Skip to main content
  • Share to or

‘We’ve made our choice’ Russian indie rock band performs in occupied Ukraine just weeks after appearing on Kremlin’s music industry blacklist

Source: Meduza

In early February, Meduza reported on a secret list of singers and bands that the Kremlin had banned from performing in Russia. The blacklist included artists who have spoken out against the full-scale war as well as some who have gestured at opposing the war in their statements and lyrics but have stopped short of explicitly criticizing it. But one of these artists, the indie rock band Komsomolsk, now appears to have made peace with Moscow’s invasion: its members announced on Wednesday that they recently gave a concert in occupied Ukrainian territory. In response, the band’s former songwriter tweeted that he wants to “spit in their faces.” Here’s how the situation unfolded.

The Russian indie rock band Komsomolsk, which appeared on a Kremlin list of artists banned from performing that was obtained by Meduza earlier this month, reported on Wednesday that they recently gave a concert in the occupied Ukrainian city of Melitopol.

In these challenging times, everyone’s going to have to get out of their comfort zones and decide: will we continue fighting for a brighter future, or will we try to escape from the burdens and inconveniences (and inevitably lose)? We’ve made our choice, and we want to live in our own country with our own people, our own problems, and our own joys. And help people however we can, which in our case means through songs.

The group’s founders, Darya Deryugina and Arina Andreyeva, performed for young children in a “social-psychological rehabilitation center” and for schoolchildren and college students at a youth center.

In early February, Meduza reported that producers and promoters in the Russian music industry had been given a list of artists who were “banned from concert activity” in the country. The list included singers who attended the Moscow “almost naked” party that sparked a public scandal in December, artists who have spoken out against the invasion of Ukraine, and bands that have mostly been silent about the war, including Komsomolsk.

The day after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Komsomolsk published the following statement on social media:

Just yesterday, we woke up in a different world — one in which our bright love songs have become songs of wartime. But we need to (and we can!) get through all this together, so we’re going to sing them with you all this weekend. We’re hoping for the best, just like everybody else :(

Later that year, Deryugina and Andreyeva reported that they were assisting Ukrainian refugees in Russia.

Russia’s music industry blacklist

Kremlin de facto bans dozens of top singers from performing Russia’s secret music industry blacklist contains war opponents, ‘almost naked’ party attendees, and others

Russia’s music industry blacklist

Kremlin de facto bans dozens of top singers from performing Russia’s secret music industry blacklist contains war opponents, ‘almost naked’ party attendees, and others

In October 2022, the band released an EP titled “Komsomolsk-0.” One of the songs, “From Our Window,” contains the following lyrics:

From our window

You can see a black city square, you can see a dark moon

From our window

A school, a church, and black block houses

Big block houses

Look, Moscow is burning — it’s me, it’s me who lit the fire

From our window

The guitar string, melted into a bullet, is trembling in the wind

Another song released that year, “Cranes,” seems to reference the mass emigration out of Russia following the start of the full-scale war:

Look, look, look at the birds in the night

The cat from the courtyard flew away

Other cats followed

And the neighbor’s dog

And the neighbor himself cries, “It’s time!”

And the neighbors flew off, cars flew away,

Buses, trees, entire apartments flew away,

A blanket, a pillow, thoughts, hopes, ideas

From Russia with love — they flew, flew away [...]

Musicians flew away, millionaires and hobos,

Youth flew away, in the sky [...]

Fields flew away and rivers flew away

Finally, you flew away

And under an empty sky whose stars had flown away

Only me, the Motherland, and the cops remained

In November 2022, Komsomolsk reported on social media that its drummer, Pavel Kochetkov, had left the band and “changed his residence.” Lyricist Ivan Ryabov also left the band.

After the band posted about its concert in Melitopol, Ryabov wrote on X (formerly Twitter): “When we meet, I’ll be sure to spit as hard as I can in the faces of Scamsomolsk’s members and everyone involved, like their booze-soaked manager. I didn’t think I’d ever be able to write anything like that in my life, times have changed.” (His account now appears to have been taken down.)

Sign up for Meduza’s daily newsletter

A digest of Russia’s investigative reports and news analysis. If it matters, we summarize it.

Protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

  • Share to or