“How much punk rock do you hear in Russia?”

April 27th, 2010 by

Tigran, a kind reader from the former USSR sent in this rad selection of Soviet-era punk rock for your listening pleasure. Tigran writes, “It contains great ’80s Soviet punk bands that were really innovative and talented. They created a unique sound not even heard of in western punk at that time.” Take that, Mykel Board!

He also sent these great pics! Here’s the download. Playlist at the end of the post — насладитесь!

[Update from Tigran & Facebook readers: A few bands here are actually post-Soviet — Grazhdanskaya Oborona, Chimera and Nyurnberg are from the ’90s. Thanks nerds!]

Grazhdanskaya Oborona (1984)

Adolf Gitler, 1986 (not a Nazi band)

Putti (1983)

Soviet mixtape playlist:

1. mi sjadem na tanki / ADOLF GITLER
3. rukoyatka / CHIMERA
4. serij golub / ZVUKI MU
6. vintovka eto prazdnik / GRAZHDANSKAYA OBORONA
8. opredeljonnije / MATROSSKAJA TISHINA
9. deklosirovannim elementam / YANKA
10. epidemija sili / NJURNBERG
11. na blazhennom ostrove kommunizma / KOMMUNIZM
12. novobranci / ARMIJA VLASOVA
13. tretij reih / ADOLF GITLER
14. trezvost / BRIGADNIJ PODRJAD
16. zoopark / POSEV
17. davaj vojnu / PIZHEVIJE OTHODI
18. radiodiversija / AUKCION

14 responses to ““How much punk rock do you hear in Russia?””

28 04 2010
Calvinist J.S.M. (00:28:05) :

Total class… Brilliant mix. If Punk is about attitude then Russia, the whole country, is PUNK personified, going to see ANY sort of music played that did not fit in with the state sponsored culture ethic meant inevitable battles with the army, threat of imprisonment or even death. It took real guts to do it and these guys were not interested in releasing records or anything as Letov said. btw not to be a pedant but the picture of Grazhdanskaya Oborona must be after 1992 as there is a National Bolshevik flag hanging behind them.

28 04 2010
justin (08:54:08) :

this is rad!

28 04 2010
Dk (09:16:15) :

This badass mixtape leaves me utterly speechless!!…um…um…um…

28 04 2010
Calvinist J.S.M. (22:34:11) :

PS Grazhdanskaya Oborona straddled pre and post Communist era (Posev was their first incarnation.), the tracks included here are from the mid 80’s, it is the photo that was taken in the 90’s.

28 04 2010
Blair (23:09:11) :

Fuckin Cool! I need punk rock visitors, b a tourist ViVa!

29 04 2010
Sergey (13:48:00) :

epidemija sili / NJURNBERG


I’m from Russia and knew only about half of these bands.

thank you!!!

If you liked the acoustic stuff, make sure to check out Alexandr Bashlachev

30 04 2010
Bryan Swirsky (08:01:09) :

Hey All:

This is great! Just for clarification, a lot of this material is related to Egor Letov in some way or another. Letov was the founder of Grazhdnaskaya Oborona and was a major player in the Siberian underground scene and was at once a true poet and thinker and a mass of contradictions. I say ‘was’ as he sadly passed away two years ago from heart failure. read this for more info: http://soveticus.wordpress.com/page/3/

To date, Letov has recorded and released at least 100 full works under different names and guises and has collaborated with many noted musicians, including his brother, Sergei Letov, a well-regarded avant garde Jazz musician – who himself was associated with the underground punk band, DK (pronounced, Dah Kah and are fucking weird as hell). For the record, most of these tracks were ‘unofficial’ and not recognized by the Russian state. Meaning, they were produced illegally, in underground fashion and distributed tape to tape (magnizdat style) without any governing authority. DIY for real, punx!

Regarding what’s on this comp, and where Letov’s mark can be found:

Grazhdanskaya Oborona (Civil Defense) – The first GO collection hit the streets magnizdad style in 1985. Letov recorded many GO records by himself on reel to reel, with lots of bleed in the mix and a natural distorted DIY sound (proto Black Metal?). Zagavor and Totalitarianism sounds like it was recorded solo. The other two have a ‘band’ feel. You can find out more information about where these tracks come from on the website: http://www.gr-oborona.ru but you have to read Cyrrilic or deal with shitty Google translator spew.

Posev – Letov’s earliest effort. Pre-GO. Dates back to 1982 tho I am not sure of the origins of this track.

