New East Digital Archive

Supporters wish Kirill Serebrennikov a happy birthday to the tune of Viktor Tsoi

7 September 2017

The Gogol Centre has published a birthday video for their detained theatre director Kirill Serebrennikov, featuring a flashmob singing along to Viktor Tsoi’s 80s pop piece, Aluminium Cucumbers (Alyuminievie orgutsii).

Accused of embezzling state funds allocated for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Gogol Centre director has been sitting under house arrest since 23 August. Known for his outspoken criticism of the Kremlin and defence of LGBT rights, Serebrennikov has enjoyed overwhelming support from the global artistic community, many of whom claim the director is the unfortunate victim of a political show trial.

The choice to dedicate Tsoi’s catchy and light-hearted tune to Serebrennikov is poignant. Viktor Tsoi, the frontman of iconic Soviet rock group Kino who tragically died in 1990, is still remembered as an artisitc genius and symbol of progressive change in Russia. As Serebrennikov continues to fight what he calls a baseless arrest, shared themes of poetics and politics seem hard to miss. Moreover, when Serebrennikov was arrested on 22 August in St Petersburg, he was working on a biographical film of the rock star’s life, creating an additional link between the two much loved cultural icons.

In an 1987 interview with Tsoi, when asked on the meaning behind Aluminium Cucumbers, he replied: “there is not any kind of meaning in the lyrics, in fact it was an attempt at completely deconstructing reality.”

Serebrennikov is next due in court on 19 October.