Heavy Metal History: ANJ – Gorbachev

Posted: December 3, 2013 in History, Music, Politics
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Believe it or not I am hugely into metal and have been for years. This post is going to give you a little bit of Heavy Metal History, history and metal in one united form.

From ANJ‘s album With Honor To Live, the song Mikhail Gorbachev tells the story of the former leader of the Soviet Union who presided over its conversion from communism to capitalism. The music video artistically depicts the fall of the Soviet Union in quite possibly the most hilarious manner possible, while still being (generally) historically accurate.

It depicts the process of reconstruction, which Gorbachev called perestroika (literally ‘restructuring’), he unveiled his restructuring plans at the 1986 XXYIIth Party Congress. The plans remained little more than loose sketches and Gorbachev never finished filling in the gaps later. The goal of perestroika was to confront the intense economic stagnation that the USSR was experiencing in the 1980s.

It also accurately shows the change from Stalin’s harsh totalitarianism to Gorbachev’s much friendlier and open world of glasnot, or openness. In 1988, Gorbachev introduced the other half of his reform strategy which included giving more rights to the people and the press. These rights included greater freedom of speech, more press freedoms, and the release of thousands of political prisoners. The goal of glasnot was to pressure conservatives in the Communist Party to support his policies of perestroika. While glasnot did open up his opponents to political criticism it also allowed much greater critique of Gorbachevs (arguably) poor handling of the situation.

The Stalin zombies depicted in the music video may be symbolic of the specter of Stalinism coming back from the grave, only to be lasered, axed, and annihilated by the powers of Super-Gorby. There were and still are some in Russia who would like to go back to the old days, many still admire Stalin despite his many atrocities. Super Gorbachev won’t be stopped on his path to capitalism, he even makes it rain Twinkies and Coke.

In case you were curious about the rest of the album it’s all pretty mediocre, nothing to write home about. It isn’t bad but not something I listen to regularly. Apparently iTunes felt the same way and has removed the album from sale since I bought it back in 2009.


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