I have a couple of stories here with a common theme: “There’s no business like show business!” While also riffing on our previous topic, which was the theme of Brother vs Brother. In this case we have the story of some various Russian actors and show-biz personalities, all of them linked together in various degrees of Kevin Bacon; some of whom chose Russia, and others of whom chose Ukraine.
We shall start with this story, the actor’s name is Artur Smolyaninov. He appeared in a war movie called “The Ninth Company” which is set during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. [yalensis disclosure: I have not seen the movie, but I heard it was good.] Smolyaninov portrays a soldier with the call-sign “Lyuty” (“Ferocious”). Also appearing in the film is an Ossetian actor named Soslan Fidarov, who portrays a Soviet Chechen soldier. The movie apparently digs into the complex relationships between the different members of the unit.
Anyhow, between these two actors who appeared together in the movie, one (Fidarov) supports Russia, and the other (Smolyaninov) supports Ukraine. And when I say that he supports Ukraine, that is putting it mildly. It isn’t some anti-war thing like “Well, I think Russia was wrong to invade its neighbor,” or something like that, wherein a well-meaning but naive person could be forgiven his ignorance. No, this is something altogether different. Smol came out with the most extreme statements that one could even imagine, sounding like a deranged Old Testament prophet and even calling for Russia to be nuked down to radioactive ashes! Having fled to Latvia, Smol issued a series of tweets and interviews in which he expressed his burning hatred for Russia and all Russians, called for the country to be nuked (“I don’t care if even one piece of it remains, and everything else turned into radioactive ash”) and announced that, if given the opportunity, he would fight on the side of Ukraine.
Smol’s rant from his safe place of exile, did not go unnoticed. His fellow thespian Soslan Fidarov was quick to respond. In fact, the issue was personal, since Smol had threatened to shoot Fidarov, if the two old colleagues should ever meet again on the field of battle. As it turns out, Fidarov is actually out there, fighting on the side of Russia! Fidarov’s response was both classy and to the point:
“Artur, I am still alive. And all those people who told you that I have been killed, they have deceived you. Now, as to the issue whether you will have the opportunity to shoot me on the field of battle… Artur, you and I both understand that you will never do this. And for one simple reason, because you will never show up on the battlefield.”
Fidarov was more right than he even knew; and the stroke of karma that followed was deliciously swift and satisfying, as we shall see.
This is what happened: A couple of Latvian so-called “activists” called Smolyaninov’s bluff. Seeing the famous actor walking down the street, they came up to him and delivered a fake draft notice into the Ukrainian army. But Artur didn’t know that it was fake. Here is how one of the Latvians described the incident: “At first we just chatted with him. He expressed his opinions. Then we tried to hand him the draft notice, it was a fake, of course, we just wanted to test him. He said he was not a citizen of Ukraine, therefore he could not accept it. We urged him to enlist as a volunteer. He tore up the piece of paper, knocked my friend off his feet, gave me good shove, and then ran away.”
In Happier Days
For our next pairing we have the ineffable singer and show-biz personality Filipp Kirkorov. Who supports Russia. His partner in crime is none other than Voldemar Zelensky himself! Who supports Ukraine, it goes without saying. The two talented performers used to be quite good chums, as one can see from these old photographs. Actors are actors, but there is no dissembling that look of pure bliss on Voldemar’s face, cuddled in the arms of his giant exotic teddy bear. Happier times! Then, sadly, friends became foes. And even sanctioned foes. Yes, President Zelensky recently announced a list of Russian performers subject to economic sanctions, as delivered from his own august hand. This list included Kirkorov.
Stipulation: I don’t exactly understand what it means for Zel to sanction Kirkorov. I mean, does he actually have the power to seize his old friend’s assets or bank accounts? Sanctions themselves are a bit of a mystery to me, in truth I thought only the United States of America, as the world’s Hegemon, was allowed to place anathemas and steal the money of private citizens.
In any case, Kirkorov also chose the high ground in his classy response to Zelensky’s sanctions. Attaching clips of old music videos when the duo used to perform together, Kirkorov wrote: “My old partner from stage and screen, has entered too deeply into the role that was assigned him from those people on the other side of the ocean. They are leading both him, and the nation that was entrusted to him, into the ash heap.”
