I guess it really shouldn’t come as any surprise that back during the days of the Iron Curtain, the eyes and ears of the Soviet regime were fixed intently on its troubadours. Fontanka.ru recently released four photos made public domain from the KGB coffers.
"The officers, the site claimed, served in the 5th department of the KGB in charge of ‘counterintelligence work to fight ideological sabotage.’ The department was responsible for the persecution of dissidents, many of whom were imprisoned for ‘anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.’"
The article goes on to say that there are plenty more photographs where that came from, as the KGB had been monitoring the activities of artists of particular note for quite some time.
Pictured above is the legendary rock band, Kino, led by Viktor Tsoi (second from the left), who was one of the KGB’s persons of interest as was one Sergei Firsov. On the back of Sergei’s photo, a KGB officer had scribbled some brief notes:
“Smokes, distributes recordings, trafficking in goods bought from foreigners.”
I’m just going to assume ‘recordings’ were old cassette mix tapes, Generation Xer’s moms and dads used to make for each other. Imagine getting busted by some secret agents for listening to some sappy mixtape a friend gave to you. It would be like an extreme act of intervention I suppose.
At any rate, the surveillance only proved that these rock types with their teenage angst and rebel without a care flair were not worth sparing the rod. Soon thereafter, the Soviet Union dissolved any ways, making these profiling photographs that much more pointless.
Today; however, there still appears to be a close eye fixed upon pop artists as the Russian government keeps a tight lid on what it deems “extremism.” Controversial music critic, Artyom Troitsky, can vouch for this.