Meaning of the song Russians – Sting

Relations between the USSR and the USA in the first half of the eighties remained extremely tense. The threat of nuclear war had not yet passed, and even in the early years of Mikhail Gorbachev’s rule, high-profile diplomatic rows broke out between the two superpowers. Both sides carried out active propaganda, presenting ideological opponents as almost the sources of all evil on the planet.

Great Britain supported the United States. Therefore, it is not surprising that in such an environment, the composition Russians by the Englishman Sting was born, containing a line that is offensive to Russians: “I hope Russians also love their children.” But we will return to this phrase and how Gordon Sumner explained it many years later, but first we will remember how Russians was written, and we will analyze other interesting passages from the text.

The history of creation and the meaning of the song Russians – Sting

In March 1984, The Police, of which Sting was a member, disbanded. His first solo album was The Dream of the Blue Turtles. One of the songs on the record was Russians, in which Sting expressed his attitude to the situation in the world. He made it clear that he did not trust politicians and expressed hope that a peaceful way out of the situation would be found.

Russians mentions Nikita Khrushchev with his historic promise to “bury” rivals, Ronald Reagan, who in a famous speech tried to convince the American people that they were under protection, and “Oppenheimer’s death toy”, meaning a nuclear bomb.

By the time Russians was written, Khrushchev had long since ceased to be General Secretary, but apparently the outrageous performances of the outrageous Soviet leader with a shoe in his hand and fiery threats against the capitalist world forever made him the number one enemy in the Western world in the Cold War.

The song also alludes to the famous phrase “winnable nuclear war” by Richard Pipe, Reagan’s adviser. Sting calls his words a lie and says: “There is no war that can be won.”

The history of the Russians song began, according to the author, with watching Soviet TV programs in the apartment of his New York friend, who had the necessary equipment. They convinced Sting that Russians are just as human as Americans (“we are biologically the same”).

Another reason for creating the composition was the question of his son about whether there is a bomb that can blow up the whole world. Sting was forced to tell the truth and saw genuine horror in the eyes of a child.

Clip Russians Sting

Let’s watch the video clip of the Russians – Sting.

What does Sting think about the song Russians?

In 1994, when the Cold War after the collapse of the USSR remained in the past, Sting spoke of his creation as follows:

Russians is a song that is easy to mock, a very sincere song. But at the time it was written—at the height of the paranoid Reagan-Rambo period when Russians were seen as gray humanoid robots that could only blow up—it seemed important.

Not only Sting found the song important. Russians successfully charted in many countries, achieving the greatest success in France (second place in the charts and “gold” status.

In 2010, Sting gave an extensive interview to Vladimir Pozner. Of course, the composition Russians was touched upon in the conversation. The musician called the suggestion that Russians might not love their children nonsense, and said that he never performed the song without explaining in what historical context it was written.

Next is the Russians music video featuring Sting’s performance in Moscow.

Interesting Facts

  • At the beginning of the song, the voice of the Soviet announcer Igor Kirillov is heard (an excerpt from the Vremya program) and a radio conversation between cosmonaut Alexei Leonov and astronaut Tom Stafford before the Soyuz and Apollo docking.
  • Sting borrowed the melody Russians from Sergei Prokofiev (suite “Lieutenant Kizhe”).
  • In 1986, Sting performed Russians at the Grammy Awards.

Russian Lyrics

Europe and America
There’s a growing feeling of hysteria
Conditioned to respond to all the threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Khrushchev said we will bury you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
It would be such an ignorant thing to do
If the Russians love their children too

How can I save my little boy
From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
There is no monopoly of common sense
On either side of the political fence
We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

There is no historical precedent
To put words in the mouth of the President
There’s no such thing as a winnable war
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says we will protect you
I don’t subscribe to this point of view
Believe me when I say to you
I hope the Russians love their children too

We share the same biology
Regardless of ideology
What might save us, me and you
Is if the Russians love their children too

Russians Lyrics – Sting

In Europe and America
A feeling of hysteria grows
Arising in response to threats
In the rhetorical speeches of the Soviets
Mr. Khrushchev said: “We will bury you”
I do not share this point of view
It would be so stupid to do
If Russians also love their children

How can I save my baby
From Oppenheimer’s deadly toy
Common sense does not triumph
Not on either side of the political barrier
Biologically we are the same
Regardless of ideology
Believe my words
I hope Russians love their children too

There was no precedent in history
To impose some words on the President
There is no such thing as a war that can be won
It’s a lie we don’t believe anymore
Mr. Reagan says “We’ll protect you”
Believe my words
I hope Russians love their children too

Biologically we are the same
Regardless of ideology
We – you and I – can only be saved if
That Russians also love their children

Song quote

The idea that Russians don’t love their children is nonsense. This became the basis of détente, the fact that we did not destroy each other.

Sting

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