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6 bands that ROCKED the Soviet Union




Music has always been a phenomenally successful way to bridge political divides. At the height of the Cold War, western audiences continued to embrace Soviet performances of Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky, but it was also a two way street.

While Russian classical music as well as the songs of the Alexandrov Choir have always been popular in the west, many forget that the rock music originating from the English speaking world, also captured the hearts of young people throughout Russia.

Here are the five bands from the west that rocked the Soviet Union and continue to thrill Russian audiences to this day. 

1. Uriah Heep 

Uriah Heep are considered among the four founders of ‘hard rock’ and some would even say heavy metal. Along with Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin, Uriah Heep brought a heavy sound combined with compelling harmonies and neo-classical elements to audiences the world over.

Their music became tremendously popular in the Soviet Union even as the band fell on difficult times in the early 1980s.

By 1987, Uriah Heep were back in business with a revitalised line-up and they were ready to be embraced by a country that had never seen them live ever before.

They played 10 consecutive sold-out nights at Moscow’s Olympic Stadium in 1987. The band were on form and the audience loved it.

True to the Dickensian character for which they were named, the band were humble and enjoyed every moment. No egos were on stage nor back stage, just five rockers who loved the audience as much as the young audience loved them.

It was a milestone and IT ROCKED!

2. Pink Floyd

Pink Floyd’s deeply political lyrics challenged the western status quo for years. In spite of this, they became best selling artists throughout the world.

In 1989, on their first tour minus creative mastermind Roger Waters, Pink Floyd played their first ever show in Moscow.

This was significant not only because Pink Floyd were one of the biggest bands in the world, but because Pink Floyd’s state show was the most elaborate of any major touring band.

In the 1980s, Russians got to see just what the fuss was all about. Pink Floyd brought their entire show complete with lights, cameras and action to the heart of Moscow. They didn’t hold back and neither did the exuberant audience.

For decades, the video footage of Pink Floyd in the USSR was thought to have be lost, however a slightly blurred but still decent version has very recently surfaced and is posted below.

Not to be outdone by his former band-mates, Roger Waters came to Russia with a vengence in 2011 (after bringing a less elaborate tour to Russia in 2002) and even had a local school children participate in his epic production of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall’.


3. UB40

In America, UB40 are best remembered for their cover of the Neil Diamond song ‘Red, Red Wine’, but in Britain the band were noted for their scathing political reggae-rock songs which raged against the neo-liberal economics of Margaret Thatcher who was no friend of Russia.

In Moscow in 1986, UB40 bridged a gap and spread their unique, some would say socialist message to Soviet audiences who at times were more attentive than some western audiences to the heartfelt message the band conveyed.

4. Deep Purple 

Deep Purple are simply one of the best hard rock bands by any standard. Their fusion of classical music, blues, rock n’ roll and even soul continues to captivate audiences throughout the world.

Russians took to Deep Purple early on, but it was in fact only after the end of the USSR that Purple first came to Russia.

In 1996, Deep Purple were welcomed to Russia where they played show-stopping sets to audiences that included future Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev was a life long Deep Purple fan and it was at his insistence that Deep Purple were invited to play the first ever rock show INSIDE the Kremlin in the year 2008.

The band spoke of their joy and honour to play at such an occasion.

Although they weren’t the first hard rock  band to play Russia, they were the first to rock the Kremlin.

How many others countries can say that one of the best bands in history played in the seat of political power???

Deep Purple founder Ritchie Blackmore is also a regular in post-Soviet Russia. Here you can see him in an exclusive interview with RT talking music, philosophy and more.

5. AC/DC

In 1991, the world-famous hard rock/heavy metal festival Monsters of Rock came to Tushino Airfield in Moscow to play in front of over a million people. In addition to AC/DC’s headlining performance the large festival also featured American rockers Metallica, Black Crows and Pantera.

Maintaining order with such a large audience would be difficult under the best of conditions and as it was, 1991 was one of the most turbulent years in Russian history. The concert took place shortly before the end of the Soviet Union.

What better way to chill things out than inviting AC/DC? Maybe not the best decision, but the band rocked and in spite of difficulty in controlling the massive audience, most people did have a great time…certainly a memorable one.

6. Asia

Asia were one of the staples on MTV in the 1980s. The prog-rockers turned arena-rockers were unstoppable during much of the decade of Gorbachev and Reagan.

