Iurii Shevchuk (DDT) is besides Mikhail Borzykin (Televizor) known for being one of the more outspoken musicians within the russkii rok tradition. Following the presidential elections 2008 he has also performed at the Marsh nesoglasnykh and has been featured on the compilations “Muzyka NEsoglasnykh 1 and 2”.
On the first compilation the song “Kogda zakonchitsia neft'” is included which second verse starts with:
Kogda zakonchitsia neft’, (When the oil stops,)
Nash prezident umret! (Our president dies!)
I mir stanet nemnogo pechal’nei (And the world becomes a little mournful,)
A slezami grenlandskii led. (And the tears ice in Greenland)
In other words, slightly critical to the current government…
Now have a listen to what happens during a live performance shown on the Russian state television channel “Kul’tura” on May 20th 2007 (the second verse starts at about 0:40):
The president’s death is replaced by a horn riff while the camera shows the audience singing along (keeping the camera focused on Shevchuk singing would have made it even more obvious that the lyrics were bleeped out).
The fact that the lyrics were cut out is in itself not so interesting (there have been numerous efforts to silence critical musicians – mainly indirectly by e.g. pressuring concert venues, the musicians themselves or through fire hazard laws). What is interesting is the way it has been executed here – keeping the job quite obvious for people who know the song and/or who are critical watchers. Furthermore, the changes are obvious for anybody interested in music since the riff quite clearly breaks from the conventions for a rock/pop-song making neither poetic nor musically sense in the second line of the second verse. On the other hand, those who know the song and/or notice this discrepancy are probably not the target group of the censoring anyway…
[updated 26.02.2008 at 16:51 adding the television channel and date the DDT clip was aired]