“Kolovrat” interview for “Hail the new dawn” webzine (Slovenia) , April 2012
Regards! First can you tell us something about the begining of your band,and the most important moments for Kolovrat thru the years?
Cheers to all of our Slovenian comrades and friends! First of all thanks for your interest in our band! It's honour and privilege to me to be interviewed for your webzine, also it's a pleasure (that's important!) and I'll try to give quite detailed and informative answers to your questions to create an interesting interview for the readers of your webzine.
Our history is almost 18 years long and here you'll find most accurate description of our story (early years' period first and foremost, cause it's the least known period of our history) to re – address all possible questions of this kind to this interview in order to avoid to reply to the same stuff all the time J.
As I told you the history of our band is quite rich for different happenings (we always tried to be very active, that's why our story has many events: both good and bad), sure it could be a bit complicated to even try to tell really detailed entire story as a whole in the format of an interview, but I'll do my best to give you accurate information regarding our beginning period (1994 – 2000) particularly and some comments about our main events anyway. I did almost 300 interviews for our media all over the world since 1995, when the first interview was conducted for the last issue of legendary Belgian magazine (to be transformed into a label with the same name soon after it) «Pure Impact», but the requests for the new interviews continue to follow so I would like to make a pause with the possible new interviews for a while and re – address everybody to this kinda «historical» interview, where all central necessive details will be mentioned in neccessively detailed manner.
So ...regarding our early years: the beginning of our band took a place at early Spring of 1994, when I've met our original vocalist «Balu» (such nickname was caused by the fact that the guy was really big one: higher than 2 meters, weight about 120 + kilograms – good frontman for Skinhead band, eh? J) and offered to him to form a band. I was possesed by idea to start right – wing rock band during 2 previous years, but I was unable to find likeminded musicians cause then it was a big punk explosion in the beginning of ninetees in Russia and everybody wished to play punk or hardcore music, but not RAC. I was lucky enough to meet «Balu» finally. We both were right – wing Skinheads and wished to start a band to give musical expression to our ideas and to reserve the place for Russian nationalists within domestic rock music scene. There were no nationalist Skinhead bands with seriuos ideological attitude in Russia before us, just «Totenkopf» from Saint – Petersburg, which was started approximately at the same time, but they were more punk rock oriented both muscially and by their behaviour (you can find the video recording of their concert in April of 1995 on Internet to understand what I mean), I can't call them seriously motivated ideologically, also they finished their »carrier« quite fast.
After the meeting with «Balu» we started to practise at my place, he played guitar and sung, I played bass, also we used drum machine sometimes. We were looking for other musicians (guitarist (I was bass player originally) and drummer) simultaneously and after several months of intensive search we founded firstly guitarist (which was unpolitical guy) and good metalhead drummer, which had some interesest in our politics, this ocassion was quite important to us. The first real rehearsal (in normal practise room, with a drummer and all other musicians) took a place at 01.08.1994 and this is an official «birthday date» of our band. As you probably know we started under “Russian Ghetto”, but “Russian Ghetto” and “Kolovrat” are the same band actually. The first line up of the band was: «Balu» – vocals, «Arkady» – guitar, «D.» – bass, «Grob» – drums.
So after forming the proper line up we begun to practise more or less regularly, cause we wished to record the first demo and start to gig, but our guitarist left us after the first months of rehearsals. We started to look for the new guitarist and finded «Bob», which invited us to rehearse in his own practice room, which was located in the squat right in the very center of Moscow, not too far away from Kremlin, in one of old buildings, which has been left by inhabitants.
There was a crowd of so called «nazi – punks», but we forced them to leave the place quite quickly so some kind of analogue of «the first Skinhead clubhouse in Moscow» J was born. We had entire floor of the building in our «property», where rehearsals, socials and small private parties were organized on weekly basis. Also we established the contact with the comrades of one of the first Russian right – wing organizations «National Front Party», which formed their youth section called «Youth National Front» so we let them to locate the head quarter of this organization in our squat, which we used to begin to call «Squatters’ club». But after about a year of active work our «clubhouse» has been closed down by special branch.
Our guitarist «Bob» leaved the band in the end of the year, because he tried to focus on his side project, which played a kind of alternative music. We were unable to find the good replacement guitarist, but we were lucky enough to find ideologically motivated Skinhead bass player named Igor «Chemist» Dronov so I was forced to begin to play guitar instead of bass. The drummer had a few other bands, where he drummed and also sung in one of them so he had just a little time for our combo and we founded new drummer, which was even much more experienced. Also we were lucky to found the new practice room, where the owners showed the tolerance to the content of our lyrical message and to the persons, which attended at our rehearsals sometime J, so after a couple of months of non – stop practice sessions in the end of 1994 we were able to record our first demo in the following line up: «Balu» – vocals, «D.» – guitar, «Chemist» – bass, «Taras» – drums. Demo was entitled «Ready to destroy» and included 8 songs in fast and very aggressive speedy RAC style with Hardcore influences and total playing time about 30 minutes or so. Some tittles I can recall were «Expluatacija» («Exploitation” (the protest song against merciless exploitation of working class masses by capitalists)), “Oni mertvy” (“They’re dead” (the song filled with the high criticism and sarcasm to modern society of consummation and hedonism)), “Sudny den” (“Judgement day” (about our final victory over the well known enemies)), “Russkaja Expansija” (“Russian expansion” (against the imperial politics of USSR’s commie regime in direction of Eastern European states of so called “Eastern block”)), “Teni fashisma” (“The shades of fascism” (the title of the song speak for itself J)), the rest I don’t remember for sure already. Some fatal technical error happened during the recording unfortunately and just the video version of all songs was left, but even that video tape was missed by our vocalist … So nobody except our band members, studio staff and several comrades from our crew listened to that stuff, which was very first recording of right – wing Skinhead band on the territory of ex – USSR.