The one on the left surely looks like the younger Zel, but on the righ? That’s supposed to be Zel too?
Никола́й Ви́кторович Ба́сков?
Hm…. maybe you are right, maybe that’s Baskov. Zel’s chin is not quite as cleft as Baskov’s. Hard to tell, though. That pic didn’t have a caption attached, but the context was the Kirkorov-Zelensky relationship.
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this piece. Of course I hold your writings in high regard at all time. But this one is super delicious :). We need stuffs like this once in a while to alleviate the tediousness of the moment. Wishing you all the best and a Happy New Year in arrears.
Thanks, Steve, I’m glad you enjoyed it. Happy New Year right back at you!
I always try to support what I believe to be justice. You know, the lady being gangbanged by western entities proclaiming to represent me, although I haven’t voted for anyone to do such a thing. War is a monster. It brings out both the best and worst in everyone. One of the reasons I prefer to live in peace. I’m thankful for Russia and all the soldiers that put their lives on the line [estimated casualties ~ 10,000] to stand up to the western bullies and put a halt to this mindless obsession of western hegemony.
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It’s hard to stay classy..but, as the years go by, the best zingers are those that land above the belt. I am not a show biz type, however this was a fun read.
See, I can make a remark without mentioning the 3L… oops..uhm..yeah..never-mind.
Haha, good one!
This is something I’ve been meaning to ask you for a while, Yalensis, but your shobiz post provides an appropriate on-ramp. Have you seen a 2018 movie titled “Donbass” by a director named Sergey Loznitsa? In the Before Times, I used to enjoy going to flicks at the Melbourne International Film Festival. I’d buy a 10-movie pass and gravitate to morbid films with heavy political or social angles, because that’s me. (I would not do that these days because I’m not keen to sit for hours in a big room full of potential plague-breathers.)
Anyway, the situation in Ukraine was never one of my top interests, but the description of this film in the Festival booklet looked intriguing. So I went. (That might have been the same year I caught “Mr. Jones”, the movie about the Holodomor.) “Donbass” was bizarre. It was hard to tell what was meant to be realistic and what was fantasy. Scenes like the one near the start of the film where a fancy-dressed woman at a government function throws pig shit on what appears to be a mayor stick in my mind years later. Lots of graphic stuff! There was so much confusing back-and-forth about the civil war fighting, and it gave me a feel for how mixed-up the neighbour-vs-neighbour conflict must be. I couldn’t tell at the time which political side Loznitsa was coming down on. He seemed to be saying that everyone involved is a corrupt beast. My sensibilities about the war in eastern Ukraine were not as highly developed then as they have become after 24/2/22, so if I re-watched it, I might be more attuned to the undercurrents. Because it was shot in Ukrainian-government-controlled territory, and the actors spoke Ukrainian (it had English subtitles for the audience here) I would assume that it’s more anti-Russian.
Hi, Bukko, No I never saw that movie. I think you are more of an erudite film buff, given that you go to film festivals, I am more of a philistine, I don’t think I have been to any film festival since graduate school. I’ll try to find that movie online though. Based on your description, it sounds like a kreakle thing. But the pig-shit scene actually sounds real, there was a lot of that sort of thing going on in the Ukrainian political scene, especially after 2014. You had this weirdo named Lyashko travelling around with his goon-squad attacking any politicians they deemed to be pro-Russian. Lots of that sort of thing going on.
There is a movie called Militia Girl set in 2015-16 with the girlfriend of a slain DPR Cossack officer joining up and commanding a tank. Not bad except for the fact that nobody ever gets rumpled, dirty and sweat stained in battle. “Come And See” it isn’t.
That’s because Cossacks always iron their underpants.
I wouldn’t say I’m erudite just by virtue of going to movies at an international film festival for a few years. (I AM erudite, but not because of the film thing. And right there, I guess I HAVE said it, so I contradict my ‘I wouldn’t say…’. But I don’t make a big deal of erudition. No point coming across as a wanker!)
