Hallelujah, comrades! Cheer and celebrate, for on this fateful and providential day of May 1, on a rare occasion when International Workers’ Day coincides with Orthodox Easter, what any fervent believer in our unshakeable ideological principles hoped and waited for finally came true. Vladimir Lenin, our dear idol and supreme leader, has risen again—and his spirit is stronger than ever. And who is better to announce this historic event if not Noize MC, who managed to bring together the electric energy of rock and the ferocious honesty of hip hop? Let us present you “Lenin Has Risen,” a new animated video by Noize MC which discusses things like consumer society, political hypocrisy, religious bigotry and plain old stupidity in the most surreal, daring and funny way possible. For one time, the clanking of chains of the working class will sound like music you can dance and jump to. All rise!
All right, let’s take a step back. What is happening? What does Lenin have to do with the year 2016, and what does religion have to do with it? Well, the thing is, in post-Soviet Russia, if you don’t go to church, the church comes to you—not unlike how it was with the Communist Party in the actual Soviet Russia. Indeed, to many things in contemporary Russia are surprisingly similar to the Bolshevik times—even Lenin’s own speeches, in which he warns his citizens about the immoral capitalist enemies in the West, are essentially repeated and reiterated nowadays by the government officials. In today’s Russia, communists and priests join forces in order to restrict the freedom of speech and control the morality of their fellow citizens. The history of the country is not an experience to be reflected upon—it’s a brand to be repackaged, distorted and exploited.
All these issues are addressed, exposed, ridiculed and exploded in “Lenin Has Risen,” a new blockbuster song by Ivan Alekseev, aka Noize MC, the most eloquent and socially engaged Russian rapper of our times. It is both a hilarious satire and a thoughtful parable which highlights the power of propaganda and the falsehood of an ideology that claims to liberate people, but instead does everything to put them into submission. It is a blast of rock’n’roll energy packed in biting hip hop bits which simultaneously echoes grunge, political rap and Russian folk songs (for real—they even used accordion!).
Moreover, it is a unique visual experience, too, presented by a renowned director Alexey Terehoff, who previously worked with another post-Soviet political jesters, a Belorussian band Lyapis Trubetskoy. and his creative partners Vitaly Sidoruk and cosmofilm.tv. Using an exquisite technique of Claymation, “Lenin Has Risen,” definitely one of the most bizarre music videos you have ever seen, paints a dystopian and absurd picture of modern society that feeds upon the leftovers of the ideologies of the past, literally consuming the body of Lenin and facing all the consequences of this quasi-religious act. It is a bold and provocative statement about the current state of the Russian society—and what it has been through in the 20th century. What’s even more important, it’s damn entertaining and extremely funny.
“Here’s something that should be clear—he is not back, he was always here,” sings Ivan Alekseev, highlighting a troubling repetitive nature of Russian history. In an interview with MySpace, which exclusively premiered the video, he underscores that the song is not about Lenin himself or the communist ideology: “It’s about how symbols of the past lose their meaning and turn into something they were never supposed to be. It’s about how the political discourse distorts history for its own purposes.” One thing is evident, though: such serious and deep ideas have rarely been expressed in such a boisterous, graphic and daring way. So workers of the world, unite—and, as Lenin once proclaimed, learn, learn and learn again. Amen.