Viktor Robertovich Tsoi (June 21, 1962 – August 15, 1990) was a famous Soviet artist and leader of the rock group Kino. Tsoi was born to a Korean father and Russian mother on June 21, 1962, in Leningrad, USSR (now St. Petersburg, Russia). He is regarded as one of the pioneers of Russian rock and has a huge following in the countries of the former Soviet Union even today. Few musicians in the history of Russian music have been more popular or have had more impact on their genre than Victor Tsoi and his rock band Kino.
After contributing a plethora of musical and artistic works, including ten albums, he died in a car accident when he fell asleep at the wheel on August 15, 1990. In 1982, Kino released their first album titled “45”. This album first showed Tsoi’s willingness to approach political topics in his music, something not too many other artists were willing to do. In his song Suburban Electric Train (Russian: Электричка/Elektrichka) he discussed a man stuck in a train that was taking him where he didn’t wish to go; this was clearly a metaphor for life in the Soviet Union, and the band was quickly banned from performing this song live.
Regardless, the political message of the song made it popular among the youth of the anti-establishment movement that now began to look to Victor Tsoi and “Kino” as their idols. “Kino” was still not getting much mainstream attention due to the lack of government support, that would all change with the arrival of Mikhail Gorbachev. Gorbachev came to power in 1985. People were beginning to realize that the Communist experiment was not working out and that things needed to change. In 1986 Tsoi used the open atmosphere and public sentiment to release a song titled [We’re waiting for] Changes! (Russian: Перемен! /Peremen! ).
The song called on the young generation to demand changes within the current system and spread “Kino”‘s name all over the nation. However, in an interview, aired on soviet TV shortly after his death, Tsoi claims that his songs often have been misinterpreted in the public and that he usually avoids political intentions in his poetry. In particular, Changes! , which was used widely for the perestroika movements, has nothing to do with it, he said. While in Latvia, on 14 August 1990, Tsoi finished recording the vocals for Kino’s next album. He was supposed to travel back to Leningrad so that his bandmates could record its musical score.
Early on the morning of August 15th, Victor Tsoi died when he lost control of his Aleko car and slammed into a bus outside of Riga. The car was completely demolished to the point that one of its tires was never found. This all happened on the way back from a fishing trip. Rise to fame. 1987 was a breakthrough year for “Kino”. The release of their 7th album Blood Type (Russian: Группа крови/Gruppa Krovi) triggered what was then called “Kinomania”. The open political climate under Glasnost allowed Tsoi to make Blood Type his most political album yet it also allowed him to record a sound of music that no one before him was able to play.
Most of the tracks on the album were directed at the youth of the Soviet Union, telling them to take control and make changes within the nation, some of the songs discussed the social problems crippling the nation. The sound and lyrics of the album made Tsoi a hero among Russia’s youth and “Kino” the most popular rock band ever. Over the next few years, Tsoi appeared in several successful movies and also traveled to the USA to promote his films at film festivals. Several more albums were released, their themes were once again mostly political, further fueling the band’s popularity.
Even though Tsoi was a huge star, he still lived a relatively normal life. He kept his old job in the boiler room of an apartment building, this surprised many people. Tsoi said that he enjoyed the work and he also needed the money to support the band, as they still received no government support and their albums were copied and passed around the nation free of charge. This made Tsoi even more popular among the people because it showed that he was down to earth and they could relate to them.
“Kino”‘s finest hour came in 1990 with a concert at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. 2,000 fans filled the stands to celebrate the triumph of Russia’s most successful rock group. Tsoi means more to the young people of our nation than any politician, celebrity, or writer. This is because Tsoi never lied and never sold out. He was and remains himself. Tsoi is the only rocker who has no difference between his image and his real life, he lived the way he sang… Tsoi is the last hero of Russian rock. People began to think about how they live and how to live. By policy it had nothing to do, they were proud of their country. In their imagination, Tsoi was a hero – a strong, honest, brave, noble.
What did people hear in his songs? Be strong! Never give up! Do not be indifferent! Stood up for the weak! While Tsoi has never called for violence. Largely due to his work was a sort of code of honor that people observed. All becoming a young person was under Victor’s voice. Why Tsoi was a leader?
- He became a leader on basis of his personal qualities not by virtue of his position.
- He had a wide Vision of common people’s lives.
- He had no subordinates, but lots of followers.
- His concern was common people live not political life.
- People follow them on a voluntary basis, they just liked his music.
Cite this Viktor Robertovich Tsoi
Viktor Robertovich Tsoi. (2016, Dec 18). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/viktor-robertovich-tsoi/