At the Yeltsin Center: Kino, Viktor Tsoi, and Joanna Stingray

Joanna Stingray’s book launch in October 2019 was at the Yeltsin Center in Yekaterinburg, where she and the translator of her book, Alex Kan, were given a private showing of the museum. To her surprise, she found herself enshrined on the walls: she is pictured with Kino band members Viktor Tsoi, her first husband Yuri Kasparyan, and rock historian Artemy Troitsky, as well as one of her posters from the 1990s. To boot, one of the photos of Viktor is of him singing at the wedding for Joanna and Yuri, Kino guitarist.

On one wall are Viktor’s poignant lyrics from the energetic Kino song “Peremen” (“Change”), adopted since the 1990s for many protests and rallies across Eastern Europe (heard in Belarus even in August 2020 protesting the rigged election). The Yeltsin Center gives credit to the song for helping dismantle the U.S.S.R.

Left to right: singer and producer Joanna Stingray, music critic Artemy Troitsky, front man of the group Kino Viktor Tsoi, and Kino’s lead guitarist Yuri Kasparyan, 1987. Archive of Artemy Troitsky. In 1988, after the release of the film “Igla” (“The Needle”), Viktor Tsoi and of the album “Gruppa krovi” (“Blood Type”) Viktor Tsoi became an icon of Soviet rock music.

The backdrop to the lower photos is a piece of the Berlin Wall!