- Grazhdanskaya Oborona
Infobox musical artist
Name = Grazhdanskaya Oborona
Background = group_or_band
Soviet Union, Russia
Label = HOR-Music
URL = http://www.gr-oborona.ru/
Yegor Letov Natalia Chumakova Alexander Chesnakov Pavel Peretolchin
Yanka Dyagileva, Kuzya Uoetc
Grazhdanskaya Oborona (often abbreviated as GrOb or GO) (Russian: "Гражданская Оборона" "civil defense", "ГрОб" "coffin", "ГО") is one of the earliest and most famous
Russian punk bands. The name of the band can be translated from Russian as "Civil Defense".
The band was created by a young
Soviet dissident, Egor Letov, in November 1984. At that point, Russian underground musicwas close to its peak. Rock bands such as Aquarium, Mashina Vremeni(Time Machine), and Kino were enormously popular; however, punk rockas a genre was new to Soviet underground musical scene. "GO" were the ones to fill this vacant niche, and now maintains a huge army of fans, admirers, and followers. It inspired hundreds of subsequent Soviet and then Russian punk bands.
Up to the collapse of the
USSR, GO was often viewed as an anti-Soviet band. In his deeply symbolic lyrics, Letov often spoke against militarism, dictatorship, the Soviet system, and the war in Afghanistan. That was the reason the band was censored and prohibited. Letov and his bandmates spent years in hiding, recording songs in the kitchens and cellars of their friends' flats. Despite heavy censorship, the band played at several rock festivals (notably its premiere in Novosibirskin 1987, where it was considered a sensation).
Contrary to popular image of an anti-communist, Letov himself claimed to be a "true communist" and has not abolished this claim until the most recent switch in his beliefs. Being the most prominent figure of the Siberian rock, Letov has always been a source of many contradictions. At times he expressed opinions exactly opposite to his earlier sayings - thus, he appeared aligned with the nationalistic
leftistmovement called NBP ( National Bolshevik Party, rus. НБП, Национал Большевистская Партия) despite his formerly strong opposition to despotism and nationalism. His contemporary alignment is that of a "World Christian."
GrOb's sound mainly consists of either distorted electric or acoustic guitars, simple bass lines, rudimentry percussion and Letov's deeply impassioned voice. During the late 80's they also started occasionally implementing harsh industrial sounds in the background of the music.
Russian punk, songs at one time passed from tape copy to tape copy by hand (magnitizdat). Many modern-day artists such as
Chizh, Vopli Vidoplyasovaand Smyslovye Galucinaciirecorded a tribute album covering GrOb's songs.
The last album (What Dreams Are Seen For, rus. Зачем снятся сны) was released in 2007. In offline interview in January 2008 Yegor Letov said that this album might be the last one.
Yegor Letov died on 19 February 2008 from heart disease in sleep at his home in Omsk. He was 43 years old.
* [http://www.gr-oborona.ru/ Official website]
*musicbrainz artist|id=16d837ab-208f-4588-89bb-c036b5c5a0a6|name=Grazhdanskaya Oborona
* [http://www.myspace.com/grobmusic Myspace page for the band] , includes a detailed history written in English accompanied by a discography, photographs and samples of their music.
* [http://www.gr-oborona.info/ Largest fansite and media-archive ever]
* [http://www.letov.org/ United fan forum]
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