Oleg Skrypka on 'feast during the plague', corrupt stars and the power of the Ukrainian language
Ukrainian singer Oleg Skrypka gave an interview "The Bureau". The musician told how he made money in Russia, and why his concert was held in Germany with a scandal. He also shared how he relates to Loboda's interview, the Ukrainian language, and charity concerts. And he said that he would do the first thing after the war.
Denis Cheredov: Thank you Oleg for taking the time to talk. The first question is about the language, I will speak Russian, you speak Ukrainian. Why did you make such a decision?
Oleg Skripka: The fact is that Ukrainians have been going abroad for many years. And they are immediately told there - oh, these are Russians. They start talking about Natasha, Natasha, and so on. But we are not Russians. We are Ukrainians, we are Ukrainians. And then people ask - why do you speak Russian then? Here is the problem!
The point is that language disappears first. Then people disappear. Now Ukrainians are dying out, because there is a war going on. And someone else came up with the idea that Ukrainians should not exist or that they do not exist at all. It's a matter of survival. You know, every bird, every animal, especially a person, especially a people wants to live. Language, customs, traditions, culture is the key to survival.
Cheredov: What should those who do not understand Ukrainian, but treat Ukraine with love, fully support?
Violin: For example, I love America. I love English very much. I don't know it, but if I want to live here, I will need to learn it, at least in order to order coffee for myself. Therefore, if you want to adequately communicate with Ukrainians, to adapt, you need to learn the language. But I live in France and speak French well. And if I really want to live in America, then I definitely need to learn the language.
Cheredov: Oleg, the scandal that happened back in Ukraine was about the ghetto, where you said that if you don’t know the language, you should be sent to the ghetto, what happened then? (Editor’s note – In 2017, in an interview, Skrypka said: “People who cannot learn Ukrainian have a low IQ, they are diagnosed as “debilism”. We need to isolate them, because they are socially dangerous, we need to create a ghetto for And we will help them, as we help people with disabilities, on a volunteer basis we will sing to them ‚Vladimirsky Central'").
Violin: Then there was Eurovision. And then the Kremlin had a task to show that the Eurovision Song Contest is taking place in Kyiv, and the Nazis are sitting there. So they prepared interviews with students for me. It was a local interview. There were very different questions. And they acted according to the training manual and knew how to lead a person to certain things. And that's exactly what I was led to do in this interview. And all propaganda channels, including Solovyov, showed this in their interpretation. They made me a fascist. And when we performed in Germany now, this story surfaced again. They brought up old information. That the fascists have arrived. Violin, they say, he is a fascist. And they said that my concert should be cancelled. Such a favorite lie - Well, I'm a fascist and we have a country of fascists, we have a fascist president.
Cheredov: Now they remembered the Kremlin and Russia. I don't want to talk about it much. You had a business in Russia until 2014.
Violin: I have an audience, a lot of Russian audience...
Cheredov: You are very loved there.
Violin: Yes, I presented just the export version of the presentation of Ukraine. What is Ukraine - it's a violin with an accordion and so on in Russia - that is, abroad it has always worked with a bang. Even I will tell you honestly that my music did not work as well in Ukraine as it worked abroad. And once again: it was such a representation of Ukraine.
Cheredov: Did you earn money in Russia there?
Violin: In Russia, yes. In Russia, this is my audience. Excuse me, but Russia is five times larger than Ukraine. This is a huge market. Well, Russia is so rich. Big money was spinning there - Moscow, St. Petersburg, other cities - Novosibirsk. And then it all, of course, closed, and it was necessary to somehow reorganize and move on.
Cheredov: Until 2014, you performed there, and after that, not even once?
Violin: In 2014, we performed just in St. Petersburg, there was such a club "Cosmonaut". We then planned concerts for half a year - it was very cool. It was either January or February. All beat up. A lot of people received us very cool. And I had a feeling that all this was happening for the last time in Russia - even then there was such a premonition.
Cheredov: Oleg, do you believe Loboda that she did not fully understand what was happening?
Violin: I'm a rocker, I don't even know what to say.
Cheredov: But anyway, you know who Loboda is.
Violin: I don't believe in pop. These are grandmas, that is, this is a business. She decided that this was the best thing for her.
Cheredov: Well, is she sincere?
