Russia: Bloggers Remember Rock Legend

Ilya Kormiltsev's LJ-avatar

Ilya Kormiltsev's LJ-avatar

On February 4, 2010, Russian bloggers celebrated the sad date. Ilya Kormiltsev [ENG], one of Russia’s most talented and controversial poets and songwriters, died of spine cancer three years ago. Back in 2007, Kormiltsev’s death became the first and the most publicized death on RuNet (Russian Internet).

Bloggers remembered him years after posting and re-posting his poems and songs, admiring his talent as well as non-conformism, respecting  his thirst for freedom of expression and active civil position.

Kormiltsev’s success story began in the the 80s in the city of Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg) [ENG]. Kormiltsev became famous for working as a songwriter in the band “Nautilus Pompilius” [EN], one the legendary rock bands during Perestroika [EN] and later Post-Soviet period.

Kormiltsev’s songs were aimed against the communist regime, although this criticism was wrapped in sophisticated poetic forms and go unnoticed during the era of the Soviet censorship. In 1999, radio “Nashe” published “Top 100 Best Russian Rock Songs of the Century” [RUS] rating where seven out of 100 songs were written by Kormiltsev.

In the 2000's Kormiltsev quit his songwriter career and started a publishing house “Ultra.Kultura” [RUS]. As a professional interpreter, he translated and published works of the most controversial authors of the contemporary time (both Russian and foreign): William Burroughs [ENG], Ernesto Che Guevara, William Gibson [ENG], Huey P. Newton [ENG] and others. Ultra.Kultura’s books covered such radical topics as drugs, pornography, racial issues, crime, etc.

In November 2006, during the trip to London, Kormiltsev started feeling sick. In his last blog post, he wrote [RUS]:

ЛИЧНАЯ ПРОСЬБА. Никто не едет в Лондон на днях? Надо отвести лекарства. Мне.

A personal request. Is there anyone going to London these days? The medicines are needed. For me.

Couple of months later, in January 2007, he was diagnosed with spine cancer. It was too late to help Kormiltsev. His friend, music critic Boris Barabanov, wrote [RUS] that Kormiltsev suffered not only from his sickness but also from the absence of the Internet and the ability to write “something important” to his readers. Kormiltsev’s last post gathered 1,720 comments. Desperate to find any information on their idol, fans were leaving messages of grief and sorrow in the comments section. Some people were asking questions about his lyrics and poems, hitting the last chance to hear author’s interpretations.

Kormiltsev’s death became one of the most discussed events in the blogosphere, newspaper “Kommersant” reported.

Right now, Kormiltsev’s LiveJournal account has a status “Memory Journal.” Any further comments are closed but the journal’s content is open to everyone. The last post in his journal was written by his friends and repeated Kormiltsev’s last words:

Был потрясен тем, что я вам так дорог, и что вы прониклись таким участием к моей судьбе. Огромное спасибо за поддержку. Постараюсь ответить всем лично.

I was shocked that you value me so much and that you got engaged with my fate. I thank you for your support. I’ll try to respond personally to each one of you.

But he never did. Three years after Kormiltsev’s death, bloggers were posting his portraits, favorite poem extracts and the last interviews.

Blogger A.Monach wrote:

для меня всегда было загадкой, как так человек может зацепить сотни мозгов и заставить петь миллионы свои песни, при этом почти вообще не используя рифмоплетения. Одинаково жестко с его уст слетала “социалка”, “политинформационное творчество”, любовь – смерть, которые всегда ходили в его произведениях рядом, разврат и боль, божественное и дьявольское и тд…

It was always a riddle for me how a person can stir so many heads and make millions sing his songs without using any sophisticated rhyme-making. He was equally hard writing about social issues, “politically engaged art,” love and death, which were very close to each other in his works, lust and pain, the divine and the devilish, etc…

Regul_leia wrote:

Говорят, художник чувствует нить времени тоньше, чем все остальные и предугадывает ее. А поэт – как родитель над колыбелью малыша – нашептывает песню, по которой новый человек учится говорить и понимать мир.

They say, an artist feels the filament of time more delicately than anyone else and forsees it. A poet is like a parent over the baby’s cradle – whispers the song, which will tell a new man how to speak and how to understand the world.

All_decoded commented on regul_leia’s post:

Но если Вам нравится Кормильцев (а это нормально !) Вы начинаете диссидентствовать по отношению к сегодняшней власти

But if you like Kormiltsev (which is OK!) you become a dissident towards today’s power.

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