Russian Band Clashes with Officials Over Video Promoting Alleged “Propaganda of Alcohol Abuse”


No doubt in an effort to defend its glowing image as a domain of free speech and forward-thinking creativity, Russian officials are calling for the censorship of ska-punk band Leningrad’s new video for their song, “To Drink In St. Pete.”

The video features an office worker, a grocery store clerk, a traffic cop, a taxi driver and a tour guide who all quit their jobs and roam the streets drinking vodka. (Think like a boozier The Village People.)

One opponent, St. Petersburg legislative assembly member Yevgeny Marchenko, said the lyrics contained “propaganda of alcohol abuse.” You might also know Marchenko as the lawmaker who is seeking to ban Russians from vacationing in Egypt, Thailand, and Turkey.

“I want [frontman Sergey] Shnurov punished and banned,” Marchenko said of the band (according to Capelino). “Prohibited by law to swear.”

The band, which has 14 members total and is nearly 20 years old, is unlikely to back down. In fact, this stuff is kinda their thing: Shnurov has said “our songs are just about the good sides of life, vodka and girls that is.” In 2003, they so attracted the ire of then-mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov, that he shut down all of their large-scale events in the city. They also have a song, “Nikogo Ne Zhalko” featured in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Come on, people, how can Russia endorse the depiction of some drunk-looking unemployed guy traipsing around St. Petersburg?

Marchenko might also take a page from Pushkin, who is mentioned in the video:

“Let us drink, dearest friend To my poor wasted youth.”

Watch the video below: