YouTube continues to amaze: with Soviet Music (english subtitles)

YouTube has such an amazing array of videos. This was an interesting look at the Russian Revolution

The video below was shown to me by one of our students. This boy came to our school from Vladivostok, knowing very little English, in year 7. Today he sat his last year 12 exam, history (revolutions). He has worked hard and done very well over the years. He has always loved talking about his native country, and been very proud of many of the things it has achieved. He has a very dry sense of humour and we have had some great discussions over the years. I have been to Russia (when it was still the USSR) myself and seen St. Petersbaerg and Moscow which he has not as yet. (… and he prefers the name Leningrad to St. Petersburg and I don’t think that was completely a joke!)

This is a fascinating clip for its early cinematic footage if nothing else. The video is entitled: Soviet Music – White Army, Black Baron (english subtitles)

“White Army, Black Baron” is a well known Bolshevik song of the Russian Civil War time.

This was one of the first songs of the Red Army, originating from the Civil War. It is about the nature of the White Army and the call to defend the revolution against the troops of the so-called “Black Baron” Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel in 1920.

The music has been composed by Samuil Pokrass, the lyrics are by P. Grigoriev.

The original lyrics featured a mentioning of Leon Trotsky (“Tovarisch Trotsky”). However, with the development of stalinism this was not acceptable anymore, and thus the reference to Trotsky was removed. Trotskyists today, especially Russian trotskyists, sing this song in their own circles with the original lyrics, mostly as a protest against stalinism and to make a statement that trotskyism is the “rightfull heir” of the Russian Revolution and of the Bolshevism-Leninism.

During the 1920s, it was used by German communists with the words of an unknown author “Weißes Gesindel und adlige Brut” (“White riffraff, noble scum”), but the most famous adaptation of this song is certainly the version that was written in 1934 by Fritz Brügel during the February uprising against the Dollfuß regime in Austria: “Wir sind die Arbeiter von Wien” (“We are the workers of Vienna”), also known as “Wir sind das Bauvolk der kommenden Welt” (“We are the building people of the world to come”).

Singer: Ivan Baranov.