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Yuriy Gurzhy’s war diary, part 8: Boris sings a hit song for peace with his class – Culture

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March 13, 2022
Did I mention that I am a Russian speaker? Well, I speak Ukrainian too, and in fact more and more in recent years, but I always spoke Russian with my parents and grandparents in Kharkiv.

My Berlin-born 17-year-old son Boris can also speak Russian. He learned the language at home and in a club in Prenzlauerberg that is about his age. It was founded by Russian-speaking mothers who were determined to pass on their mother tongue to their children. The club still exists today, and I have known the mothers of the board for many years. Some of them are from Russia, some from Ukraine.

Political differences were never a problem there. On the first day of the war, the junta invited all members to a demonstration against Putin at the Brandenburg Gate. It was decided to offer a German course to newly arrived Ukrainian children. Meanwhile, German classes take place every day at the club.

In the first days of the war, Phine, my son’s friend, had the idea to collect donations for Ukraine at school. With his schoolmates, he made bracelets, rings and necklaces with Ukrainian symbols. Many participated, including children of Russian-speaking parents. I bought it for ten euros. The school principal also supported fundraising in his newsletter.

In music class last week, Boris was given the task of teaching his class an anti-war song. Given the situation, he chose “soldier”. This Bob Marley-style acoustic anthem of pacifism was released by the Kharkiv duo 5’Nizza in 2003, and became a hit that was often sung happily in choirs, not just in Ukraine.

In the months since the song’s release, the boys of 5’Nizza have gone from underground heroes to Ukrainian Simon & Garfunkel superstars of the new century. They played all over the world, the big clubs in Kiev, Moscow, Berlin and London sold out.


A few years later they went their separate ways. A few days after the start of the war, I saw on the Internet the poster for the tour of SunSay, the band of one of the two singers of 5’Nizza, with the announcement of three concerts in Russia. Serhij Babkin, the other half of the duo, published a new version of “Soldat” on YouTube yesterday: musically nothing has changed, the song is already recognizable from the first chords, but the lyrics have been completely rewritten.

The updated version is much more concrete than the original: “I am a soldier/ But I didn’t want this war/ I am a soldier/ A hero of the new free world/ I am very angry and very strong/ And because of people like me/ Do we have a million here/ Russian warship, fuck you!”


A Ukrainian music news website is reporting on legendary British band Pink Floyd’s decision to withdraw all their albums recorded after 1987 from all Russian and Belarusian streaming platforms in a show of opposition to the aggression in Ukraine. In their comments below this message, Ukrainian fans are a little disappointed.

[Alle aktuellen Entwicklungen im Ukraine-Krieg können Sie hier in unserem Newsblog verfolgen.]

“Well,” writes one from Kiev, “he means well, but who cares about Pink Floyd after 1987? What about ‘Dark Side of the Moon?’ ‘The Wall’?” “But there was a live album from 1988, it was good!” writes another, who is in Lviv at the moment. The rockets hit there for the first time today in the immediate vicinity. Otherwise, a completely normal dialogue between two music nerds.

Read the other parts of Yuriy Gurzhy’s war diary here:

If Russian Pink Floyd fans talk about it anywhere, then neither on Facebook nor on Instagram, which are now blocked in Russia. There is a lot of outrage over this, many influencers make a living from their social media accounts.

Somewhere I come across a video that I do not immediately understand what it is actually about. “I’m devastated. My house is on fire!” a sad, well-dressed blonde says to the camera, but a house on fire is not in the picture.

At first I think he is a Ukrainian from Irpen or Bucha, but I quickly realize that I am wrong, this is a Russian fashion blogger. I’ve invested in content for years, I’ve had so many followers, now everything I do. I’ve worked so hard, I’m gone, I’m gone!” She cries.


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