This article was written a while back under the title, “Everything Old is New Again, Ukraine War Edition”, and it features Boris Grebenshchikov, the Russian pop singer, singing an antiwar song composed by Alexander Vertinsky, which dates back to 105 years ago. It was the closing stanza.
No one thought to just kneel
These boys will tell you, this nation is talentless
The steps to great valor are just steps away
To the infinite abysses of the unknown Spring.
A couple of days ago, I came across another song by Grebenschikov, called “Истребитель”; this means “fighter plane,” but I think it might also carry a more sinister shading, since the literal translation is something like “exterminator.”
The Russian text can be seen here. It’s intentionally poetically opaque. However, the general tone of the song seems to focus on brutality and war, and the listener and singer’s complicity in them. It’s about Russia’s tendency towards self-extermination, according to one commentator.
In any case, Grebenshchikov sings the same song as the original 1996 version, despite the fact that the lyrics were written back in 1996. To fulfill the promise I made in the title, the song is from TheMrRadiator, a commenter:
Удобно, когда в твоей стране более ста лет творится одно и тоже… Один раз песню написал и она всегда актуальна…
It’s so convenient to see the same thing over and again in your country over 100 years. You can write a song one time and it will always be apt.