D-E Wickström: My Pravoslavnye – Russkii rok, Orthodoxy and Nationalism in post-Soviet Russia
D-E Wickström: My Pravoslavnye – Russkii rok, Orthodoxy and nationalism in post-Soviet Russia.
Guest lecture for the Russian Space (RSCPR) Research Group
Since the 1988 church millennium and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union the Russian Orthodox Church has grown in strength and popularity with church officials cultivating close ties with the Russian elite (the public appearances of President Putin and Patriarch Kirill being the most prominent example). Similar to other (Christian) denominations the Russian-Orthodox church has also turned to popular music as a way to reach out to new followers – including a high-profile meeting between Konstantin Kinchev (Alisa), Iurii Shevchuk (DDT) and other prominent rock musicians with Metropolitan (now Patriarch) Kirill, then chairman of the Department for External Church Relations, and other members of the Moscow Patriarchate on 6 April 2006 (the church’s relationship to popular music, however, remains contested as Pussy Riot demonstrated with their punk prayer in 2012).
Having moved from Moscow to Leningrad in the 1980s Konstantin Kinchev joined the vibrant music scene around the Leningrad Rock Club as the group Alisa’s vocalist and frontman. Becoming a prominent band of the scene the group today is one of the most influential Soviet rock groups to remain active after the turmoil following Perestroika. Throughout the 1990s Kinchev’s music and image transformed from that of an enfant terrible to a Russian-orthodox rocker. The group’s religious (as well as nationalist) shift over the past decades can be seen as emblematic for Russia’s official religious and nationalistic turn since the end of the Soviet Union.
David-Emil Wickström is Professor of popular music history at the Pop Academy Baden-Württemberg (Mannheim, Germany) where he also administers the Bachelor degree programs “Pop Music Design” and "World Music" and is the head of the library. Wickström academic background begins in Scandinavian studies, musicology and ethnomusicology at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, at the University of Bergen and at the University of Copenhagen. He has published a thesis and numerous articles on Post-Soviet popular music.