Staunton, July 13 – The combination of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine appeared to mark the end of Russia’s musical scene and certainly sparked pessimism among its devotees, Nikolay Ovchinnikov says. But in fact, these events hit popular music far harder in Moscow than in the regions, where it is easier for performers to continue to work.
The producers in Moscow depended on interaction with the West, the cultural critic says; but those in the regions do not. Consequently, the latter have not been hit as hard by the new restrictions and are even gaining from the attention of those who had looked West rather than around Russia (snob.ru/culture/v-ozhidanii-vzryva-chto-budet-s-muzykoj-v-rossii-v-blizhajshie-mesyacy-i-gody/ reposted at region.expert/music/).
And that in turn means two things. On the one hand, it points to the likelihood that Russian music in the coming years will become decentralized with groups from various regions and republics playing a greater role not only in their home areas but for the country as a whole which will now pay attention to them.
And on the other, Ovchinnikov suggests, it means that “stop listening to Moscow” when it comes to music and perhaps other things as well will become the slogan of the Russian musical scene, a shift that if it takes place will transform not only music but the Russian Federation as a whole regardless of what the authorities do.
“From the point of view of freedom of creativity,” he argues, this represents “a return to the mid-1980s,” when Moscow was frozen but the regions and republics were thawing and when many of the genres of music which a certain generation of Russians grew up with first emerged and led to the explosions of perestroika and the demise of the Soviet system.