Kommunism – Letov in a more experimental guise, paying tribute to and taking the piss out of the old Soviet ways. There are almost as many Kommunism records as there are GO records.

Adolf Gitler is Letov with the Rochenko brothers from the band, Pik I Klaxon. If I am not mistaken, both Rochenkos are deceased.

Amrmija Vlasova is a GO related band. Letov produced this and probably played drums.

Instrukcija Po Vizhivajiu (Instructions for Survival) features Neumoev, one of the most controversial frontmen in all Russian punk history. IPV started out anarchist and eventually slid backwards toward the far right racist bullshit during the Russian Breakthrough era of the early 90s. IPV were a huge influence on Letov. So much so the last thing GO recorded before they broke up was a start-to-finish covers collection of IPV songs. Legend has it Neumoev had it out with Letov over payment. That and supposedly he’s a bit of a fallen idol these days.

Yanka aka Yanka Dyageleva – Letov’s common-law wife and a true artist in her own right. Very much influenced by singer Alexander Bashlachev, Yanka is Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Nico, Buffy Ste Marie and early Joni Mitchell in one body and that’s just my stupid way of describing someone who is utterly indescribable. She never produced a real record in her lifetime however, you can trawl the net and find stuff. Yanka’s music falls in to a few different categories: straight acoustic; with a rock band (usually GO w/her at the helm) or studio produced by Letov, giving the music that dense weird psychedelic folk punk vibe found on so many GO recordings. Sadly, Yanka died at the age of 24 under mysterious circumstances. A friend of mine, Alina Simone is keeping her music alive. Look her up. She’s amazing.

As to Automaticheskie Udovletoriteli (Automatic Satisfiers) – Anton Svin Panov (also deceased) was the lead singer/mastermind behind Russia’s answer to the Sex Pistols. Started in 1978 if I am not mistaken and in Moskow. Svin got away with it as his parents were recognized cultural movers and shakers in Russian high life. ‘Svin’ means ‘pig’ in Russian and the dude had personality to burn!

Brigadnij Podriad- again, very early and very important band and again, the singer (Kolya Mikhailov) is dead.

if you wanna hear more stuff from Russia and Eastern Europe, I have a podcast up at http://radiojoy.co.uk/blog/2010/04/man-at-leisure . The cast is a mixed bag so you have to wait to hear it ten minutes in.

Spahseebah, Komrades

1 05 2010
Bryan Swirsky (15:56:54) :


Below is a list of all the bands Letov either led or had a hand in:

– Adolf Gitler
– Anarkia
– Armia Vlassova
– Chernozoyom
– Cherny Lukich
– Grazhdanskaya Oborona
– Instruktsiya Po Oborona
– Kommunyzm
– Kooperative Nishtyak
– Kuza UO
– Egor Letov
– P.O.G.O.
– Posev
– Spinka Myenta
– Yegor I Opizdyenyenshiye

– Svin + Automaticheskie Udovletoriteli were from Leningrad, not Moscow

4 05 2010
Combat Action (20:30:12) :

would love to know what this Posev song is from.

9 05 2010
johnny (12:06:32) :

Hey I’m having trouble downloading this. It keeps downloading a link, but not the media files. any suggestions? thanks

15 05 2010
paaya (07:16:15) :

if you want to check some more stuff about Grazhdanskaya Oborona (especially some lyrics translations as the interview is stolen from 1991 MRR) check my zine – Drunk Nach Osten, it’s in english, all dedicated to East European punk/hc both old and recent…


17 05 2010
Emil (07:41:40) :

Thanks for this. This is a very interesting/original sound that is now seems to be going extinct.

For those interested in Soviet heavy metal around the same time (Perestroika 80’s/early 90s’) check out my old blog http://houseofsuffering.blogspot.com/ all the download links still work as far as I know.

1 01 2012
jamie davis (03:30:36) :

Thanks for this. I haven’t heard some of it,but most of Yegor letov’s music is brilliant. He did support the National Bolshevik party, but renounced them and all politics in general in 2001. The Armia Vlasova is a strange name as Vlasov was a Red Army man who collaborated with the Nazis in the Ukraine in hopes of overthrowing Stalin. Letov was probably the best punk artist in Russia or anywhere else really in the past 30 years. In spite of his Western inlfuences he was a total original.

17 01 2012
Matt Clark (22:32:04) :

What’s the name of this compilation?

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