Vishnya, a sound director who produced about half the albums of legendary rock group Kino, started experimenting with politicians' voices back in 2000, after hearing a news presenter talking about Putin: I was watching TV, listening to journalist Sergei Dorenko, when he said: “Putin and only Putin.” I thought to myself, “that's rap” and started experimenting with famous people's voice, putting them to music. My first song was called “Putin and Only Putin”, with Dorenko performing as lead singer.
Four years later, Vishnya released an album, “Viagra for Putin”, showcasing all the good and great of Russia’s political glitterati: Putin, Zhirinovsky, Gorbachev, Chubais and Irina Kharmada amongst others. Of the 11 songs on the album, my favourites are ‘Russian Pigs’ (see below) and ‘Who’s Boris Berezovsky?”, feat. V.V. Putin, in which Putin disses the disgraced Russian oligarch, currently residing in London despite repeated Russian requests for extradition.
Russian Pigs, featuring Irina Khakamada and Vladimir Zhirinovsky
Essentially Zhirinovsky talk about 'Russian Pigs' - drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics and disabled people(?) etc., amongst others. To which Khakamada replies: 'Vladimir Volfovich, you are a coward.' The two argue then argue throughout the song, as Zhirinovsky's accusations of who exactly is a Russian Pig become even more all encompassing: all opposition parties, Americans etc.
Vishnya claims to have no real political agenda, calling his political subjects ‘muses’, responsible for inspiring musical creativity rather than political expression. When asked in a recent interview about his attitude to the Putin-Medvedev tandem, he replied: As philosophers say, I experience total objectivity towards these people – they exist outside my consciousness. Towards the Putin-Medvedev tandem, I am also entirely objective… As regards Putin, I have been observing him for a very long time now – even as far back as when he worked for the Communist party in what was Leningrad. However politics really didn’t interest me at all during the 1990s… Then at some point it became impossible to ignore politics any longer The informational field became so multifaceted that the muses from this sphere came themselves to visit me. I’m sure you understand how funny it is to observe them, their laughability and all their ridiculous pre-election debates.
And what do the ‘muses’ feel in relation to puppet-master Vishnya? His videos attract a lot of attention which can come accross as either positive or negative PR. Vishnya related a story to the newspaper Izvestia about how Irina Khamada invited him to Moscow following her starring role in Viagra for Putin. On one of the songs, entitled Techno Woman, she sings, "I met the president and I gave it to him. This isn’t our first year in politics and we’ve been around." To which Putin replies, ‘She’ll no longer be any one’s political toy.’ According to Vishnya, Irina praised the song as ‘funny’ and described him as a ‘talented boy’ (he was 39 at the time!) but when he suggested she collaborate with him on further songs she retorted: “I’m not a little girl – I’m a representative of the state Duma!”
Although he is yet to release another CD, Vishnya remains prolific, regularly posting new videos on his You Tube channel and on a Live Journal blog. His most recent post, which stars President Medvedev singing about the stability of the Russian political system, has already been viewed almost 6000 times. Nevertheless, despite his popularity, the money is not rolling in - his music (including his album) remains a non-commercial project, distributed for free on the internet : "the fanatical project of a man who’s gone crazy for politics."
The album in it's entirety, if anybody is interested.