Back in 2007, I was very much a young man, as I had only existed for two decades.
I knew next to nothing about politics or how the real world worked, but I was quite disturbed by the jingoist propaganda that the Bush administration spouted. From start to finish, that bore a lurid semblance to the political events that shaped my consciousness, where I couldn’t walk down the street for a half a mile without stumbling upon some sort of a monument commemorating the fallen heroes of World War II. With a sense of dread, I still recall how my first grade teacher took a classmate to task for failing to do his homework, insisting that had this been the “patriotic war”, the Nazis would have slaughtered him a long time ago. A year or so later, I recall how that same classmate was fortunate enough to enter a foreign exchange student program that took him to the U.S for a year. Upon returning to Russia, he walked in a more upright posture, made eye contact and didn’t feel in the slightest bit intimidated by his teachers. Needless to say, they hated him even more for it, as there was an air of dignity about him that the Russian politico-economic system was designed to suppress on every level.
About 15 years earlier, the USSR lost their “people’s artist”, Vladimir Vysotsky.
In the 1970s, he arrived in Hollywood to deliver a performance. Without comprehending a single word, the listeners could not help but sense the spell-binding mystique he exuded with every utterance. In his inimitable, deep and raspy voice, Vysotsky became a legend ridiculing the commissars, the absurdity of life under socialism and gross corruption of the system.
When Spassky lost his crown to Fischer, Vysotsky released a song lampooning the communist party leader who threatened to “physically crush Fischer, be it by checkmate or not”. In a similar vein, his song on clowns with down-syndrome was an obvious caricature of Brezhnev, the senile Soviet premier who presided over the infamous “era of stagnation” that is now well known to be the leading cause of the collapse of the USSR. His other less well-known performance aptly titled as “the hunt on wolves” satirized the KGBs relentless persecution of political dissidents.