After the recording of the first demo we continued with the writing of the new stuff and started with the rehearsals of these brand new songs. Also we begun to organize “the concerts” for 15 – 20 close friends at one of our practice rooms, which had the biggest hall, and those gatherings were our first “gigs”, which everybody seemed to enjoy very much though. Actually it was a lot of fun, because everything was so energetic and fresh during those early years.
Our second demo entitled “Hail to Russia!” (8 tracks of hard and violent RAC with some Hardcore / Metal touches and radical lyrics, 20 minutes of playing time) was recorded in the new studio with better equipment and professional sound engineer, but due to the lack of finances we were forced to record it as at the gig – while playing all together, without any mix so the final result was quite low by the quality of sound, unfortunately. But we were very satisfied with it anyway J.
“Bob” perished at Spring of 1995 and it was the first loss in our ranks …
We planned some real gigs in the clubs (it was quite possible for the band like ours to play almost openy during that time) already, but both our drummer and bassist were called up for military service in May of 1995 and we turned to be just 2 musicians in the band and all gig plans were disrupted automatically. We started to look for the new guys, but all our attempts failed, cause we received some bad reputation of «politically incorrect band» within the rock music scene circles in Moscow, moreover: all our attempts to resurrect the prominent and stable full line up failed so we decided to return to continue to practise at my place with the drum machine. We founded new and pretty gifted bassist, which shared our ideas too, but we were unable to find good drummer. We even wrote the new program of 10 songs, but the lack of drummer caused stagnation and we never recorded that stuff and it's a pitty really, cause those songs were one of the best songs ever written by our band. So 1995 and 1996 were spent in writing of new material, home rehearsals and endless, but pointless searchings of the new drummer.
Our bassist returned home from military service in the very end of 1996 finally. He served in Chechnya during the first Chechen war, he was wounded during the onslaught on Mozdok city and rewarded for courage. So after his returen we resurected the idea of concerts and founded young Skinhead (huge Skinhead boom appeared in Russia at that time with the massive distribution of «Romper Stomper» movie), which was able to play drums, not at the best level, but the fact that he was a Skinhead like all of us was absolutely prior at that time J. So we reformed the full concert line up of our band with 3 original members and new drummer known as «Palec» («Finger»).
New Moscow RAC band called «Shturm» («Assault») appeared in 1996 . Also the bands like «S.T.S.» («Shit Town Streetbulls» (later «Ultra»)) from Ivanovo and «T.N.K.F.» (later «TNF» ((«Terror National Front»)) from Yaroslavl appeared. So there were enough bands to organize a normal gig of full value finally. Our first concert took a place at 05.04.1997 at «Day of Russian nation» fest, where we played alongside with «Shturm», «S.T.S.» and «T.N.K.F.» About 250 Skinheads attended at the gig and it was huge sucess for quite young Russian right – wing scene.
We also received the first invitation to play abroad – from Adam of «Konkwista 88», but we were unable to go, because of abscense of foreign passports. Also an important gig in Yaroslavl, which was organized by «TNF» vocalist and his comrades from «Russian Bears» organization, was missed, because of not serious attitude of our original vocalist. So after a few attempts to improve the situation we decided to exclude him from our band. Also we decided to go the different parts with our new drummer, which was quite young and didn’t showed serious attitude towards our activities on permanent stable level. But moreover our old bassist “Chemist” started to deal with alcohol too much, it caused different problems to him and to the band so I was forced to form the new line up. It took several months, but the new and better musicians joined the band in the end, also the original name has been changed to “Kolovrat” in August of 1997. The first gig in new line up: A. – vocals, D. – guitar, M. – lead guitar, L. – bass, S. – drums took a place in Moscow at 23.09.1997, it was first Russian «ISD Memorial» fest with 5 bands in total: “Ultra“, “Radegasst”, “TNF”, ”Kolovrat” and “Shturm” (actually it was their last concert of full value). Everything went very well, almost 400 comrades attended at the show and there were no problems with police during all 5 hours of the gig (you can find the recorded essences from that concert in Internet).
But some pretty bad and absolutely unexpected tragic event happened quite soon, at the New Year’s eve: our actual bassist known as “Leopold”, which was friend with our other ex - bassist from 1994 – 1995, called “Cat”, these two lads killed our ex – musician “Ded”, which played bass for us in 1994 for quite short time. That guy started to follow to absolutely antisocial way of life and became drunkard , also he dealt with the drugs, but continued to wore Skinhead clothes and represented himself as nationalist simultaneously. So the lads killed him and his friend, they went to prison for very long sentences (for example “Cat” was condemned for 22 years of imprisonment while being 22 years old himself). It was really tragic event in the history of our band, it was a kind of thunderstruck not just for us, but for whole Moscow Skinhead community of that time, we all were shocked by that action, nobody expected anything like this, it was quite nasty surprise ... I think that these guys did really big mistake, 4 lives were broken down simultaneously, what to add … But also it’s important to understand that we never were a gang, but a musical band, no matter what were the acts of some of our musicians / hangarounds or the actions against them.
