Perestroika rock idol inspires Belarus protests 30 years after his death

Perestroika rock idol inspires Belarus protests 30 years after his death

Viktor Tsoi put the soundtrack to the generation of change in the USSR, but he died prematurely at the age of 28. Now he is again chanted in the protests in Belarus

Perestroika rock idol inspires Belarus protests 30 years after his death

Mikhail Gorbachev's phone rang. He was the cardiologist of Konstantin Chernenko, who led the USSR until 1985. “Mikhail Sergevich, Konstantin Ustinovich has passed away.” That call was the beginning of Perestroika, but the music of change was already playing. With Gorbachev's rise to power, the need for reforms was finally on the table. The new Soviet leader addressed the Politburo one day and told Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko that things had to be done differently. ” Viktor Tsoi is singing We want changes in concerts, and people say openly and directly that they want changes.” This is how Gorbachev himself told it in an interview in 2012.

To whom did that forerunner voice belong? Viktor Tsoi was a famous rock singer and poet in the Soviet Union during the 1980s at the head of his group Kino. He made you think and dream with his music. They say that policemen, artists and teenagers alike cried on the day of his death , August 15, 1990. It has just been 30 years since the tragic disappearance of the musician who did not live to see the changes and subsequent disenchantment. The curves of history have made his music more present than ever.

Tsoi and his band Kino rose to fame during the last years of the Soviet Union and are still highly admired. At first, the authorities did not facilitate the dissemination of that music. When the government finally viewed rock music with more sympathy, artists were granted access to the media. The success was explosive and the USSR discovered a mass phenomenon within its borders.

Many of his songs have a clear political sense that calls for disobedience and taking control of your future. One of Tsoi's most famous songs, Peremen! (“Changes!”) First sounded in May 1986. These days it has become a kind of protest anthem in Belarus , played and sung by opponents of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko , accused of manipulating the elections presidential elections of August 9 in his favor.

Peremen! it also sounded on the barricades in Moscow during the attempted coup in the summer of 1991, the last reactionary upheaval that would end up killing the USSR by elevating Boris Yeltsin. Two years later, it would sound during the constitutional crisis that had Yeltsin himself trying to dissolve parliament with cannon shots.

«Change is what our hearts require / Change is what our eyes require / In our laughter / And in our eyes / And in the pulse of our veins / Changes! / We expect changes … », says the lyrics of the song.

When he died, Viktor Tsoi was 28 years old . A year above the famous Club of 27 artists who died at that age: Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse …

There is a museum dedicated to him in the boilers of St. Petersburg, where he worked as a stoker to disguise. In the Soviet Union, unemployment was officially non-existent. Those who refused to work were criminally charged with “social parasitism”. To avoid this, many non-conformists of the time worked as janitors.

And a wall on Arbat Street in Moscow's historic center remains covered with tributes to the ever-changing singer. Like Jim Morrison, people come to bring him cigarettes .

The Moskvich he was driving flew into the opposite lane and collided with a bus on the Sloka-Talsi highway in present-day Latvia. The bus driver was found not guilty.

A witness to the accident has revealed new details of the tragedy in an interview with the Russian channel NTV . He watched the car speed past his house, then abruptly flew into the opposite lane and collided with a bus. The woman stressed that, due to the strong impact, the car's engine flew into the tree.

A day after the event, the woman learned from local investigators that traces of alcohol were allegedly found in the musician's blood. However, it was subsequently decided to remove this information from the official version: that he fell asleep behind the wheel while driving at high speed, possibly due to fatigue.

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