Tsyrik: Local scene has its special history, as every music style played in Russia or whatever, its roots go back in 80s, at the sunset of Soviet Russia. There were also numerous hardcore and punk rock bands here appearing and fading during the 90s - 2000s, and all it had some special character, a bit odd, due to be born in Soviet period and so on…
But nowadays hc punk scene has a lot of variety and is interesting, there some really good bands are still around and appearing every month, and really worth of being checked, and not only in bigger cities like Moscow and St Petersburg (where scene is incredible), but in smaller distant towns as well. There are a few punk clubs in Moscow where different punk and metal gigs always happen. Also, there were attempts of making squats in different cities, but all they were doomed to a failure and were rudely closed by police due to the fact of current state regime, so that’s how everything looks like.
For the really worthy bands here are some we often share the scene with and who are our close mates:
DUKE NUKEM from St. Petersburg - it’s brilliance of RFHC, TANK mixed with Burning Spirits hc like Death Side, Poison arts etc.
DISTRESS - Well known Russian long-playing d-beat act from St. Petersburg. Throughout the years they are still one of the most powerful bands from here, good old friends of ours and high class drinkmates!!! *check their last EP!
REPTILOIDS from Moscow - raw hardcore punk, they sadly split not long ago, really intense one, check their EP releases, it’s a real slaughter.
REPRESSION ATTACK from the town of Ryazan - old school stenchcore from the very depths of hell, who have released an album, and also a single or two.
KARZER, St. Petersburg - psychedelic stenchcore, really distinguishable stuff with some cassettes released.
FURTHER CHARGES from Moscow/Voronezh, southern Russia - already mentioned above intense and angry UK '82 punk rock, with a cassette demo released a year ago. I joined 'em in 2016 when the guitarist of the band, our big friend, sadly died.
CHAOSBRINGER - russian Bolt Thrower, with a killer album released recently.
Also great non active bands, who have released amazing records which are highly recommended to check:
BLOODSUCKERS (St.Petersburg) – raw hardcore punk KAAOS style.
UNBROKEN BONES (Izhevsk) - featured in EL ZINE some years ago, great Russian harcdcore band, 80's UKHC meets USHC.
SHITWORLD from Moscow, raw punk in Swedish style like Discard, Asocial etc.
Maybe I forgot something but that’s enough to represent current Russian hardcore scene.
Are you guys politically active? I have seen from the general news and internet media that there have been some big protests against the Putin administration from time to time, since the protests against the election in December 2011. And there has been the military intervention in Ukraine since 2014. Sounds like Russia has had many big political events recently. Any thoughts on these? Are there many anarchist-punks there who are involved in any actions? Or is it totally separated from punk? Like only Liberals do that kind of protests etc..?
(And while I’m writing this, I heard the news that Putin is “officially” re-elected!)
Tsyrik: Being younger we were much more active regarding this question, were taking parts in different anarchist/antiwar/animal rights actions. It was a great part of our lifestyle, all the members came from punk hc scene which always refused all that shit which modern world is poisoning us with, and local scene became very political by the mid of 2000s. The streets were full of nazi skins, cops were ultra violent to any kinds of social minorities and it was really tough time, but full of memorable moments connected with those activities from that period, it was a great time, really honest and absolutely INSANE bloody hell.
Since that time the tables have not turned much, maybe there is not so much violence on the streets in big cities, but it is still threatening in smaller distant towns which mostly live on their own and nothing can strongly influence the situation.
Years passed and due to many personal issues, misunderstandings with other activists, conflicting ideas, and many other obvious reasons we all concentrated much more on making music, putting all the anger and negative experience into it. So, comparing everything with the early years we barely can be called big activists now, anyway we still share and believe in all this stuff we stood for in those days of old, what is expressed in the song lyrics maximally.
For the local left movement now there are enough activists but evidently not enough to make big changes because the government is really merciless here for everything which can be a real or visible threat for its ideology and the whole regime. But there are still those who don’t conform.
I understand that inner conflicts always happen between activists. I think it’s same everywhere unfortunately. By the way, did you read or study Kropotokin or Bakunin when you were active on those actions? They are most important and fundamental anarchist philosophers from your country and I’m just curious how activists there treat and understand them as the men from Russia.
Tsyrik: Bakunin and Kropotkin left a huge legacy to the followers of anarchist movement all around the globe, so their fundamental works are usually familiar to people who are deep into it and who live by these ideas. For myself I tried to make it read many times but I didn’t completely got through it as I was a lad of 16 or 17, seems to be too volumetric for the young punk you know ahahah so maybe Conflict’s and Crucifix’ lyrics used to be more reasonable and relevant for me of that age than this pillars of anarchism to get into the case.
I understand that they are not easy to understand with brief reading especially when you sre young.
How about the current situation there?
Tsyrik: For now there is strong authoritarian regime with its “conservative” ideology, which doesn’t tolerate anything that doesn’t fit in or anyone who can be called a rebel or anti state The serious threat for freedom of speech and choice is growing and strengthening here. The visibility of other political alternative here is an absolute fake and a part of the game to make the citizens more blinded, divided and misunderstood, a ridiculous and merciless propaganda from the media is set against Russians in western countries, which also makes the whole affair more complicated. This shit works and takes its benefits day by day and people are really into all this stupid crap without realizing they are deeply stuck in shit we were thrown into for ages, all is very apparent and dumb as fuck… no-one gives a toss what is really happening and it is terrifying and now it seems to become a big threat for our future.