In 1990, the super-group which featured former members of King Crimson, Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer came to Moscow in a unique performance that captures an enthusiastic audience inter-spliced with scenes of Moscow life in the late Soviet era.

If only lame western politicians were as cool as the rock bands…then again, that’s why rock has always been about rebellion!

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Constantinople: Ukrainian Church leader is now uncanonical

October 12 letter proclaims Metropolitan Onuphry as uncanonical and tries to strong-arm him into acquiescing through bribery and force.

Seraphim Hanisch



The pressure in Ukraine kept ratcheting up over the last few days, with a big revelation today that Patriarch Bartholomew now considers Metropolitan Onuphy “uncanonical.” This news was published on 6 December by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (running under the Moscow Patriarchate).

This assessment marks a complete 180-degree turn by the leader of the Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople, and it further embitters the split that has developed to quite a major row between this church’s leadership and the Moscow Patriarchate.

OrthoChristian reported this today (we have added emphasis):

A letter of Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople to His Beatitude Metropolitan Onuphry of Kiev and All Ukraine was published yesterday by a hierarch of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in which the Patriarch informed the Metropolitan that his title and position is, in fact, uncanonical.

This assertion represents a negation of the position held by Pat. Bartholomew himself until April of this year, when the latest stage in the Ukrainian crisis began…

The same letter was independently published by the Greek news agency Romfea today as well.

It is dated October 12, meaning it was written just one day after Constantinople made its historic decision to rehabilitate the Ukrainian schismatics and rescind the 1686 document whereby the Kiev Metropolitanate was transferred to the Russian Orthodox Church, thereby, in Constantinople’s view, taking full control of Ukraine.

In the letter, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that after the council, currently scheduled for December 15, he will no longer be able to carry his current title of “Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine.”

The Patriarch immediately opens his letter with Constantinople’s newly-developed historical claim about the jurisdictional alignment of Kiev: “You know from history and from indisputable archival documents that the holy Metropolitanate of Kiev has always belonged to the jurisdiction of the Mother Church of Constantinople…”

Constantinople has done an about-face on its position regarding Ukraine in recent months, given that it had previously always recognized the Metropolitan of Kiev and All Ukraine of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate as the sole canonical primate in Ukraine.

…The bulk of the Patriarch’s letter is a rehash of Constantinople’s historical and canonical arguments, which have already been laid out and discussed elsewhere. (See also here and here). Pat. Bartholomew also writes that Constantinople stepped into the Ukrainian ecclesiastical sphere as the Russian Church had not managed to overcome the schisms that have persisted for 30 years.

It should be noted that the schisms began and have persisted precisely as anti-Russian movements and thus the relevant groups refused to accept union with the Russian Church.

Continuing, Pat. Bartholomew informs Met. Onuphry that his position and title are uncanonical:

Addressing you as ‘Your Eminence the Metropolitan of Kiev’ as a form of economia [indulgence/condescension—OC] and mercy, we inform you that after the elections for the primate of the Ukrainian Church by a body that will consist of clergy and laity, you will not be able ecclesiologically and canonically to bear the title of Metropolitan of Kiev, which, in any case, you now bear in violation of the described conditions of the official documents of 1686.

He also entreats Met. Onuphry to “promptly and in a spirit of harmony and unity” participate, with the other hierarchs of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, in the founding council of the new Ukrainian church that Constantinople is planning to create, and in the election of its primate.

The Constantinople head also writes that he “allows” Met. Onuphry to be a candidate for the position of primate.

He further implores Met. Onuphry and the UOC hierarchy to communicate with Philaret Denisenko, the former Metropolitan of Kiev, and Makary Maletich, the heads of the schismatic “Kiev Patriarchate” and the schismatic “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church” respectively—both of which have been subsumed into Constantinople—but whose canonical condemnations remain in force for the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

The hierarchs of the Serbian and Polish Churches have also officially rejected the rehabilitation of the Ukrainian schismatics.

Pat. Bartholomew concludes expressing his confidence that Met. Onuphry will decide to heal the schism through the creation of a new church in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian Orthodox Church under Metropolitan Onuphry’s leadership is recognized as the sole canonical Orthodox jurisdiction in Ukraine by just about every other canonical Orthodox Jurisdiction besides Constantinople. Even NATO member Albania, whose expressed reaction was “both sides are wrong for recent actions” still does not accept the canonicity of the “restored hierarchs.”

