Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi (21.06.1962 – 15.08.1990)

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi (21.06.1962 – 15.08.1990) was founder and leader of an iconic Soviet post-punk band “Kino”. He is regarded as one of the pioneers of Russian rock and has many devoted fans across the countries of the former Soviet Union even today. Viktor Robertovich Tsoy was a charismatic leader, songwriter, singer, guitarist, actor, “last hero” of the golden age of Russian rock. Kino’s impact on Soviet music and society was immense. The death of Viktor Tsoi aroused many conspiracy theories of it, but none of it was ever proved. Public outcry was so strong that some fans committed suicide. Thousands of people came to the funeral. For the whole generation Victor Tsoi became a symbol of protest. Till now his fans write on walls “Tsoi zhiv” (Tsoi is alive) showing that his neither he nor his creativity are forgotten.

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Tsoy was born in Leningrad, Soviet Union. He was the only child of Valentina Vasilyevna Tsoy, a Russian schoolteacher, and Robert Maximovich Tsoy, a Soviet Korean (Koryo-saram) engineer. He began writing songs at 17. Many heroes in his songs were young men trying to survive in a tough world.

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

At 18, Tsoy was expelled from the Serov Artistic Academy. The reason for the expulsion was “poor grades” but it didn’t help that he was heavily involved in the rock scene. By this time Tsoy had began to perform the songs he wrote at parties. During one of these performances he was noticed by Boris Grebenshchikov, a member of the established rock group “Aquarium.” Grebenshchikov took Tsoy under his wing and helped him start up his own band. Leningrad’s Rock Club, the only club in the USSR where rock bands were allowed to play. It was at the club’s First Annual Rock Concert that Viktor Tsoy made his stage debut. He played solo but with the support of two Aquarium members. Tsoy’s innovative lyrics and music impressed the crowd.

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Early in the morning of August 15th, on the way back from a fishing trip, Tsoy crashed when he lost control of his car and slammed into a bus outside Riga, Latvia. The car was completely demolished to a point where one of its tires was never found. Tsoy had actually wanted to take his son, Aleksandr with him on the trip, but fortunately, Aleksandr did not go.

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

On August 17th, Komsomolskaya Pravda, one of the most read Soviet newspapers, had this to say about Tsoy and his meaning to the youth of the nation: “Tsoy means more to the young people of our nation than any politician, celebrity or writer. This is because Tsoy never lied and never sold out. He was and remains himself. Tsoy is the only rocker whose image is no different than his real life, he lived the way he sang… Tsoy is the last hero of rock.”

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Wolves howl, and dogs bark,
A fist is clenched till it hurts,
Blood’s throbbing like a bird in my veins,
Faith, Hope, and Love.
Thousands of hands are voting “Yea!”,
And our flag is flying high.
There’s the dark blue sky, and the circle of the sun,
Everything’s in place, but something isn’t right.

In the sky above us, there’s a star shining,
No one except for her can help us,
In the dark, dark night…

Night has come, bringing with it a thunderstorm,
Sad rain and wind like a joker,
Our hands are in our pockets, our eyes looking down,
And we’ve got to hold our tongues.
Sorrow’s gnawing at me,
She’s my true girlfriend.
Drink and enjoy yourself, sing and dance,
I’m with you for now…

In the sky above us, there’s a star shining,
No one except for her can help us,
In the dark, dark night…

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi was the frontman of the band Kino, popular on the underground scene in the Russia during the early 80s and then throughout the USSR (and the world) once glasnost loosened the cultural restrictions. Of mixed Korean and Russian descent and none too rich growing up, Tsoi wrote songs that spoke to the downtrodden and disillusioned youth of his day. This song, “Changes”, has the chorus:

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Changes! Our hearts demand them.
Changes! Our eyes demand them.
In our laughter and our tears,
And the pulse in our veins,
“Changes! We’re waiting for changes.”

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Viktor Tsoi and his band Kino

Portrait of John Kennedy by Viktor Tsoi

Portrait of John Kennedy by Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Stamp - Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Stamp – Russian rock-musician Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi (June 1962 – 15 August 1990)

Viktor Tsoi (June 1962 – 15 August 1990)

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