closer to Germany than to Russia for some 1,000 years, it's just impossible for me not to understand this Russophobia personally because of our Slavic roots – and because of the fact that most Americans are so immensely ignorant about the European geography and history that they don't even understand that e.g. Czechoslovakia has always been an independent country, from the USSR, where people spoke their language and didn't follow the Russian culture most of the time, among other things.

Today, Czech media informed us that Tamara Miansarova died of pneumonia complications at the age of 86. She was the original singer of "Пусть всегда будет солнце" ("Let There Be Sunshine") in the 1960s. This song was obviously a part of the propaganda in the communist bloc and that's why we were served it but I still find this song extremely touching, excellent musically, and to say the least, it is the best song promoting peace that I know.

Quite generally, I just can't imagine why someone would consider Russians to be something else than another, culturally European, nation. There are differences between nations but to believe in some metaphysical difference that turns Russians into eternal enemies seems like a complete collapse of someone's rational thinking.

In particular, Russia has been a source of many things that we associate with the West – like pop music. In 1999, the artificial Russian duo Tatu was created. I think that their genesis and approximate genre makes them completely analogous e.g. to the Spice Girls. But because they're Russian, they're presented very differently.

If you've never heard a song by Tatu, you should try I Love a Robot (a clear metaphor for homosexuality – the duo was designed to pretend that they were lesbian), A Gay Boy, Half an Hour, and They Won't Catch Up With Us ("Nás ně dogoňat").

I've been to Russia twice (2 weeks in each case) – in July 1988, in our twin city Yekaterinburg (then Sverdlovsk) where we lived in Russian families; and in July 1992, in Moscow (the International Mathematical Olympiad). I believe that it was already in Sverdlovsk when their radios were playing "Милый, мне очень грустно было" ("My darling, I was feeling sad") all the time. The song continues "I was calling you and I spent the whole evening at home".

The chorus sung by the woman (Elena Spiridonova) is so catchy partly because I understand it – and can reproduce it – perfectly.

It's my belief that I've tried to search for the song on the Internet for many years but today, it was the first time when I succeeded – after almost 30 years. ;-) The transliteration just hasn't helped in the past. Today's success is mostly due to my decision to write the lyrics that I remembered well in the Cyrillic script. In that way, it works immediately.

So it seems to me that I was never aware of the fact that it's Mr Igor Kornelyuk's song that first appeared in a 1989 album – but unless I am wrong, I was already listening to it in Summer 1988. It sounds very catchy but I needed almost 30 years to reconstruct the experience. ;-)

Another song that I would hear all the time during at least one visit of Russia was Тяжёлый день (A Hard Day), a remake of In The Army Now by Status Quo. But I was already able to find this remake on the Internet a decade ago.

Check top Russian songs of July 2016 for a fresher perspective on their Western-like music scene.

My main point is that with their similar mix of classical, choir, and pop music, among other genres, it just seems utterly irrational to consider Russians to be another species.