Because of hard obstacles I mentioned we were forced to look for the new bassist once again and we were glad, when our old friend “Chemist” decided to join us once again after a while. He realized all his past mistakes and we were just glad to welcome him anew. So we started to gig actively and did a few very good big concerts like the fest in February of 1997, where “Ultra”, “TNF”, “Radegasst”, “Buldok” (they changed their name to “Sokyra Peruna” a bit later) and our band were playing for more than 600 comrades and a friend from Germany came to support the show. He was brother of vocalist of “Nahkampf” and arranged our split CD with them a couple of years later. That guy, which still around nowadays, visited us a couple of times in Moscow sooner as well: in 2005 and in 2011.
Alongside with playing the gigs in Moscow we continued to work over the new program after that successful festival our first album entitled “National Revolution” (16 songs, 60 + minutes) was recorded in the beginning of November of 1998, we did the release party gig at 18.11.1998 in one of Moscow suburbs together with “TNF” and “Sokyra Peruna” (one of their first performances under this name). The album was released as DIY tape, cause there weren’t any labels with the interest in our music here in Russia and we haven’t regular contacts with foreign labels at that time. There’s no CD re – edition of that album till present days. Also we were forced to record that album just during 3 nights all together, because of lack of finances – we were dealing with the sound during the first 2 nights and recorded all the songs at third night + we did 2 more songs: “Hail victory!” of “Skrewdriver” and our own “Mother” song (both tracks were re – recorded and included within “Blood of patriots” album later), but we were unable to publish these songs, cause the drummer played so much during these 3 nights that he injured the hand and was able to play just with one hand …
We did a few shows more, they were visited very well, between 350 and 550 comrades attended at each concert, sometimes we had more people even on the sound check before the start of the gig than some Moscow mainstream gigs attracted at that time. There were such big events, when police closed the roads to let the crowd of 200 – 300 Skinheads to go through the road to the gig place, there were some gigs were all the doors in the venue were smashed and even PA was damaged in some cases, because of too much attenders. These times were the golden times of Moscow Skinhead RAC scene. There were no SHARP’s or RASH’s, no antifa at that time, if you was Skinhead back then you had to be right – wing anyway. Today’s situation in our city is quite opposite, right – wingers prefer casual style, but left – wingers mainly exploit Skinhead image nowadays. But this is a kind of other story.
So we were carrying on with our concert activities, we played not less than once in 1, 5 – 2 months and visited Saint – Petersburg the second biggest city in Russia at 01.05.1999 for the very first time. Just a bunch of local old Skins attended at the gig, but it was quite good action anyway. Also we were working over the new songs simultaneously with our concert activities. But such intensive work in the band became a routine for our vocalist slowly and he just became tired with time, because he had no real motivation for the hard and stable work in the band. So after the last gig in the end of May of 1999 we decided to separate our paths with him. The band missed the vocalist, but it wasn’t an end of our troubles - really tragic event happened in June of 1999, when our long time bassist and close friend Igor Dronov (“Chemist”) was killed by unknown bastards. He was aggressive and uncompromising fighter by the nature so he went to the fights quite often. And one of these fights became the last one for him. Rest in peace Brother!
Of course we ceased our activities for a several months in the sign of our mourning. Also we started to search for the new bass player and new vocalist after a while. Both musicians were founded at the end of the Summer. Our fellow comrade, which played guitar for another Russian RAC band called “Vandal” agreed to work with us as bass player. .Plus we founded new frontman with assistance of one of the guys from our crew. Our new singer haven’t any experience before joining our band, but he had high motivation so we welcomed him to work with us.
We did very cool “comeback” gig in September, it was the concert in memory of Igor Dronov and a few hundreds of Skinheads attended at that action. But at the same time it was the first gig with massive fights and troubles on the street outside. It will become a kind of bad tradition soon to be added to fair half of further gigs, but then it happened at serious level for the first time.
A few gigs around the country followed at Winter, we were able to do our first Russian blitz tour of 3 concerts and after that we entered the studio to record our second full length album, which is still recognized as our best album by many (if not by the majority) of listeners – “Blood of patriots” (17 songs, 60 + minutes). Also we recorded 6 songs for split CD with German colleagues from veteran band “Nakhampf” and 2 more songs (one of our most known songs “Two brothers’ and other version of a ballad from “Blood of patriots” album with partly changed lyrics) for some German compilations (“Two brothers” were published within “Unsere Welt” compilation a year later and “Pain of patriots” ballad was released just almost 4 years later within “B & H. Vol 5” sampler with the kind assistance from Hispanic comrades). It was our first long studio epopee, which took several months and we learned to a lot of experience during those studio sessions. Soon after the finish of the studio work we were able to play pretty good gig in Saint – Petersburg, this time for more than 300 comrades, but there was massive antifa propaganda campaign against that gig too, for the first time in history of Russian right – wing music scene and the history of our band. Local afa pasted a few thousands of leaflets against our gig in the streets of SPb, but they were unable to stop us with all their deceitful agitation.
Our biggest concert (or better to say our set for the biggest audience, because it wasn’t our solo gig) took a place in the beginning of Summer – we were invited by right – wing bikers to play at their fest and there were about not less than 5000 people on the field in front of the stage, when we played. We were supported quite warmly and enthusiastically, everything went pretty well and without any problems actually
But we didn’t witnessed similar situation at our own concerts unfortunately and first big trouble happened soon – big fight with police, which tried to arrest one of the comrades at our gig together with “Legion” (later to be known as “Banda Moskvy” or “Moscow band”) and “TNF” in June of 2000 in one of Moscow parks. The club has been partly smashed and almost 100 comrades were taken to the police stations. There was a big scandal, cause media followed that case pretty actively and the era of open concerts was finished. But we will remember that gig also because of the fact that our very first ballad performance took a place at that show to become the second direction of our creativity since that time. We started to play ballad concerts since that time alongside with traditional “electric” gigs.
