My war. Stas Korolov: Tear everything russian out of myself

Stas Koroliov is a singer and musician originally from Avdiivka, a former member of the YUKO duet.

He talked about the principled decision not to leave the capital, a large-scale reassessment of values, and why it is especially important to do music now.

The video shows only part of Stas Koroliov’s thoughts about the war and the future of Ukraine. Read them in full below.

Hero: Stas Koroliov | Editing: Anton Shtuka | Producer:Maksym Serdiuk

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I don’t know how to talk about myself now. But I know that victory is ours. I know that now is the moment when we finally bite off the umbilical cord with blood, which russia sewed to us for centuries.

This is the point of no return to the hostile thesis about the “brother nations.” There is no longer a thesis about “everything is not so clear” or “what’s the difference.” There is no longer even a myth about “good russians” and their criminal authorities.

This is not Putin’s war. This is russia’s war with Ukraine, which instantly became the Ukrainian Patriotic War. This is the second round of the Revolution of Dignity – the War of Dignity. No longer against pro-Russian authorities, but against Russia itself. This is a “Get the hell out of us” war. This is a “Fuck off already” war.

After the victory, we will reach a new level of national self-awareness. To a new level of civil society. There is no longer an inferiority complex – we see what we are worth. And there will no longer be “it’s not my business” situations because the war shows that we – from the janitor to the President – are together. It’s scary to die. It is even more terrible to die in agony. It was goddamn “lucky” to be born Ukrainian. I am happy that I was born Ukrainian.

About the first days

I remember very well how for the first 20 minutes of that morning I was completely calm, thinking about how to share my condition with my wife and all the people. I wrote on all social networks, “Don’t panic. Cold head” and called several close people.

And then I got overwhelmed with strong anxiety, to the point of worsening my physiological condition, and it did not let go for a very long time. I started collecting water in all available capacities, made the first attempt to withdraw cash (unsuccessfully), and then Nastia Vesna, my wife, and I went to Auchan to get a carrier for our cat Oxy. By the way, my wife, on the contrary, panicked for the first twenty minutes, and then switch to some steel mode. I’m proud of her.

About what he was doing

During all this time, she and I spent one night in the subway (we didn’t like it), put the bomb shelter in the house in order, made a big rearrangement in the apartment, taped the windows with our own merch black tape and hung them for light masking, arranged a sleeping place for ourselves in the corridor behind three walls and started getting used to the new life little by little. We decided that we will not go anywhere. We are staying and will try to be useful here. I am partially conscript, so when my turn comes, I will defend Kyiv.

At first, we started doing everything at once: delivered food and warm things to Territorial Defense and to the warehouses, blocked enemy’s channels, bought and delivered food, cat food, medicine to the elderly, made a house chat to be in touch with everyone who stayed. Transferred the entire proceeds from the concert tickets to the AFU. Subsequently, we focused on coordinating those who want to donate or help in some other way with those who need this help.

About emotions and experiences

Emotionally, it is a very interesting time. Throws from boundless pride for our people to numbness. On the fourth day of the invasion, I lay on the floor for seven hours unable to shake off the thoughts of life under occupation. One day at night we heard a very, very loud crash. And almost immediately we heard – someone was flushing the toilet. For some reason, it was very funny.

A person adapts over time. It’s scary how normal the explosions seem now. And it’s even scarier to realize that I look with pleasure at the photos of the murdered occupiers. What a time to be alive!

About music and its future

After another wave of demoralization, I tried to turn on music for a therapeutic effect. The music I’ve been working on lately. And it very well returned me to some kinda “working” state. Since then, I have been returning to composing step by step. Took my instruments from the rehearsal studio. I rearranged everything so that I could sit at the table, and put a keyboard on the rack. And now I write music for several hours a day.

It is very important to break away from doom scrolling. And making music makes me feel alive.

In 2013, I got hepatitis B. I had a real chance of dying. And then I realized that I wanted to be like Freddie Mercury – to do music until the end. Today, one must defend one’s country to the last and/or do everything necessary to win. And in my free time, I will be creative and sublimate everything that I am experiencing now into music. This is me documenting the war. My pure sublimation. No missionary aspirations.

Ukraine is currently on the crest of an information wave. The world will be interested in Ukrainian culture for some time to come. We have already presented ourselves well in the political and military sphere. We have to express ourselves no less worthy in art. In difficult, crisis times, not only national identity is forged, but also art is created that reflects the times and has a chance to remain in world history.

I am waiting for a new wave of Ukrainian music. Instead of those who create a simulacrum, ephemeral “coloring songs,” in which you can see what you want, those who really have something to say will appear and are already appearing. Instead of those who just really want to be artists, there will be those who feel the need to be artists and talk to the audience.

About the future

First – victory. First, bite off the Russian umbilical cord to the end. Throw off the sweet pedophilic embrace of the “elder brother” who gaslights and abuses us. And not just to give him a beating, but to make him a cripple, an exile. To ward him off thinking that he might still have something to do with us.

Do everything so that the thought of Ukraine scares this pervert. The obvious must be said, “russia is a terrorist country.” Failed state. Russian warship, fuck off! Glory to Ukraine!

Translator: Danylo Zhyrko

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