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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, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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