“Unconquered” by Valerij Kipelov. Russian Heavy Metal Group’s Tribute to Blockaded Leningrad

This song by the famous Russian heavy-metal group “Kipelov”, written 5 years ago to the 70th anniversary of the Victory in the Great Patriotic War deeply touched me. The powerful words, the strong voice of Kipelov and the documentary footage from the blockaded Leningrad, all merged into a whirlweend of emotions and memory.

The title of the song is “Непокорённый” – “Nepokorjonnyj”, which means both “Unconquered”, abut also “Defiant”, “Unbowed”. And this word take all these meanings in the song.
Lyrics translation is mine.

Небо Балтики давит свинцом, город держит за горло блокада;
Медный всадник и ангел с крестом батальонам подвозят снаряды.
Львы из камня срываются с мест, чтоб с бойцами подняться в атаку –
Непокорных жестокая месть. Наступление. Крушение мрака!

Припев:
Непокорённый, прошедший сквозь ад;
Непокорённый, герой – Ленинград!
Непокорённый, на все времена;
Непокорённый, город Петра!

Пишет Жизнь слабой детской рукой даты смерти на саване снега.
Что тогда бы случилось с тобой; смог остаться бы ты человеком;
Не сдаваться и в голос не выть, убивая за хлебные крошки;
Свет надежды сумел бы хранить под раскаты немецкой бомбежки?

Припев:
Непокорённый, прошедший сквозь ад;
Непокорённый, герой – Ленинград!
Непокорённый, на все времена;
Непокорённый, город Петра!

Чернота. Хрупкий Ладожский лёд, уходящие дети под воду.
Метроном отобьет скорбный счет всех погибших в блокадные годы.
Нервы города – к сердцу земли, силы взять, и к весне возродиться,
Медный всадник к победе летит, неподвластной забвению птицей.

Припев:
Непокорённый, прошедший сквозь ад;
Непокорённый, герой – Ленинград!
Непокорённый, на все времена;
Непокорённый, город Петра!

Город Петра!

Непокорённый!

The Baltic sky is laden with lead, the city is held by the throat by blockade;
Bronze Horseman and Angel with Cross bring shells to the forces forth.
Lions of stone break from their plinths to rise with fighters in charge –
The brutal revenge. Offensive. Darkness will fall!

Chorus:
Unconquered, having passed through Hell;
Unconquered, the Leningrad-hero!
Unconquered, for all time;
Unconquered, the city of Peter!

Life writes with a weak child’s hand the dates of death on a shroud of snow.
What would have happened to you back then; could you have kept yourself human;
Not to give up and howl out loud, killing for crumbs of bread;
Would you be able to hold onto to the light of hope under the thunder of German shelling?

Chorus:
Unconquered, having passed through Hell;
Unconquered, the Leningrad-hero!
Unconquered, for all time;
Unconquered, the city of Peter!

Blackness. The fragile Ladoga ice, and children going under.
The metronome will mournfully beat the count of those, died in blockade.
Nerves of the city reach to Earth’s heart, strength to take, and be reborn by the spring,
The Bronze Horseman flies to Victory, a bird that will never be forgotten.

Chorus:
Unconquered, having passed through Hell;
Unconquered, the Leningrad-hero!
Unconquered, for all time;
Unconquered, the city of Peter!

The cty of Peter!

Unconquered!

Yaroslava Degtyariova and her amazing performance of “The Ballad of the Three Sons”

A few days ago Lada Ray posted an article A Tiny Russian Girl with Huge Mystical Talent: My Collection of Songs by 9-year-old Yaroslava Degtyariova, where she literally discovered for me an amazing, pure singer, a 9-year old Russian girl, Yaroslava Degtyariova.

One song especially touched me – “The Ballad of the Three Sons”. It is an allegoric song in which one can see echoes of the classic Russian folk fairy tales, as passed through the generations. It also holds a key.

On many occasions I saw the term of the “mysterious Russian soul”, which the Westerners bemoan having trouble deciphering and understanding. This song can unlock this mystery, as the key to the Rus soul is hidden in the actions and aspirations of the third son, while the first and the second sons depict the typical traits of the Western civilisations.

And so, here is the song by Tatyana Shilova, performed in the pure voice of Yaroslava Degtyariova, with my attempt at a poetic translation below.