That sad situation with massive fights and disruption of the concerts became a kind of “cold shower” for some of our band members and we were forced to separate our ways with our bassist (mainly because of his troubles with demon alcohol), drummer and even with the vocalist, which became pretty tired of active work in the band, cause we gigged at regular basis, practiced twice a week by 4 hours without long breaks and spent a lot of time in the studio. Also lasting troubles with the fights at the gigs and impossibility to continue to play at open level turned our collaboration to an end. Then I. became disappointed in the unstable vocalists and decided to start to sing by myself, also the new drummer and bassist were founded quite soon, and it was an end of the first period of history of the band and the beginning of such “Kolovrat” as many of you know our band now.
About the most important events in our quite long history: well there were many big and historical concerts – like the above mentioned gig at Summer of 2000 or “VFS” / “USGI” Fest in April of 2009, when we were honored to play in front of approximately 1700 comrades from entire Europe. Also there were many smashed concerts like that gig in “Saviolovsky” park of Moscow in June of 2000 or “ISD Memorial” in November of 2002 in Moscow area (“Yudino” village), where almost 300 comrades were detended by police and special branch for whole night. This disrupted gig is known under “Perhushkovo” name (by the name of the nearest railway station).There were many unforgettable events, important meetings, a lot of fun (especially during the first years), but also bad things: repressions, imprisonment, death of our members. But we survived despite all obstacles and continue to move forward.
First when you started your name was «Russian Ghetto», why did you choose this name and why did you later change it to «Kolovrat»?
You're absolutely right, we actually started to play under the name «Russian Ghetto», cause all 4 band members were from the same area of Moscow – some typical working class district (even an original USSR period's name of this area was «Proletarian» District of Moscow City), the real ghetto with the most part of population being workers and ordinary state employees. The area with lots of industrial buildings, factories, manufactures, old houses etc. A kind of Russian ghetto for poor and unsignificant natives ...
But the name of our band had the second, hidden meaning too. When we formed a band we were 18 years old youngsters and sympathized to the ideologyof “Russian National Unity” (RNE) of Alexander Petrovich Barkashov, an orthodox Russian ultranationalist organization, which was the most active and well known Russian nationalist structure at that time. They had about 100 000 of supporters all around the country and we were influenced by their ideas of anti – Western Russian ultranationalism as well. As I said they were the leading and most significant organization of that period so that's not a surprise that we were influenced by them too even despite the fact that we haven't personal contacts to this org, cause they didn't like Skinheads too much (they recognized Skinhead cult as kind of «alien and hostile Western fashion») and one more important detail: we always prefered to be independent from any kind of organization or political party, because in my opionion the independence is one of central priorities of uncommercial creativity. Of course I don't have anything against any band playing under the banner of some certain organization, but we chosed an independent path.
«RNE» firmly believed in autarchy and some special Russian way of nationalism. They tried to return its original meaning to «ghetto» term - «isolated spacе». Such «ghetto» model of further Russian national state isolated from outter world and ruled by autarchy regime of one leader was an optimal model of the state in the understanding of «RNE» ideological leadership. We supported that vision very much being orthodox Russian ultranationalists in the beginning, mostly because of our age and unawareness to racialism. But we grew up with time, we developed and improved our understanding of the politics and our creed naturally so we changed our blind and primitive Russian nationalism to much more progressive racialism, cause we realized that our fight should have an international,basis and that we are the children of one big family – White European race
«Kolovrat» has been going now for 15 years,can you tell us the differences that you see in the Movement in Russia and worldwide from your begining to these days?
Well, to be a bit more accurate, the date of our first real rehearsal in the practise room with the full line up including drummer, when we gathered all together at least (we practised just at our flats without drums or with primitive drum machine before that time) is 01.08.1994 and we recognize this date as some kind of «official birthday» of our band so we'll be 18th years old this August. «Russian Ghetto» and «Коlovrat» are the same band actually, we just went through formal change of the name in August of 1997, nothing more.
Russian Movement changed so much during the years of our existence ... The period of our start in the middle of the nineties and present time couldn't be compared at all. The Movement is much more disciplined, organised, sober (sXe and so called «ZOZH» («healthy way of life») are quite popular among Russian nationalists during last few years at least) and well trained than in the nineties, the majority of comrades are far away from Skinhead image and subculture nowadays. It's a kind of the speciality of Russian Movement, which is forced to survive in the atmosphere of massive repressions and hard persecution, which could not be coimpared even with the situation in Germany. More than 2000 comrades are imprisoned all across the country (an average term is 5 – 7 years), ten comrades were condemned to life sentence. Also we have paragrpaph 282 of Russian Penal Code («inclination to racial, national, religious or social hatred»), so called «Russian paragraph», which is used against nationalists pretty actively So you can imagine what's goin' on in our country. It's very sad topic and I'll try to answer to your question in the more detailed manner below, amalgimating my reply with the next similar questions about Russian Movement and its scene.
