Born in Galicia, Andriy Kuzmenko did not delve too deeply into politics – pleading ignorance of it. And after playing concerts to support Yanukovych back during the 2004 Orange Revolution, he felt he had had enough. But once the “anti-terror operation” and the “war with Russia” began he offered his support, and his concerts helped the war hawks rally the public for mobilization. He was a member of the circle of Kiev intellectuals who created negative stereotype of the Donbass and Lugansk. Along with poets, writers, and journalists, he urged that heavy artillery be used against eastern Ukraine, already battered by civil war.
But a year later, as thousands of office managers in Kiev were still chanting their mantra of “Kill the Donbass! Kill the Moscovites!” there were some who found the courage to take a new look at what was happening. And one of them was Kuzma Skryabin.
His last interview – granted four days before his death in the depressing city of Kremenchug – had the effect of a cold shower on some, while others saw it as a revelation or an act of repentance.
“They’re firing their guns, just firing their guns off somewhere … Innocent people are dying and no one has a clue what’s going on. Why the hell – excuse me – have so many people died? I just don’t get it. I wrote A Letter to the Presidents (his last song, watch exclusive videoclip below – OR). It’ll be included in the new album. Not a single president of Ukraine and none of the deputies that have served in Kiev – all of them busy wearing out the seats of their pants and stealing our money – but none of them have put an ounce of effort into stopping this war.”
His last words were like a slap in the face of not only the Maidan activists (“They just punched us in the head” and “Any revolution means destruction”), but also of all of Ukrainian society.
Skryabin was talking about the complete deception, the lie that has corroded away the government like rust. “There’s no truth in what’s being broadcast today. People’s batteries are going dead and we don’t understand what’s happening.”
No, his views on the war did not change, but he was able to think and act independently right up to the final days of his exceptional life. The intellectual leap that this musician was able to make before his death is something that not a single Ukrainian broadcaster, politician, or other musician has yet been able to replicate.
We can’t know whether the government in Kiev will be able to take in Andriy Kuzmenko’s last words:
“I don’t understand what’s going on there, but I do know that it would be better for parents to have died rather than have had to see the graves of their children who were killed during this war … Right now there are more reasons for protesting on Maidan than there were during Yanukovych’s time. So many of the Heavenly Hundred have already died. It seems to me that the Heavenly Hundred are dying every day … I think this war will end badly for Poroshenko as well. No one should be doing the things they’re doing.”
Source in Russian: Odna Rodyna
Adapted and translated by ORIENTAL REVIEW.