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Ilya Kormiltsev (1959-2007)

Published: February 9, 2007 (Issue # 1244)



  • Kormiltsev pictured in August 2006.
    Photo: Vladimir Filonov / The St. Petersburg Times

Ilya Kormiltsev, poet, translator, the head of the radical publisher Ultra Kultura and a former songwriter for the Soviet rock band Nautilus Pompilius, died in London on Sunday. He was 47.

Late last month, Kormiltsev was reported to have been hospitalized in London, diagnosed with cancer of the spine in its worst stage.

A persistent critic of the Kremlins politics, Kormiltsev protested when former Nautilus Pompilius singer Vyacheslav Butusov performed, for a fee, for 5,000 activists of Nashi at the Kremlin-backed youth movements summer camp in July 2006. He compared Nashi with the Chinese Cultural Revolutions infamous Red Guards.

In articles and interviews, Kormiltsev accused former rock scene peers in betraying the dissenting nature of the music when Akvariums Boris Grebenshchikov, Leningrads Sergei Shnurov and the others secretly met the Kremlins ideologist Vladislav Surkov in 2005.

It means that the people dont think about their future, above all, he said in an interview with The St. Petersburg Times last August.

The Surkovs come and go, but you wont be able get back your reputation.

Kormiltsev was born on Sept. 29, 1959 into the family of geologists in Sverdlovsk, as Yekaterinburg was then known. He graduated from the chemistry department of the Urals University in 1981.

In the 1980s, Kormiltsev became active at the then-burgeoning Sverdlovsk underground rock scene, writing lyrics for several local bands including bands Urfin Dzhus and Nastya.

But he is best-remembered for co-writing some of the best-known Nautilus Pompilius songs, such as the anti-totalitarian anthems Skovanniye Odnoi Tsepyu (Chained Together) and Shar Tsveta Khaki (Khaki-Colored Globe).

Always an opponent to the Soviet and post-Soviet authorities, he rejected the Lenin Komsomol Award that was given to Nautilus Pompilius in 1989.

In the 1990s and 2000s, he became well-known as a translator. He translated many English and American works by authors such as William Burroughs and Bret Easton Ellis.

More recently, Kormiltsevs publishing house attracted controversy by putting out a wide range of nonconformist literature, from skinhead memoirs to anthologies of American Beat poetry to the prison essays of National Bolshevik Party founder Eduard Limonov.

Ultra Kultura was under permanent attack from the authorities and was accused, alternatively, of promoting drug use, or spreading pornography.

Kormiltsev is survived by his wife, the opera singer Alesya Mankovskaya, and a son, Stas.

A memorial service will be held at the Central House of Writers in Moscow at 11 p.m. on Friday. A funeral service will be held at Moscows Troyekurovskoye Cemetery at 2 p.m.

By Sergey Chernov





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Nov. 27


The Customs and Transportation Committee for AmCham meets this morning at 9 a.m. in their office on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.


Tickets are still available for local KHL team SKA St. Petersburgs showdown with Siberian club Metallurg Novokuznetsk tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Ice Palace outside the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. Tickets can be purchased on the teams website, at the arena box office or in their merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.


Celebrate one of Russian literatures most tragic figures during Blok Days, a two-day celebration of the 134th anniversary of the poets birthday. The tragic tenors work, which led to writer Maxim Gorky to hail him as Russias greatest living poet before his death in 1921, will be recited and meetings and discussions about his contributions to the Silver Age of literature in St. Petersburg will be discussed in the confines of his former residence.



Friday, Nov. 28


Join table game aficionados at the British Book Centers Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test ones intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only mans best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during todays reenactment titled Winter War: How it Was. More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie Black Cat, White Cat, as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of Takoy Festival, a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonights festival finale is Fathers and Sons, a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenevs classic about familial relations.



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