Yaroslava Degtyariova at the Day of Love & Family concert, July 8, 2017, Murom: THE BALLAD OF THE THREE SONS.

В краю средь гор и цветущих долин
Текла река, исчезая вдали.
Прекрасней не было страны,
Где рождались баллады и сны.

В дорогу звал глас таинственных гор.
Три сына там покидали свой дом.
Один был горд, другой – упрям,
А третий был сердцем смирён.

Слова Отца были грусти полны:
“В любви моей вы росли, как цветы.
Что ждёт вас там, в чужих краях?
Да хранит вас молитва моя”.

И звучало в ответ эхо горных вершин
“Сохраните богатство души
И любви нескончаемый свет”.

Прошли года, затерялись вдали.
В краю средь гор и цветущих долин,
Встречал отец своих детей,
После долгих разлук и скорбей.

И первый сын возвратился домой:
“Гордись, отец, – я великий герой.
Вся власть моя, и в этом суть
На крови я построил свой путь”.

Второй принёс золотые дары:
“Смотри, отец, я могу все миры
Купить, продать и слёзы всех
Превратить в серебро и успех.

И звучало в ответ эхо горных вершин.
Разменяли богатство души
Ради славы и блеска монет.

А третий сын на коленях стоял:
“Прости, отец, я великим не стал.
Смиренным был, врагов прощал”,
А отец с теплотой отвечал:

“Душа твоя и добра и чиста.
И пусть богат ты и знатен не стал,
Но ты хранил любовь мою.
Я тебе свой престол отдаю!

Но ты хранил любовь мою.
Я тебе свой престол отдаю!

И звучало в ответ эхо горных вершин:
“Кроток сердцем и духом смирён,
Верный сын унаследовал трон!”.

Amidst the mountains and blooming dales,
Where river flowed out of sight,
There was no land more fair,
Where the ballads and dreams were born.

Three sons were setting off,
To the call of the mysterious peaks.
One was full of pride, the other was stubborn,
While the third was pure at heart.

The Father’s words were with sorrow filled:
“As flowers you grew up surrounded by my love.
What awaits you in the far away lands?
Let my payer keep you safe.”

And the mountain peaks echoed back:
“Save the treasure of your soul
and the never-ending light of love”.

The years passed, lost in sight.
In the land amidst mountains and the blooming dales,
The Father was welcoming back his sons,
After long tribulations and partings.

And so the first son returned home:
“Be proud of me, father – great hero I am.
All power is mine, and that’s the crux,
On the blood I paved my path.

The second one brought home the gifts of gold:
“Look, father, I can buy and sell
All the worlds, and turn the tears,
Into silver and luck.

And the mountain peaks echoed back:
You exchanged the riches of your soul
For fame and the shimmering gold.

While the third son sank down to his knees:
“Forgive me father, I did not become great.
I was filled with humility and forgave my foes”,
And the Father replied with warmth:

“Your soul is both kind and pure,
And even though you didn’t become rich and famed,
You kept my love true.
So my throne I shall give to you!”

You kept my love true.
So my throne I shall give to you!”

And the mountain peaks echoed back:
“Kind in heart and humble in soul,
The faithful son has inherited the throne!”

Russian soldier saved the world – WWII memorial song by Artjom Grishanov

Now that Victory Day – the 9th of May – is drawing close, we constantly see the ever-increasing attempts to re-write the history of WWII and to erase the Russian-Soviet victory which cost us 21 million people’s lives.

So does grow the importance of remembrance and of not allowing to have this memory to become sullied. Song has always been one of the strongest conduits of people’s emotions and memory, and the song below is a very emotional tribute and reminder.

Artjom Grishanov has the talent for condensing the essence of a topic into a few well-selected strong words, backed by equally concise and poignant imagery. Russian soldier saved the world shows in no uncertain terms what the West wants to have remaining of the memory, and what we really should be remembering. Please, take a moment to listen to it (with English subtitles) and to remember.


The motto of the 9th of May: I Remember. I Am Proud. In the colours of the St. George Ribbon.

