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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

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Centers Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at todays Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nations premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the citys elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolans latest film Mommy at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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