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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, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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