In the 90s and also after year 2000 most of the Movement in Russia was also into Skinhead style and subculture ,but now Movement in your country has mostly turned away from the Skinhead culture,can you tell us why,is it because of the problems with the police in the past or are there also any other reasons for that?
You're right, Skinhead period of so to speak «juvenile fraction» (mainly juvenile) of nationalist Movement in Russia was between 1993 and 2004 approximately, with massive increase in 1994 - 1999. But Russian right – wing Movement (and Russia itself) has its unique speciality, which is almost completely different to the speciality of Western European Movement, where Skinhead traditions are still very popular and many (f not majority) descent comrades still follow to Skinhead lifestyle (especially in such countries like Poland, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary, Germany, Slovenia, Italy, Spain, England just to name a few)/. But the repressions of the state against the persons using right – wing Skinhead image plus a few years of intensive company of criticism and propaganda against «obsolete» (by the opinion of mentioned critics) Skinhead subculture from the side of some significant and influential Russian post - Skinhead SN organizations of domestic nationalist Movement put an end to massive Russian right – wing Skinhead fraction. I'm really not sure if it's for good that almost the only persons using Skinhead image in today's Moscow are SHARP 's and RASH's, but it's a fact – an absolute majority of modern Russian national activists are dressing in sporting and / or casual wear, don't shave the heads and many comrades reject the tattooes to prevent the identification by repressive branches of the system.
I think that not more than just a bunch of serious Russian national activists still follow to Skinhead lifestyle (of course with some rare exception) .... Perhaps just those old guys, which aren't activists (already or yet): some «veterans», which ceased their activities many years ago, because of different mode of life / family matters and now just drink some beers at the weekends and speak with their friends about good old times, which will never return anymore ... or some very young comrades (and mostly in the regions of the country), which almost don't know anything about the real situation within Russian Movement, about the repressions and potential highest risk of Skinhead image in today's Russian Federation. You know it's almost impossible to follow to Skinhead lifestyle if you can be easilly taken to the police station just because of your Skinhead outlook, being oppressed by special methods (you understand what I mean) and accused with some fake charges like racially motivated beatings or even worser .... it's ordinary practic in Russian Federation and regarding to the official statistics Russian courts proclaim no excused penalties. If the person signatured that he commited some crime, because of the usage of «special methods» during the first hours (or days) of detention / arrest, he has no chance by the court to be acquitted even if he'll refuse from his original evidences and proclaim that he gave them under the pressing of threats and tortures. That's pretty tragic. Normal «presumption of innocence» practic doesn't work in Russian Federation at all. And the problem is that the level of moral and physical oppression is so bad that there are not too much people, which can go through it
As I said before, other influential (and fairly positive) trend within Russian Movement of last years is healthy lifestyle and the cult of sport and martial arts. Also alcohol (even beer), which is common thing for European right – wing Skinheads, is rejected by many of today's Russian activists of new generation. There are even some right - wing gigs, where one can be kicked out, because of alcohol consumation (especially if it's enormous), I mean all these new wave «NA» Hardcore gigs being attended mostly by the comrades from younger generation.
To understand the topic you should not forget about the fact that Russian nationalist movement is fairly old one (if you know the history of Russian anti – communist resistance then you should be aware on the existence of Russian Fascist Party of Konstantin Rodzaevsky and Anastas Vonsyatsky in Charbin, China, when Russian monarchists in exile formed that structure after the defeat and escape of White Army troops of admiral Kolchak from Siberia. You have to know that first fascists were Russians. It's a pity to me, but majority of today's young Russian activists are so called autonomous nationalists and they despise Skinheads calling them trendies, blabbers, beer alcoholics and subcultural loafers. Skinhead period of Russian nationalist Movement is a kind of marginal and shameful past to these guys. But I don't support this opinion – our band started as Skinhead band and we followed to this lifestlyle for many years (actually the new wave of Russian nationalism, which has been started by 18 – 20 years youngsters in the first quarter of nineties was almost 100 % Skinhead), till 2002 – 2003 approximately (if we speak about me personally for example) , moreover – we have numerous Skinhead friends in Europe and these guys are excellent fighters and activists (in European understanding of fight and activism terms), they are proud to be Skinheads, they are proud of the glorious traditions and culture of right – wing Skinhead movement and I respect such people very much at heart no matter what actual tendencies within Russian nationalist movement are. But the facts still the facts.
Can you tell us how much problems do you have with the police and the state at the moment and what methods do they use against the Movement? And also is it true what i read in some old interview with Russian activists that in the 90s Skinheads were more tolerated from the police and that cops even beat up immigrants together with the Skins?
I'll be surprised if somebody in Europe can believe to such obvious desinformation ... I've heard about some kind of such things very, very long time ago, but I don't believe that it could be possible at all. It sounds much more like typical lies of stupid reporters from «yellow press», which are looking for the cheap sensations and trying to find some ties between right – wing radicals and authorities in Russia (there aren't any such ties for present, I'm sure) to scare mainstream European reader. I can admit that such case that you mentioned probably happened sometimes in the middle of «roaring' 90s», but of course just as pure exception, not as a rule, that's for sure.
From the other hand I can tell you that police didn't acted against Skinheads at serious level till 2002 approximately (for example, the gigs were organized almost at official level with the distribution of the promo flyers and the bills on the streets till Summer of 2000), when 'ISD Memorial' fest was attacked and smashed by special police troop and about 300 comrades were detented by cops and secret service agents. Even regular army troops and armoured cars were involved with that attack. That's crazy, Russia is Russia ...
