And there will be those who will simply say that Western music is bad, and Russian music is good. And someone will try to think and analyze, and Till will still remember the pro-socialist “left march”, the military hit “Beloved City Can Sleep Peacefully” sung in Russian, healthy anti-colonialism and protest against the extremes of the “consumer society”, and not footage from the Nazi Olympic chronicles in clips and strange, to say the least, “working” symbols and crosses. Meanwhile, back in the spring of 21, when, in connection with the release of the film “Devyatayev”, when, in fact, Lindemann began to play with toy airplanes and “Russified”, Platon Besedin declared that everything that was happening was nothing more than an imitation, like a mutilated accent and mistakes of Russian speech in Hollywood films. But today a MK correspondent talked with a famous Sevastopol writer not only about Rammstein, but also about the image of Russia and Russians in foreign culture, which he studied in detail in the book “Why can’t Russians dream? Russia and the West on the Eve of Total War.”
- The story with the Russian song is purely commercial. And here I’m not talking about the whole group, but specifically about the frontman. The affair with Svetlana Loboda integrated Lindemann into Russian show business, and such products began to appear. When I see things like this, I notice the depth of imagery and understanding. If it's a set of stereotypes, then it's not interesting. That’s why the “oohs” and “aahs” amazed me the year before: “Oh, Till Lindemann sang “Beloved City.” Metallica covers local songs in every city they perform in. They performed “Blood Type” in Moscow. So what? This did not stop Till from releasing a mediocre video with pioneers, simply parasitic on cliches. As they say, compare with the level of the “Deutschland” video. Shocking, outrageous, but cool. And Russian “rehashes” are orders and templates.
- How do you evaluate the step of Russian figure skaters? Did they do the right thing?
- This is their personal business, but if I were an athlete, I definitely would not perform under Rammstein. Their music, in principle, does not suit figure skating, that’s it. Secondly, don’t we have our own compositions?
In such stories I see elements of a cargo cult - the aborigines copy and worship the “white masters”. This is what Zadornov constantly talked about. He didn’t ridicule America or the West, but how we take away the worst from them.
- Maybe Lindemann is a “good German”. He accepts his country's defeat because it was the aggressor. And therefore he sincerely admires Devyatayev and all the victorious people?
- I don't think that's true. Many Germans, in principle, do not think so, because they are Germans. And they are losers. And no matter how they later fight the legacy of Nazism, it still lingers in some people. Nazism is a more complex phenomenon than Hitler. This was not a pathology, but a logical product of Europe: German culture has always been a culture of superiority.
Yes, Til is East German. He grew up in the GDR and remembers it very well. But this is still not about “good” and “bad” - such formulations are inappropriate.
- Victor Pelevin wrote in one of his books that Hollywood deliberately distorts the Russian language and confuses cities, not because there are no consultants, but to show the Russians in their place, they say, you are not significant enough to delve into it.
“They look at us, unfortunately, as second-class citizens.” And if someone significant breaks away from Russia - like Mikhail Chekhov or Baryshnikov - he is very quickly integrated into their culture. They have no desire to understand Russian well.
The Soviet Union was the first in history to place cultural figures in the service of the state - hence the influence of the Unions of Writers, Cinematographers, and so on. But the Americans, in addition to the political “Cannon strategy” (about the need to resist the “destructive propaganda of Moscow”) resorted to a similar strategy in mass culture, realized at some point that they needed to develop everything they had in order to counter the spread of communist ideas along with Russian culture.
- But again, Til, trying on the mask of a Russian child who dreams of becoming a pilot, shows the Russian people from the good side. Or he could have slashed, putting on a cartoonish hat with earflaps and running drunk around the crumbling Mir station. Shouldn’t “Beloved City” be placed on the same level as the mention of Gorky Park in the composition “Wind Of Change”, with Russian icons in the “Happy Nation” video and other attempts to “hear Russia”?
- Russians are often depicted in popular prints. Even Dostoevsky, adored abroad, was studied there through the prism of political applicability. In the works of Fyodor Mikhailovich, they tried to find out how to defeat the Soviet people. Everything that could be commercialized, they commercialized. They used everything that could be used for military and economic dominance. I urge you to realize that they studied the Russian language and Russian literature in the same way as our climate and weapons. I'm exaggerating somewhat, but in general everything is exactly like that. How did Gorky Park get into the Scorpions hit? Only because messengers of change were needed - look, Russian rock is so good, the guys from Gorky Park sing in English. But the USSR collapsed, and they ceased to interest anyone.
Pelevin, by the way, said that a Russian artist in a broad sense in the West is viewed purely as a battering ram of the system within. Ideally, you want the riot police to put him face down on the floor and start beating him.
They're just not interested in great talent. As soon as Solzhenitsyn began to say: guys, it’s impossible to live the way Western society lives, he was immediately dumped, and he became a prisoner of his estate.
In my book there is a huge chapter devoted to the image of Russians in Western literature, cinema and computer games.
But “Armageddon” is not the worst thing that can happen to the image of a Russian. “Red Heat” with Schwarzenegger is a concentration of their ideas about us. But this film wasn't trying to offend us, it's about friendship. But there were and are “cranberries” with Russian barbarians or films in the center of which a person dreams of escaping from the USSR/Russia and finding a new life there (for example, “Moscow on the Hudson”). All.
There is interest in certain areas in certain directions - for example, in the Russian avant-garde. Of the writers, John Coetzee in the novel “Autumn in St. Petersburg” or Burgess came close to understanding the Russian soul, but the philosopher Oswald Spengler was right that Russians are alien to Europeans. This foreignness is always overcome, which does not mean that they are bad. The problem is also in how our “soft power”, that same soft power, works.
The Chinese successfully combine newfangled conceptualism, modern culture and traditions. Look at the breakthrough the South Koreans have achieved by turning themselves into a global trend. No one is obliged to understand or examine us. We ourselves must promote what is truly Russian.