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Together à la russe

A singer by the name of Masha Rasputina, who, when a good deal younger and not quite as surgically enhanced, used to thrill nascent Moscow bourgeoisie by appearing on stage in latex lingerie, has just recorded a new song. A few minutes’ research shows that the words, or “lyrics” as these banalities are known the world over to nightclub habitués, have been written by a man with the surname of Reznik.

Reznik, in Russian, is a noun whose dictionary definition is “a butcher specialized in the ritual slaughter of cattle among religious Jews.” This onomatomantic hiccup notwithstanding, Mr. Reznik begins his song thus:

Your service is a sign from God

That you come bearing glad tidings,

And every enemy must fall

When we all stand together.

Pray God your light is never dim,

Pray God the blessèd force is with you,

Russians are praying for your life

And you pray for the life of Russia!

The addressee of the song is, of course, none other than the Russian president, whose giant portrait likeness is projected on the backdrop behind Miss Rasputina when she appears on stage wearing a black trouser suit that, even to an observer ignorant of history, is sure to recall the uniforms of the Schutzstaffel. She is surrounded by a children’s choir in angelic white, which, somewhat more tentatively, evokes the Hitlerjugend.

“Creating this song, Ilya Reznik and I wanted to express feelings supportive of the president in his initiatives for a change of direction in our country,” Miss Rasputina has said in her official press release. “This is a song for those who feel infinite love for our longsuffering Homeland, for those who suffer with it, for those who believe in divine providence of which our Holy Russia partakes. Holy Russia, where truth is alive! It will live for as long as our people believe, pray to god, and defend their motherland to the end.” Please note that while “Homeland” is capitalized, “God” is not. The oversight may look like a carryover from the days when Miss Rasputina danced in fetish outfits, but its actual origin is traceable to the Soviet epoch when publishers in Russia were not permitted to capitalize the word “God.”

The song’s composer, one Kai Metov, has in his own turn released a statement regarding its gestation. “Nobody doubts that our president is restoring to our nation the status of a Great Power in the international arena,” thrills Mr. Metov, “and equally there’s no doubt that, out there in the world, there are many who don’t like it.” In other words, if there had been no global opposition to totalitarian expansionism, Mr. Metov might be considered a lickspittle and a fulsome toady, but seeing that outside of Russia there still exist dark forces of reaction – The Audubon Society? Daughters of the American Revolution? The National Rifle Association? I wonder what he has in mind – his song is a brave and selfless act of vast cultural significance.

Gentle reader, you really must watch this clip. Its appearance really is, as its author selflessly implies, an event of pivotal significance.

Andrei Navrozov

Andrei Navrozov, born in Moscow, lives in Palermo and is European editor for Chronicles.  The former publisher of the Yale Lit, he is a widely published author and translator.  His Italian Carousel: Scenes of Internal Exile was published by Peter Owen Publishers.

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