Now you consider yourself as indipendent band,but I read in some old interview where you claimed to be Hammer Skin band,can you tell us something more about this? And can you also tell us the story behind the Moscow Outlaw Hammer Skins what happend with this group are they still around?
No, this information isn't quite correct – we never have been real HS band. That's true that we were in contact with the guys from so called Moscow Hammerskins (later to become Outlaw Hammerskins for some short period of time and finish their known activities quite fast after that transformation) in the end of 90s / beginning of 2000s, actually almost every active Skinhead in Moscow was familiar with those guys at that time, cause their leaders were the veterans of Moscow Skinhead community. But as I said we never were Hammerskin band, moreover: there was no official HSN chapter in Russia in fact That's true that there were some certain descent Skins, which claimed to be Hammerskins, mainly because of lack of information regarding the procedures of legal joining to HSN Europe, the guys just weren't aware on the detials and they thought sincerely that to became HS it's enough just to show the initiative to claim yourself a Hammerskin and form a chapter or better to say a kind of supporter group. But sooner, when the pen – pal contacts with the reps of legitimate chapters of HSN in US, Australia, New Zealand and Spain were established, Moscow guys learned to sad info that they violated the legal ways of joining procedure to HSN, and it put an end to HS initiative in Moscow on international level. It's a kind of sad story in my opinion, everything happened just because of unawareness and lack of comprehension actually, Moscow lads had no «evil plans» against anybody including HSN Europe or HSN US ...
In the past you had songs about drinking beer but later also about straight edge can you explain this? Do you or did you ever consider yourself a straight edge band?
Good question and I'm glad that you asked it, cause now I can finish this quite old and wide spreaded misunderstanding in the minds of many of our foreign listeners, which may have wrong compehension of the topic, because of lack of actual information about us. First of all: we never were sXe band, because only one member followed to this lifestyle (one time even to Hardline sXe) in 1997 – 2003, and it was me, but all other guys consumed alcohol and majority of them were smoking as well. Also the songs about the beerdrinking (like Alcohol or Beer friends (National revolution album (1998)) and about sXe (Direct line from Era of right hand album (2002)) were written during the different periods of the development of our band, which always tried to reflect the development of Russian Movement within the lyrics. You know that Russian Movement of 90s was pretty much influenced by Skinhead cult and subculture, but as I said before the situation changed almost completely in 2000s and Skinhead fashion with its oftenly enormous consumation of alcohol became the past, the majority of activists started to follow to more healthy lifestyle, train sports seriously and reject alcohol (even beer drinking became the thing of the past for many comrades).
You have contributed very much to the Movement with your band over the years, but can you tell us why did you choose exactly music as your form of fighting against the system,and how big role do you think music have in our struggle for the common cause?
It would be better and more accurate to say that we contributed much not into the Movement, but mainly into the musical scene first and foremost, because Movement and its scene are quite different things (in Russia especially) even despite the fact that the scene is the part of Movement (but not otherwise). I chosed the musical creativity as a form of our protest, because I believed in an importance of «Kulturkampf» (I’m sure you know what I mean by this term) firmly, and I’m proud to tell that my priorities weren’t changed after all these years. I still believe that even my non – violent way of doing things and voice my opinion can change the way of thinking of many people and make them open their eyes to national cause. I reject «criminal» and / or «extremist» labels, which some people try to put on our band, I don’t recognize «Kolovrat» as any kind of «criminal community», we’re just musical band with political stance, nothing more, nothing less.
You have played many gigs in Russia and abroad,can you tell us wich were some of the most sucesfull and what difference do you see between Russia and other countries conserning the Movement? Which country do you think has the most successfull movement at the moment?
That's true, we did more than 270 gigs (I can't figure an exact number out) all over Russia, in Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Italy, France and Spain during last 14 years. Sure an absolute majority of the concerts took a place in our native country, where it's quite hard to organize successfull gig even for 100 comrades nowadays, because of very active monitoring from different kind of special forces of the system and oppression against nationalists in general. So to say «pure RAC» gigs are quite rare today, that's why the majority of comrades are usually visiting the concerts, which aren't so openly NS, but supportive: pagan BM fests, some hooligan parties, psychobilly (this subculture is all White and strongly nationalist in Moscow) shows or hardcore gigs (with new pro – WP bands like You Must Murder or Death Penalty). RAC fests with foreign bands take a place mainly in Ukraine and many Russian comrades are travelling to our Ukranian brothers to Kiev. What about our band, we still play live in our native country, despite hard political situation over here but pretty rare and our last to date full line up «electric» performance in Russia went in the end of May of last year in the capital of Uralus called Ekaterinburg. It was a nice gig with almost 150 comrades in the audience, which is fairly good number and result for today's sad realities in our country, especially for the regions. Also we went to lined European blitz tour last August and gigged in your country (hey mate it was really nice event!) and twice in Sofia, Bulgaria. I play solo ballad concerts as a bard for the last 12 years as well as with the band and my last to date ballad performances took a place in the beginning of November of last year in Saint – Petersburg, it was a concert at huge political rally (known as Russian March in our country) with official status so there were about 1500 comrades in the audience, also I did small, but nice «private party» ballad set in the middle of December together with Jan – Peter of «Project Vril» / «Libertin» (and many other projects), Polish brother Kuba from «Invasion» band and our domestic «Russky Styag» band.
In the past you also sang about football,can you tell us were you ever part of any hooligan firm and wich club do you support?