I am eternally indebted to the international film fest because one movie that I saw in 2006 changed my entire worldview. It was titled “Crude Awakening” and it was all about Peak Oil. My most recent Xwife, the one who liked to iron, had joined me Downunda after wrapping up selling our S.F. house. But she was depressed and bored. I had a full-time hospital job as per my work visa, but she didn’t want to do anything less skilled than her former code-writing position, and didn’t want to volunteer at any social/political organisation. I encouraged her to do that, but she had decided to hate Oz because it wasn’t San Fran. So she sat home and stewed. (And stewed up some great food — she was an excellent cook!) To keep from going stir-crazy during the cold, dreary month of August, she got a swatch of tickets to the 2006 film fest. We both attended the Peak Oil flick because it seemed interesting.
Wow! (in a bad way) That movie laid it out pretty clearly that our current pattern of civilisation is totally dependent on petroleum. The food we eat is basically oil, when you look at all the inputs needed to grow plants and animals. And so is everything else we touch. But oil fields deplete; we’re not finding any big new ones, and it’s getting harder to suck out what’s left. (The “Energy Returned on Energy Invested” dynamic.) That’s not a kooky environmentalist conspiracy theory, just simple physical reality. If there’s any conspiracy, it’s with the mainstream perception managers who are NOT publicising this. Coz it’s profoundly depressing once you realise it. We Are So FFFFFed…
Anyway, we stopped paying so much attention to political games after that film. They’re a charade. Finance and economics are where it’s at, once one learns to decode the deliberately confusing BS they’re masked with. I remain thankful to the International Film Fest for red-pilling me in that dimension. Plus, since I live smack-bang in the heart of downtown, two of the multi-screen cinemas where festival films are shown are literally down the street from me, just three or four stops away on the tram line that runs past the front of my building. Too easy!
If you can somehow get access to “Donbass” you’d probably find it worthwhile, Y. I keep my film fest ticket stubs and write a mini review on the back of them after each movie, so I can recall the highlights. As well as cutting out the descriptions of the films I attend from the festival’s programme. So much life happens in the meantime that it’s easy to forget. Sadly, the festival no longer uses physical tickets on paper, and the programme is not on newsprint any more. Everything is done on phone screens. Screw that. Too ephemeral.
My “quick take” from four years ago (which I can hold in my hand, after pulling it out of its envelope in a file cabinet — no electricity-dependent techno interface needed) says “the best film so far!” (I had seen 6 out of the 13 flix I had tix for at that point) “So real, even though it’s fiction (and intentionally fake news even within that.)” My ticket stub review reminded me of the scene where a Ukie soldier was tied to a light pole in public and abused by passers-by (which really happens, only the Ukies are doing it) And when a German news reporter was menaced by thuggish troops who MIGHT have been playing when they said the thought he was a Nazi who deserved to be shot, but maybe they weren’t joking. And the poor schmoe whose car was stolen, but when he went to the authoritahs to report it, he found out that THEY took it, and would he object to donating it to the Cause? (Kafkaesquely, he didn’t have a choice, when talking to men who had the guns…)
I couldn’t catch a lot of the undercurrents when I watched it, due to the language barrier and not knowing which side was which. You’d be able to understand the Russian dialogue, and probably lots of the Ukrainian (it’s got both lingos.) For all I know, it could come across as rank propaganda made from the Ukronazis’ perspective. But it was SO real, while simultaneously blurring the line between illusion and reality. It left an impression that resonates all these years later. (It was also cool to re-read my ticket stubs for other films from that year as I was tapping out this comment — “Oh yeah, that movie…”)
That Donbass movie doesn’t sound much like PRO-Ukr propaganda to me, unless they are actually proud of tying people to posts; which is possible, given their appalling attitudes.
As for the “peak oil” movie, I am glad I didn’t see it, it would drive me into depression. I say I am a red-pill kind of person, but I am actually not. Like Blanche DuBois, I prefer to live my life in a kind of haze of noble illusions and happy thoughts…. lalalala….
I’ve watched 9th Company. Forgettable standard war movie complete with the obligatory boot camp tyrant sergeant with the heart of gold. And it turned what in real life was a significant Soviet victory – the defeat of hundreds of Mujahideen with almost no Red Army losses – into a Pyrrhic bloodbath with only one survivor.