"Dal'she deistvovat budem my" : the evolution of Viktor Tsoi's sociopolitical commentary during Perestroika
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This report examines the themes presented over the course of Viktor Tsoi's (1962-1990) career during the 1980s. During his nearly 10 year career, the themes and sociopolitical messages of his music change drastically in specific areas, while remaining consistent over the duration of his career in other thematic areas. This change in thematic focus is most marked shortly after the introduction of the Glasnost reform by General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev in 1985. The majority of his early work (1981- 1985) was overtly politically neutral, and those songs that did have a political statement layered into them did so in a subtle way, often commenting on sociopolitical problems through the lens of social issues such as feelings of isolation and disillusionment. These works tended to focus on fairly commonplace, though widely relatable, themes such as love, social isolation, and the search for meaning in life. Although these are not the works he would come to be most remembered for, and they initially received mixed reactions, there are critics who feel that these pieces render Tsoi's greatest and most personal messages. With the advent of Glasnost following Mikhail Gorbachev's appointment to General Secretary, Tsoi's music became much more politically charged, and music premiered at festivals and in films carried direct political themes, although it took a slightly longer time for these works to appear in published albums. The messages presented in these later works focused on the atmosphere of political and social upheaval present in the Soviet Union, the identity and strength of the young generation, and on the need for youth to call for political change in their country. This timely and identifiable message is a major reason for the massive success of the later part of his career, and part of the reason he and his work are still remembered and treated with respect more than a generation after his death.