Violin: She sincerely thought that she would earn more dough. It turned out to be less. Already in a different sense. Well, that's how wrong. Ani Lorak was wrong. That is, it is like in business - someone wins, someone loses! This, of course, is not a war, but it is very risky. But the fact that they are sincere in this regard is probably yes.
I know rock musicians. Of these, now some people are fighting, and some go as volunteers and collect funds. And there are many examples. For example, Kolya Serga is fighting, Andrey Khlyvnyuk is fighting, the Mandry group is fighting, Tank on the Congo Maidan is fighting. That is, the dudes really went into the army. The Sledgehammer group - I contacted them - they are really at the front now. I mean, these people are there. Well, there are different alternative musicians Arsen Mirzoyan, he is a volunteer. Here, please, real boys serve in the army. And pop - what? She beats her chest, while she is in Miami, or I don’t know - in Barcelona?
Cheredov: How do you feel about the post and deed of Alla Pugacheva?
Violin: Alla Borisovna has always been a smart, wise and courageous woman. Well, as I understand it, here the boiling point has simply reached its maximum. This is a courageous act. An act to return to Russia and not be afraid, and make such a statement. Fearless woman. On the other hand, she could just live - she has her age, her status. But she said and showed that she had nothing to be afraid of. And she wants to do just that for herself, not for the public. And when we die, we will not be ashamed - it's like standing in front of a mirror with your conscience. And Pugacheva's act, by the way, proves that she loves her husband. This is love, this is romantic. It's all tragic and romantic. It's just like risking everything for your husband.
Cheredov: There is information that the concert in Germany did not take place. What happened?
Violin: I talked about it a little. They said I was a fascist - brought up old news. Everything is very simple, the Ukrainian army is on the offensive - the propagandists need to somehow justify themselves for the defeats - so they came up with the fact that I am a fascist. Therefore, they wanted to ban my concert. But in the end I won and played the concert. Because their arguments are ridiculous. In fact, we did it the very next day. And we did not talk about it, there was no information on the Internet.
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Cheredov: How do you feel about the opinion that now during the war, these concerts are not really needed, because people are dying. And it doesn't matter that in this way, you also support people and help them win. There are people who say that you are throwing a "feast during the plague."
Violin: That's when a person feels bad, a person is in stress or a difficult situation, a person needs to breathe. You don't know what to do It's hard for you, it's hard, you can die from it. Or, for example, you are injured and you need to breathe. Breath is life. And so life and concerts, music, communication of people - this is life. The people must live. And he must have some perspective for the future. Here we have a war. Why should we sit and sit? Or dig your own grave? You don't have to do this! We must live, we must move forward. Moreover, there are Ukrainians abroad.
There are sympathetic Russians, there are Belarusians, there are Kazakhs, Georgians who are with us. We unite people, we collect funds, we collect money - we send it to children, we send it to the wounded. This scheme and system works. It is clear that, for example, the Americans gave us half a billion dollars for restoration. Of course, we will not be able to raise such money at concerts. We're doing it, but it's about $3000. And we do it through music.
Cheredov: What do you think the mobilization will lead to?
Violin: I am not a political scientist or a futurist. I don't know, I only know one thing - how people feel, I would like there to be peace. I don’t even know what this mobilization policy will lead to.
Cheredov: And what will happen to Putin?
Violin: I don't think about it at all. The fact is that the more we think about him, talk about him, the more we give him strength. But what will happen to him? Let him worry about it himself or let his environment worry about it. What will happen? We will rebuild Ukraine. As soon as the war ends, and it will end, because all wars end. We don't know exactly when it will end. But we will immediately begin to restore Ukraine. We know how to rebuild it, we now know in which direction we will develop. We have a goal, we have energy and inspiration. Everyone will help us build a new Ukraine.
Cheredov: When the war is over, what will you do first?
Violin: I really love cocoa. I'll have a cup of cool cocoa. When the war is over, then I'll go mind my own business.
Cheredov: Arrange some kind of concert?
Violin: I'm going on tour. I can't promise because, you know, a musician is like a river, it's like water. If there is an opportunity to come to the USA, play great concerts, I will definitely do it with pleasure. Yes, even tomorrow. And all this will happen with a victory. There will be such an opportunity to play something - I will make a concert even at the stadium. I have many songs and victory songs. Light songs, I would say. I can't promise, because I'm not a concert organizer. But if I find partners who will help me to do this, then it will be fine.
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