The Magic of the Children’s Films from the Soviet Union

One characteristic of the Soviet films that I hold dear, is that they are humane, moral (often without being moralising), centre on the characters, rather than action and events. The films for grown-ups, be it a war-time film or a film about a mundane everyday life, would always have several layers of meaning – good film makers knew how to convey what they wanted to say to the audience without raising the alarms of censorship. All that resulted in films that would have depth, satire, criticism, thoughtfulness in them.

But here I want to write about children films. The films that formed our, my, world view, that taught us about fairness, compassion, friendship, the pitfalls of negative relations. They were a joy to watch, and they left a trace in your heart, a moral compass that no religion can give you, as morality was based on your own desire to do good, rather than fearing a punishment from the holder of the scriptures if you do wrong.

One such outstanding film is “Visitor from the Future”, released in 1985 and filmed at the Central Studio of Children and Youth Films named after M. Gorky in Moscow. And the bright star of that film is its title song, “The Beautiful Faraway”. In 1985 nothing was outwardly speaking of the time of troubles that lay ahead, in just short 7 years, the Wild 90’s and the Desolation of Yeltsin. But in retrospect, this song turned out to be prophetic, and at the same time it was a testament, an oath of how to conduct oneself in the difficult times ahead, how to stay strong. The song does not promise paradise lands, but rather trials and only asks to not be treated too cruelly along the way to the unknown future, walking the untrodden path towards the future of 2084.

Staring into the eyes of the girl who looks at me from the screen, I see a reflection of me, of my childhood, and the promise that I made to myself in my early youth – to never forget my childhood and the values that I learnt back then, no matter what life throws at me. And I know that many of my generation were influenced by this film in the same way, something that allowed us to stay strong in the chaos that came shortly after.

Listen to it (the English translation is below), as sung in its original form. The video presents cuts of main character of the film, played by Natasha Guseva, an actress, who, when she grew up, continued to live by the moral code of the film through the Wild 90’s and till this day…

Слышу голос из прекрасного далёка,
Голос утренний в серебряной росе,
Слышу голос, и манящая дорога
Кружит голову, как в детстве карусель.

Прекрасное далёко, не будь ко мне жестоко,
Не будь ко мне жестоко, жестоко не будь.
От чистого истока в прекрасное далёко,
В прекрасное далёко я начинаю путь.

Слышу голос из прекрасного далёка,
Он зовёт меня не в райские края,
Слышу голос, голос спрашивает строго —
А сегодня что для завтра сделал я.

Прекрасное далёко, не будь ко мне жестоко,
Не будь ко мне жестоко, жестоко не будь.
От чистого истока в прекрасное далёко,
В прекрасное далёко я начинаю путь.

Я клянусь, что стану чище и добрее,
И в беде не брошу друга никогда,
Слышу голос, и спешу на зов скорее
По дороге, на которой нет следа.

Прекрасное далёко, не будь ко мне жестоко,
Не будь ко мне жестоко, жестоко не будь.
От чистого истока в прекрасное далёко,
В прекрасное далёко я начинаю путь.

Прекрасное далёко, не будь ко мне жестоко,
Не будь ко мне жестоко, жестоко не будь.
От чистого истока в прекрасное далёко,
В прекрасное далёко я начинаю путь.

I hear the voice from the beautiful faraway,
A morning voice in a silvery dew,
I hear the voice, and the tempting road
Spins my head, as a carousel of my childhood.

Beautiful faraway, don’t be cruel to me,
Don’t be cruel to me, don’t be.
From the clear beginnings into the beautiful faraway,
Into the beautiful faraway I start my journey.

I hear the voice from the beautiful faraway,
It calls me not to the paradise lands,
I hear the voice, and the voice is asking sternly –
What have I done today for the sake of tomorrow.

Beautiful faraway, don’t be cruel to me,
Don’t be cruel to me, don’t be.
From the clear beginnings into the beautiful faraway,
Into the beautiful faraway I start my journey.

I swear that I’ll become purer and kinder,
And will never abandon a friend in need,
I hear the voice, and hasten to the call
Along the untrodden road with no trail.

Beautiful faraway, don’t be cruel to me,
Don’t be cruel to me, don’t be.
From the clear beginnings into the beautiful faraway,
Into the beautiful faraway I start my journey.

Beautiful faraway, don’t be cruel to me,
Don’t be cruel to me, don’t be.
From the clear beginnings into the beautiful faraway,
Into the beautiful faraway I start my journey.

