Sunday, August 12, 2007

Paint It Black on Winter Palace Square

The Rolling Stones’ recent concert on Palace Square has generated a plenty of reviews, but one definitely makes you feel as if you are “Back in the U.S.S.R.” Amid general exaltation about the celebrity visit, Peterburgsky Dnevnik, an official publication from St. Petersburg City Hall, accused the band of Satan worship and promotion of drug use.
“The Stones’ main superhit was called ... 'Sympathy for the Devil,’” the article states.“‘Sympathy for the Devil’ was followed by the no-less infernal ‘Paint It Black,’ etc. The performing style itself — jumps, savage grimaces and the hellish noise of incredibly loud music making the Hermitage’s windows rattle — all this also had a strong smell of sulfur, rather than of roses.”
“The devil has always been a trademark of St. Petersburg recent visitors’ work, whose official motto in the late last century sounded like ‘sex, drugs, love,’” continued the paper.
“As early as in 1967 the Rolling Stones released ‘Their Satanic Majesties Request,’ an album dedicated to Lucifer. The band’s other songs do not smell like flowers either: ‘Cousin Is Cocaine,’ ‘Morphine Is Your Best Friend,’ etc.”
The Rolling Stones has no songs with such titles (no doubt deliberately misinterpreted lines from the 1971 song “Sister Morphine”), but that has never stopped creative Soviet-style propagandists.
“The Rolling Stones’ songs might be a new word in music. And they might be really great musicians loved by many. But it doesn’t matter. Having grown much older, the rockers have celebrated and continue to celebrate the Devil and drugs,” Peterburgsky Dnevnik wrote, linking the rise in crime to the “fashion for Satanists, narcotics, energy drinks, the noise of brain-softening rhythms.”
Although President Vladimir Putin called the demise of the Soviet Union a “national tragedy on an enormous scale” and has reintroduced many Soviet habits such as ardent anti-Westernism and symbols such as the Soviet anthem, the picture is mixed in 2007.
Soviet leaders such as Leonid Brezhnev and Konstantin Chernenko obviosly disliked rock music, but present-day Russia is, in fact, ruled by rock fans.
The Rolling Stones' concert was massively attended by the Russian establishment including former defense minister Sergei Ivanov, frequently seen as Putin's likely successor, who claimed to be a Beatles' fan and a collector of its vinyl records when he was interviewed for the documentary “Paul McCartney In Red Square” in 2003. Meanwhile Putin's other possible successor, Dmitry Medvedev, has recently admitted attending Deep Purple concerts with Ivanov.
Kremlin ideologist Vyacheslav Surkov writes rock lyrics, while Putin himself, whose favorite band is reported to be Smokie, hung around with McCartney in Kremlin while the ex-Beatle performed “Hey Jude” for him on a Kremlin piano.(from St. Petesburg Times)

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