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“Understand, I don’t write slogans”: Viktor Tsoi could have turned 60 today

On June 21, the legend of Russian rock music Viktor Tsoi could celebrate his 60th birthday: the leader of the Kino group died on August 15, 1990 at the age of 28. “VM” remembered the brightest quotes of the performer, which are relevant for us today.

About music and honesty

– Music should cover everything: it should, when necessary, make you laugh, when necessary, amuse, and when necessary, make you think. Music should not only call for going to smash the Winter Palace. She must be listened to.

– With all my interest in foreign audiences, I understand perfectly well that it is better for me to perform here, in our country. Why? Probably because, as I said, I really appreciate the mutual understanding between me and the audience.

– Almost everyone can forgive us for honesty: and, say, an insufficiently professional game, and even insufficiently professional poetry. There are many examples of this. But when honesty disappears, nothing is forgiven.

About freedom and change

– I meant by change the liberation of consciousness from all sorts of dogmas, from the stereotype of a small, worthless indifferent person, constantly looking “up”. I expected changes in consciousness, and not specific laws, decrees, appeals, plenums, congresses.

– I’m interested in a person, not problems: who eats better, who lives better, who has a better apartment, who has more money.

– “Understand, I do not write slogans.” The only thing I wanted and want is for people to feel more free from circumstances, for a person to preserve himself rather than some kind of external comfort.

About people and prophets

– As a child, I was teased as “Japanese” – and I was very offended. Now it would not occur to me to find out who my friends are by nationality. There are Russians, Ukrainians, Jews, Armenians among them… People are not divided into good Germans and bad French.

“I don’t like people who think they’re prophets and think they’re in a position to teach others how to live. I sing about my problems, hobbies and I’m not going to teach anyone how to live. If someone likes the songs, then, of course, I’m glad.

About the meaning of life

“Death is worth living, but love is worth waiting for.”

“Why do I work as a stoker?.. The work is so… natural… You can’t pretend here, like in all these offices. You throw coal into the furnace, and the people upstairs are warm…

– A person who does something new is always at war with something old. He is constantly in conflict.


Ilya Legostaev, music critic, musicologist

– I think that for our culture Viktor Tsoi and the Kino group turned out to be about what the Beatles were for Great Britain. Not to say that this is some kind of innovative music in both cases, not to say that they came up with a radically new sound, but there is some real magic – when, it seems, a special mood hangs in the atmosphere, and then this mood, thanks to such people, turns into songs. It seems that everyone has this feeling and thoughts in their heads, but there are really talented people who can turn this into poetry and music. And when this happens, it will forever remain in history.

The point here is not in some kind of abyss of musical talent, but precisely in the fact that the authors managed to express what everyone around immediately understood and perceived. It seems to me that there is no material explanation for this – this is the magic of pure water. Of course, due to the tragic death of Tsoi, the Kino group was terribly unlucky with their career development, but they were incredibly lucky in that they left songs that have not grown old.

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