We always were friends with right – wing hooligans and yes, you're right, we recorded a bunch of songs about nationalist hoolies ('Hooligans' at 'National Revolution' album in 1998, 'Our ultras' at 'Blood of patriots' album in 1999, 'Derby all year round' at 'Era of right hand' album in 2002, 'Clockwork Army' and 'Adrenaline factory' at 'No one like us ... we don't care' compilation in 2007, 'Football hooligan' at 'Total War' album in 2009). We weren't interested in football itself too much, cause the modern football is nothing more than capitalist industry and has almost nothing to do with the original spirit of White men anymore, we were interested just in the hooliganism and mainly with its connection with the activities of right – wing Movement. Some of ex – firm hooligans of Spartak and CSKA were playing by us in the past too.
Also we were gigging at many Russian right – wing hooligan parties during 1999 - 2003: we played even for rival fractions (their political beliefs was the main thing for us, not what FC they support): for Flint's Crew and Gladiators Firm'96 (FC Spartak Moscow) and for Red Blue Warriors (FC CSKA Moscow) for example. We were always open to such proposals to strengthen and deepen right tendences within Hooligan field.
I think one of the problems in the Movement is also chauvinism and that its essential for all white nations to work together within the movement,what is your opinion about this?
Absolutely agree with you – chauvinism and false hyper – nationalism are the most dangerous inner threats for our Movement and scene. Also I have to mention anti – Russian (and anti – Slavonic in general) preujudices among some certain part of Western European Movement / scene. I can't stand the stupid position of some Baltian and even Scandinavian (Finnish particularly) nationalists against Russians, sometimes it seems to me that these people are still live in the times of communist occupation of their countries or the war for Carelian Isthmus. But these times are gone long ago and they will never return. I'm surprised that there are some foreign nationalists, which try to pretend that they see no difference between Russian and communist. Chauvinism is the main inner cancer of our Movement worldwide and we have to finish with it once and for all, cause it's obvious that if we really wish to achieve something significant then we simply have to forget old pain, throw away some certain prejudices of the past and cooperate on international level busy working in all possible directions, not just in propaganda and agitation field. We don't have to limit our perspectives by ourselves, we must be openminded and creative to see the wider spectrum of common possibilities, not just our own ego or old offences.
Which are some of the bands that inspired you and which are some of the bands of today that you like? Also what other Russian RAC bands would you recommend?
Well, when we just started we were inspired mainly by German and American scene: Metal influenced bands like BFG, Kraftschlag, Stoerkraft, also the first album of Nordic Thunder (Born to hate) inspired us really much. And even if the majority of the bands I like are quite heavy and Metal influenced, but such great old school Skinhead RAC classics like Skrewdriver, Brutal Attack or Razor's Edge will always have a place in my heart and influence what I'm doing with my own music, I can say that these bands are my roots alongside with more heavy ones.
To me personally the best WP band ever is Bound For Glory, it's the most proffessional and quality sounding band of our scene today. Ed is one of the most talented musicians / lyric writers within our scene. Also he's one of the most productive and creative persons of right – wing musical underground, it's unbelievable how many different projects he managed to create. He's just an inspiration, what more to add .. Also I like other veteran WP metal bands like Squadron, Berserkr, Battalon de Castigo or Estirpe Imperial. Of course most active and diverse right – wing musical scene of today is German scene, it's a fact, my fave Teutonic bands are Sturmwehr and Sleipnir, also I like Sachsonia, Stahlgewitter (and all Gigi's projects in general very much), Rotte Charlotte, Lunikoff Verschwoerung, of course. Hatecore / Metalcore wave of German scene is quite interesting to me too, bands like Moshpit or Brainwash are really outstanding.
From active Russian bands of today I'd like to recommend Russky Styag (Russian Flag) first and foremost. Very promising band, which combine both ballad and melodic RAC directions in its creativity. Also they have very good and inspirational lyrics. Plus I have to mention that Russky Styag is the most active live band in our country for the last 2 years at least, their vocalist is playing almost every weekend as a balladeer or with the band (or simultaneously in some cases), hard, but great work, hats off!
Kiborg is good studio project with quite qualitative heavy music and interesting lyrics. Also they have some more studio projects with different styles of music, which could be attractive for the different audiences. I believe it's quite smart and creative method of propaganda, when you're tryin' to reach different people playing different styles of music.
Sure I have to mention Vandal, it's old band from 90s, but today with completely different line up if comparing with original band members. I've heard that they prepare the new studio album and I expect something in the vein of their previous masterpices Last to date studio album (Surrounded, but not broken) of this band was performed in different styles of pagan metal influenced RAC and filled with talented radical lyrics. The mastermind of this band is also the leader of several NSBM projects from Blaze Birth Hall. Really lookin' forward to see Vandal back to playing live on stage as before the imprisonment of their vocalist.
Velimor is cool NSBM / pagan metal band, which is quite close to Russian RAC scene. They released new full length album recently – Our world is the tittle, and played quite succesfull gig in Moscow last month. Raw and simple, but still very catchy music, full of energy and agression, «straight to the point» so to speak. Their live performances are something special.
Unfortunately, almost all good Russian RAC bands of 90s called it a day, to a great complaint, there were several really promising ones ... Majority of musicians of these bands left our scene, but there are some good old comrades, which are still involved within our ranks even today.
Also I'd like to mention the best bands from our Brother countries: Ukraine (Sokyra Peruna and Arya Varta) and Belarus (Molot (ex – Apraxia) and Kamaedzitca). These guys are easy talented musicians, you have to pay an attention to what they are doing.
