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Celebrity

Boris Grebenshchikov: "Any attack by one person (mass of people or country) on another is a crime”

28.05.2022

On June 2, a charity concert of the partisans of the Aquarium group - BG + is held in Hague to fundraise to Ukrainian hospitals in areas most affected by Russian military aggression.  All profits from the performance will go to new ambulances and medicines.

Tickets are still on sale here.

On the eve of the concert, Trendz Europe spoke with  Boris Grebenshchikov - the leader of the group, Soviet and Russian poet and musician, one of the founders of Russian rock.

In one of your interviews about London you said: "On arriving here, I realized that there is some unknown magic factor to me, which I can't name. but for me it's like water for a wilt plant". Perhaps you can explain the magic of London to us?

To define means to restrict. But William Blake wrote a lot about Albion, the ancient name for England; that's what I feel.

A lot of people focus on cultural differences. And the very notion of "foreign," which you and Mikhail Kozyrev talked about, emerges. This is where many of those who "moved away" break down. Should we even try to make the country of emigration a "second home"?

We all have the same home: this world. We live on the same land under the same sky, breathe the same air and drink the same water. We don't have a second home. And to break into separate groups is optional. If you don't know the language and culture of the place you live in, it will always be foreign to you.

I've been interested in the big world since childhood, and I've never wanted to hide from it in the corner. So I still want to visit and see everything, meet everyone, hear all the music and live in every house. And to know the most important thing which is behind what we see and hear.

Speaking about censorship in Russia, you once used the expression "the illness of power”. But in the same interview, you reminded us of the importance of acceptance (in that case, it was about the Covid). Is today's war also a disease of power? And if it is madness (as you said in your video), how can we accept it?

I cannot offer any advice here; let everyone decide for themselves. I am not interested in talking about power, but everyone knows one thing: any attack by one person (a mass of people, a country) on another is a crime.

We know from history books that every event in the world repeats itself or goes in a spiral, where each new turn repeats the previous one in an inexact way. Is this rather comforting or despairing?

It doesn't matter. If we stop theorizing, it turns out that we have just enough strength to cope with what is granted to us.

Everyone is given a cross to bear.

The song "The One Who Stole The Rain" fits the current situation very well, except for the line "Thank God you didn't have time to do any harm." And, of course, we all hope that the heavens will fall and bury us, but until that happens, what can we do about this toxic sense of helplessness to somehow get on with our lives?

We're all thinking in world terms: but we should do things differently: just look around you and help those who need it; no one is asking more of you.

You quote Confucius: "If you hate them, then they have won. Is hatred a weakness? A vice? A sin?

Hate is stupidity, selfishness and a waste of energy. If you want to do something, do it with an unclouded head; hatred will only distract you.

Your quote, "Naivety leads to crime." Is our government naive?

I'm not interested in thinking about government.

Can you still say after February 24, "that so far the world has moved in the right direction"?

Humanity's wars have never stopped; it's just that this war is happening to us now. And where the world is going, words cannot explain; so let it be.

As Gandalf said, we do not choose the time we live in, but we choose how to live in it.

Today, both sides rush to evaluate each other on the basis of "has left or not hasn’t left", "spoken out or silent", "plays under banner Z or not”. Do you evaluate your colleagues by these new criteria?

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. If someone does something, it's their business; they are personally accountable to Heaven for what they do.

In a recent interview you touched on ignorance, lack of motivation for self-education, and so on. Do you agree with Brodsky, who said, "It is more difficult for a man who has read Dickens to shoot other humans in the name of any idea than it is for a man who has not read Dickens"?

Knowledge is strength. Ignorance is always a weakness. And as for shooting at his own kind, everyone decides for himself. As a rule, the more developed a person is, the less he shoots, because he knows other methods to achieve what he wants.

You yourself went through all these waves of prohibition and censorship. Do you think it's gotten tougher now? Or can you say, "Nothing has changed. I've seen it all before"?

Nothing has changed. Censorship has always existed; it is only a question of its reasonableness. And with unreasonable censorship, people are happy to play tic-tac-toe.

Under what circumstances will you return to Russia and do you plan to perform in Ukraine in the near future?

That depends on God. It's not wise to predict anything nowadays.

Interviewed by: Irina Iakovleva и Victoria Hoogland

Photo by Anton Phatianov

Boris Grebenshchikov benefit concert in the Hague
Ukraine

Boris Grebenshchikov benefit concert in the Hague