Burnt by the sun twice

Category: by sophie engström, movies, russia
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

Yesterday I wrote about Boris Mikhailov. During my most absent minded and distracted period in life, my mind have confused him with the director Nikita Mikhalkov. There is nothing resembling between them at all, (apart from the mustachio and the surname I guess). Notable is that I haven’t confused their work, of course, but their names. Which have lett me into a handfull confused dialogues. I won’t reproduce them here, you can possible imagine. Instead I will highlight the fact that Nikita Mikhalkov is making a new movie.


Perhaps this is no news for you, but I have to admit I was slightly surpised when I read it. During the past 10 years I have completely lost faith in his ability to make a movie that is not soaked in sticky nationalism and imperialism. And I actually belonged to those that enjoyed his “Burnt by the sun”.

When I now learned to know that he is working with a “Burnt by the sun 2” I can’t feel other than pure fear flavoured with a slice of scepticism’s. On the other hand, the movie possibly opens for an other dimension… like pure comedy? But I doubt the actual theme allow it. The Great Purge is nothing to joke about.

Hopefully a helping hand for NGOs in Russia

Category: by sophie engström, NGO, russia
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(Läsningstid: < 1 minut)

According to AFP president Dmitry Medvedev has announced that he will submit a new bill for human activist organizations and NGOs in Russia. It was in 2006 that Vladimir Putin, then president, signed a legislation on that all NGOs had to registrate at the state and an increased control of their financial situation. This was one of the actions then-president Putin took that made EU and other countries to worry about that democratic development of Russia. Even though this is a step in the right direction it is yet to be showed if president Medvedev will be able to hold his more liberal approach.

Ukraine and Russia finds agreements, but really not enough

Category: by sophie engström, HIV/AIDS, russia, ukraine, WTO
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

On the 19th of November the two Prime ministers from Russia and Ukraine, Vladimir Putin and Yulya Tymoshenko, decided in Jalta on a new agreement on the gas delivery from Russia to Ukraine. This agreement could possibly make it easier to avoid a verbal conflict between the two countries about the gas deliveries and calm down a nervous EU that are depended on gas deliveries from Russia through Ukraine. The countries have had a pretty rough time during the past several years to agree on how much it should cost and how much gas should be delivered. Ukraine has during the international finical crisis reduced their needs in gas and one brick in the quarrel has been if Ukraine could got permission to cut gas – or if the “take and pay” solution would increase the burden on Ukraine’s already weakened economic situation. But after this agreement, both the population in Ukraine, and EU, could draw a sigh of relief. It is now also possibly that both Russia and EU hold Tymoshenko as a favourite candidate for the presidential election on the 17th of january 2010.

tymeshenko banner
The banner says: “The Prime minister Yulya Tymoshenko will adress Ukraine on the eve of Day of Freedom”, which is 22th of November.

But I, that in many senses are such a misanthrope, must complain some. Both the countries should make some more fuzz over to the report from Wold health Organization that revelas that HIV/AIDS still is a matter in the countries. There is about 1% HIV infected in Russia, and even more in Ukraine, 1,6%. WHO also estimates that the figues of infected in Eastern Europe as a whole, actually rose, but worldwide it actually dropped! From mine point of view, that is something really important for the two countries Prime ministers to find agreements on how to solve!

“Cops on Fire” a very new Hip-hopera

Category: art, by sophie engström, music, russia, theatre
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

The hip-hopera “Cops on Fire” have the first night of performance on the 4th of December in S:t Petersburg. The music is written by Alexander Holenko, also known as Sasha Dza or Dzhem, who also is the founder of the label how2make. The director is Yury Kvyatkovsky and the creative producer Sasha Pas.

The creative association Le Cirque de Sharles La Tannes stands for the performance. Some probably remember their interpretation of the Russian author Victor Pelevin’s short story “The crystal world”. You can watch a clip from that performance under the cut.


The press release about “Cop on Fire” tell us is an experimental project and result of creative confluence of theatre culture and contemporary youth music. The creators decided to call the genre of their creation «hip-hopera». Hip-hopera = live hip-hop arias + original decorations + tricks + choreography.

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Ryskt underground utmanar

Category: by sophie engström, music, russia, ryssland
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(Läsningstid: 5 minuter)

Det är dramatiska förändringar som sker på den ryska musikscenen. Vinsten av Eurovison Song Contest förra året är kanske det som många tänker på, men under ytan myllrar det av mycket mer nydanande och kreativa musikprojekt än så. En av de mer tongivande aktörerna är Sasha Dzhem eller Sasha Dza. Han kreerar avantgardistisk hip hop men är också grafittimålare och skivbolaget how2makes grundare. Tillsammans med hans samarbetspartner, den Roma Mujiuce, bildar de cut2kill. Vi träffades för att språka om deras syn på den ryska independent-musiken, dess framtidsutsikter och de egna ambitionerna.

sasha dza + roma mujuice = cut2kill

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Category: by sophie engström, music, russia, ryssland
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(Läsningstid: < 1 minut)

En gammal favorit! Det ultra coola bandet Auktyon med låten “Maya lubov” (my love, min kärlek, min älskade)… och det är då jag minns hur jag en gång blev förälskad i rysk musik : )

and … next week i will write a short presentation of the the album Messages from Belarus. so beware and be here ))))

Rysk avantgardist som har mycket kvar att ge

Category: avantgarde, by sophie engström, music, russia, ryssland
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(Läsningstid: 5 minuter)

Sergej Letov är en gigant inom rysk avantgardistisk musik. Det finns nästan ingen experimentell musiker i Ryssland som inte samarbetat med Sergej Letov. Han har dessutom varit verksam sedan tidigt 1980-tal och har därför ett perspektiv på den ryska musikscenen som nästan ingen annan.

foto: Mila Shilina

För den stora massan i Ryssland är Sergej Letov kanske mest välkänd som storebror till den nu bortgångne punkvirtuosen Egor Letov. Letov den yngre var mycket uppskattad för sina orädda politiska texter och många jämförde honom med den sovjetiska trubadursångaren och skådespelaren Vladimir Vysotskij, som hade sin storhetstid under 1970-talet. Egor var också något av en levande legend under sina sista år, och det var ett chockat Ryssand som i februari 2008 tog emot nyheten att Egor hade dött av hjärtstillestånd i sömnen, endast 43 år gammal.
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