In fact, about the only people in this dispute that seem to be in support of the “restored” hierarchs, Filaret and Makary, are President Poroshenko, Patriarch Bartholomew, Filaret and Makary… and NATO.

While this letter was released to the public eye yesterday, the nearly two months that Metropolitan Onuphry has had to comply with it have not been helped in any way by the actions of both the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the Ukrainian government.

Priests of the Canonical Church in Ukraine awaiting interrogation by the State authorities

For example, in parallel reports released on December 6th, the government is reportedly accusing canonical priests in Ukraine of treason because they are carrying and distributing a brochure entitled (in English): The Ukrainian Orthodox Church: Relations with the State. The Attitude Towards the Conflict in Donbass and to the Church Schism. Questions and Answers.

In a manner that would do any American liberal proud, these priests are being accused of inciting religious hatred, though really all they are doing is offering an explanation for the situation in Ukraine as it exists.

A further piece also released yesterday notes that the Ukrainian government rehabilitated an old Soviet-style technique of performing “inspections of church artifacts” at the Pochaev Lavra. This move appears to be both intended to intimidate the monastics who are living there now, who are members of the canonical Church, as well as preparation for an expected forcible takeover by the new “united Church” that is under creation. The brotherhood characterized the inspections in this way:

The brotherhood of the Pochaev Lavra previously characterized the state’s actions as communist methods of putting pressure on the monastery and aimed at destroying monasticism.

Commenting on the situation with the Pochaev Lavra, His Eminence Archbishop Clement of Nizhyn and Prilusk, the head of the Ukrainian Church’s Information-Education Department, noted:

This is a formal raiding, because no reserve ever built the Pochaev Lavra, and no Ministry of Culture ever invested a single penny to restoring the Lavra, and the state has done nothing to preserve the Lavra in its modern form. The state destroyed the Lavra, turned it into a psychiatric hospital, a hospital for infectious diseases, and so on—the state has done nothing more. And now it just declares that it all belongs to the state. No one asked the Church, the people that built it. When did the Lavra and the land become state property? They belonged to the Church from time immemorial.

With the massive pressure both geopolitically and ecclesiastically building in Ukraine almost by the day, it is anyone’s guess what will happen next.

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Ukrainian leadership is a party of war, and it will continue as long as they’re in power – Putin

“We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.





Via RT…

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has branded the Ukrainian leadership a “party of war” which would continue fueling conflicts while they stay in power, giving the recent Kerch Strait incident as an example.

“When I look at this latest incident in the Black Sea, all what’s happening in Donbass – everything indicates that the current Ukrainian leadership is not interested in resolving this situation at all, especially in a peaceful way,” Putin told reporters during a media conference in the aftermath of the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

This is a party of war and as long as they stay in power, all such tragedies, all this war will go on.

The Kiev authorities are craving war primarily for two reasons – to rip profits from it, and to blame all their own domestic failures on it and actions of some sort of “aggressors.”

“As they say, for one it’s war, for other – it’s mother. That’s reason number one why the Ukrainian government is not interested in a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” Putin stated.

Second, you can always use war to justify your failures in economy, social policy. You can always blame things on an aggressor.

This approach to statecraft by the Ukrainian authorities deeply concerns Russia’s President. “We care about Ukraine because Ukraine is our neighbor,” Putin said.

Tensions between Russia and Ukraine have been soaring after the incident in the Kerch Strait. Last weekend three Ukrainian Navy ships tried to break through the strait without seeking the proper permission from Russia. Following a tense stand-off and altercation with Russia’s border guard, the vessels were seized and their crews detained over their violation of the country’s border.

While Kiev branded the incident an act of “aggression” on Moscow’s part, Russia believes the whole Kerch affair to be a deliberate “provocation” which allowed Kiev to declare a so-called “partial” martial law ahead of Ukraine’s presidential election.

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When Putin Met Bin Sally

Another G20 handshake for the history books.



Via Zerohedge

In the annals of handshake photo-ops, we just may have a new winner (much to the delight of oil bulls who are looking at oil treading $50 and contemplating jumping out of the window).

Nothing but sheer joy, delight and friendship…

…but something is missing…

Meanwhile, earlier…

Zoomed in…

And again.

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