Here are all 5 episodes with English subtitles of this marvellous and thoughtful, funny and sad film:

Continue reading

The Singing Weapon – Aleksandrov Ensemble (Documentary with EngSubs)

On the 25th of December 2016, 1/3 of the world-renowned Aleksandrov Ensemble perished in a single plane crash, en-route from Sochy, Russia to Syria. This is tragic loss and a strong blow against Russia, against the singing ambassadors of Russia abroad and a bright symbol within.

As a tribute, I translated the following 2008 documentary, titled “The Singing Weapon”, which is how Winston Churchill referred to it after listening to its performance during the 1945 Yalta Conference in Crimea. If it is a weapon, then this ensemble is a “weapon” of peace unity and accord, which it brings with song and dance to all peoples.

The formatted subtitle file in ASS format can be downloaded separately. Full text of the script is below the video frame.

EDIT 02.12.2017

Alas, the subtitled and translated version had to be taken down after 131 views and the claim from Kedoo Entrtainment Russia below. This is similar to what happened to the Project Ukraine documentary, where the subtitled version was taken down by BigMovieNetwork.

Due to a copyright claim, your YouTube video has been blocked. This means that your video can no longer be played on YouTube.

Video title: The Singing Weapon. Aleksandrov Ensemble (EngSubs)
Claimed by: Kedoo_Entertainment_Russia

The embed above is updated to the unsubtitled version. If you with to watch it with subtitles on your desktop machine, please follow the following steps:

  1. Download the video above, using KeepVid
  2. Download the subtitles
  3. Download and install VLC for your operating system
  4. Make sure that the video and the subtitle files have the same name
  5. Play the video in VLC – subtitles will load automatically

I relayed this development in a comment at Lada Ray’s Futurist trendcast, and she nailed the overall problem:

Unfortunately, these silly indiscriminate western capitalist practices have penetrated Russia. Very sad. Those who do it are just like robots. They aren’t paid to think, just to block everything. Those at the helm don’t get it that you are actually helping promote their material by exposing it to wider western audience.

Alas, with this model Russian companies allow Western companies to control and censor what materials are available to the Western audience!

Continue reading

Victory Day – 70 Years’ Anniversary of the defeat of Nazism in Germany


No one’s Forgotten
Nothing’s Forgotten

Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in WWII and Great Patriotic War.
Much can be said commemorating the sacrifice of the 27 million Soviet citizens, who lost their lives on the way to victory. But the best tribute to it is in the words and the imagery of the following immortal song of Lev Leshenko – Victory Day – performed by Iosif Kobzon (who is, incidentally, under the EU and US sanctions for his courageous and outspoken defence democracy, human rights and the right of peoples for self-determination).


Victory Day!

Victory Day how far away it was from us,
As a smouldering piece of coal in an extinguished fire.
There were miles, burnt and dusty, –
We hastened this day however we could.

This Victory Day
Has become permeated with the smell of gunpowder,
It is a celebration
With greying hair on one’s temples.
It is a joy
With the tears in one’s eyes.
Victory Day!
Victory Day!
Victory Day!

Days and nights in front of the hearth furnaces
Our Motherland didn’t shut her eyes.
Days and nights conducting a difficult battle –
We hastened this day however we could.

This Victory Day
Has become permeated with the smell of gunpowder,
It is a celebration
With greying hair on one’s temples.
It is a joy
With the tears in one’s eyes.
Victory Day!
Victory Day!
Victory Day!

Hello, mama, not all of us returned…
Would be nice to run barefoot on dew!
Half of Europe have we walked, half the Earth –
We hastened this day however we could.

This Victory Day
Has become permeated with the smell of gunpowder,
It is a celebration
With greying hair on one’s temples.
It is a joy
With the tears in one’s eyes.
Victory Day!
Victory Day!
Victory Day!


It is a slap in the face of those 27 million perished Soviet citizens, that some of the Western “leaders” decided to boycott the memorial parade in Moscow on May the 9th 2015. This especially shames Angela Merkel of Germany. This denial to commemorate the defeat of Nazism unpleasantly signals that the ugly head of Nazism is again rearing over Europe and USA. I just hope that this attitude is not representative for the people that those “leaders” are representing.