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Troitsky Remains Cautiously Optimistic

Russian rock and rolls leading critic weighs in on Ukraine and what it means for the Russian music scene.

Published: April 23, 2014 (Issue # 1807)



  • Troitsky pictured at Tallinn Music Week late last month, where he moderated a panel on freedom of expression.
    Photo: Sergey Chernov / SPT

Celebrity music journalist and promoter Artemy Troitsky has been known for his civic stance for the most of his career, which started in the Soviet Union in the 1970s. Most recently, he was one of the spokesmen of the protest movement in Russia in 2011 and 2012, a supporter of feminist punk band Pussy Riot, with whom he hosted a session at Tallinn Music Week late last month, and of the Maidan protest movement in Ukraine, where he spoke and performed as a DJ in Dec. 2013. He sat down with The St. Petersburg Times to share his views on the current political situation during his one-day visit to the city on Apr. 16.

Related: Rock Critic Troitsky Ready to Protect the People

Q: You spoke and performed as a DJ at Maidan protest camp. What was that like?

A: I performed at Maidan on Sunday, Dec. 15, between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., at a prime time in the day, as a DJ on the main stage there. It was after the Nov. 30 [Berkut police attacks] and it was perhaps Maidans most inspired moment, when literally hundreds of thousands of people were there. There were no signs of violence in the air, and, quite the opposite, Maidan looked like a huge cathedral where people were praying, singing songs and being happy. There was an extraordinary enthusiasm reigning. I visited Maidan at perhaps its happiest hour.

I know a huge number of Ukrainian musicians, mostly rock musicians with whom Ive been friends for a long time. I also know some Ukrainian painters and writers. I dont know any politicians, though, but I have good relationships with people in Kiev. Honestly, Ive never been to Western Ukraine and very rarely to Eastern Ukraine. But Kiev is one of my favorite cities and I have many good friends there.

Q: Youve been included in the list of national traitors on a pro-Kremlin website for your statement in support of Ukraine, alongside musicians Andrei Makarevich and Yury Shevchuk. What do you think about the current situation in Russia?

A: Its not very easy for me to speak about whats happening now. There are some things which are open to debate and there are some that are indisputable. The situation in Crimea is one of those debatable subjects. On one hand, I understand the historical perspective and I understand that Crimeas population is mostly ethnic Russian. It also looks as if the Crimeans are happy to join Russia for the most part. In my view, however, the way it was done does not stand up to scrutiny. You dont need to be a lawyer or diplomat to understand that Russia just used a convenient opportunity and violated lots of laws in the process. Its clear that the referendum had no legal grounds, because it was held on the territory of Ukraine but without the consent of the country itself. It was held with the support of those notorious little green men [Russian troops without insignias], which is more than strange for the expression of free will which a referendum should represent. I dont think there was ever a referendum that took two weeks from start to finish in the history of mankind. Referendums on Catalonia and Scotland have been in preparation for years. But Ill repeat, [Crimea] is a debatable question, there are arguments for and against it.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Tuesday, Oct. 21


The Environment, Health and Safety Committee of AmCham convenes this morning at 9 a.m. in the organizations office.


Take the opportunity to pick the brains of Dmitry V. Krivenok, the deputy director of the Economic Development Agency of the Leningrad region, and Mikhail D. Sergeev, the head of the Investment Projects Department, during the meeting with them this morning hosted by SPIBA. RSVP for the event by emailing office@spiba.ru before Oct. 17 if you wish to attend.


Improve your English at Interactive English, the British Book Centers series of lessons on vocabulary and grammar in an informal atmosphere. Starting at 6 p.m., each month draws attention to different topics in English, with the topic for this months lessons being visual arts.



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