Can you tell us wich are some of most respected heroes from the history(ancient and also ww2)and from the present times that are most respected within Russian Movement?
Oh you know our history is so reach for outstanding persons and glorious feats, it could be quite problematic and complicated to answer to your question in an interview format, such topic really deserve to write the books about it. And they were written already. That’s why I’ll reply just in short. The most respected, impressive and influential heroes of Russian history to us are our brave noble warriors like Svyatoslav “The Brave” (ancient Russian prince (last heathen prince), which defeated Chazar Kaganath (its official religion was Judaism, by the way), Evpaty Kolovrat (also known as “Evpaty The Furious”), Dmitry “Donskoi” and Alexandr “Nevsky” princes, Alexandr Suvorov, Fiodor Ushakov and Matvey Platov. There were many great heroes of anti – Bolshevik resistance during WW2 like Piotr Krasnov (Cossack from Don, which fought against Soviets since the time of Civil War (1918 – 1921), Andrey Shkuro or Bronislav Kaminsky. Also it’s necessive to mention godfather of Russian Movement - great person of Konstantin Rodzaevsky, which started “Russian Fascist Party” soon after the end of Civil War among Russian refugees in Harbin, China. All these descent people are real inspiration to today’s activists in our country And there are many, many more outstanding heroes to list.
You have also played in Slovenia 3 times (2 ballad and 1 electric gig (with ballad set included as well)), could you tell us a few words about these concerts? Also tell us what impressions did our land and these visits left on you? How do you view our movement?
Yes, that's true I've been to Slovenia 3 times and everything went just great (in my opinion) during these visits: hospitality friendliness and the technical level of organization were just great. The same about the enthusiastic support from the local audience (even despite an obvious linguistical barrier – an absolute majority of our songs are in Russian), the emotions spoke for themselves, that's a kind of undisputtable fact. Also we spent good time while visiting numerous points of interest, architectural monuments, Skinhead shops, swimming in cold and crystal mountain rivers, drinking some tasty local beers and just chatting with Slovenian comrades in Lubljana + in couple of other cities. Slovenia is really one of the most beatiful and pleasant European countries (especially at Summer), a country with long and glorious history. Gig wise: we did 2 gigs for «Slovenian Radicals» and one for «Headhunters Domzale», all concerts went just cool, the atmosphere was pretty emotional and friendly. The organizers provided us with good PA in all cases and tried to do everything as professional as they could. Only the best impressions remained after our visits to Slo.
Local Movement has quite descent level, the main organizations are «B & H Slovenia», «Headhunters Domzale» («B & H Slovenia» official supporters) and «Slovenski Radikali». All groups can mostly cooperate with each other without any problems and it's really positive that all past misunderstandings were surmounted for necessive common work for the same goal in more effective way. Most different thing between Slovenian and Russian Movements is the following of Slo Movement to Skinhead lifestyle, which slowly became a past in Russia due to many reasons, which were mentioned within this interview already.
Unfortunately, as far as I'm concerned, Slovenia never had huge musical scene, I can recall just «Skullcrusher» and «Bes Slovenskih Puntarev» bands, but now I see that Slovenian RAC is back with a bang witht the appearance of new band called «Flame Of Resistance», which did pretty successfull gig with Serbian veterans of «Sorab 28» recently, it was a good start for the guys and I’m looking forward to hear more from this young, but pretty promising band, not just live songs, but full length album (s) too.
What are the future plans for your band,where do you see yourselfes in the coming years?
Well, it's a pity, but we active nationalists have to live just by one day in today's Russian Federation and not make any big plans for the future, cause the oppression against the political dissidents nowadays can be compared just with Stalin's repressions of police state of communist past. We'll continue our very small part of common struggle in any case, but I can't see any good perspectives for us in the next years, unfortunately. We (as a band) don't have any real possibilities for further development in this country anymore - everything's too bad and hopeless in modern Russia. It wont be exaggeration to say that it's a kind of state almost like Northern Corea for example, there's just a vision of so called «democracy», but reality is quite different. No freedom of speach for free thinkers of any kind. More than 50 songs of our band were officially prohibited for pretty disputtable reasons just during last year in so called Russian Federation and I think that it's only the beginning of repressions against our band and against Russian right – wing musical scene as well. And this is one of the reasons why I'm forced to not mention any details of our plans, which exist, obviously. But I can recommend to stay tuned for the new studio releases anyway!
Thanks alot for doing this interview,any final words for the end?
First of all, I'd like to thank you for the interest in our band and for the chance to speak for the comrades in Slovenia (and sure for the possibility to play in your great country too!)! We'll never forget those great times we spent in hospitable Lubljana and other cities of Slovenia during our visits to you, it was really nice to meet so many great comrades over there. Looking forward to return to the Land of Green Dragon once upon a time again and shake your hands. We have to continue our collaboration, strengthen our ties and work together to attain the common goals we all have. Similar problems, same threats, same resolutions, common ideology and beliefs – this is what unites and leads us to the struggle for our Homelands and Mother Europe. Most likely we are the last generation, which is able to make a serious change in the destiny of our kind and prevent its destruction so let's never forget about this top important responsibility, never retreat and always try to be as active as possible, in all fields and directions, we're not just the glorious past, but also we're the future, real political alternative for our people to break free from today's mess of hypocritical capitalist system, multiculturalism and total decline of White European Civilization. It may sound aloud, but it's true: if not we then who?