"You can express yourself from here, and you can continue to write songs"

Since the beginning of the repression in 2020,

Levon Volsky

went to concerts in Lithuania and Poland, but returned to Belarus.

And he finally left with his wife and producer Yana Volska in the summer of 2021.

"We came to Warsaw for a concert, went to the sea, visited friends, hotels, everything was in our trunk," Leon smiles.

- Then there were some more concerts.

And then the repressions against the musicians began, and we thought that maybe we should postpone our departure to Belarus for a couple of months.

Well, musical and artistic life in Belarus has shrunk to such a size that it is difficult to explain.

And just sitting there and protesting that you are not leaving was, in my opinion, pointless."

Life after moving to Poland has not changed much, says Leon.

"The day passes like in Minsk.

We just live, play, write songs, post materials on social networks, go for walks, go to hypermarkets, to the park.

It's all the same, just a calmer background.

I thought that I was just on a long tour, but all these Belarusian problems dragged on and were further complicated by the war and participation in it."

Previously, Levon had to live abroad for a couple of months or more, so he does not feel tragic about the current move.

"Heroically protesting in Minsk all my life, being on the "black list", playing underground concerts, walking with a guitar near some restaurant and coming in to play - it's all fun, it's great, but if it all stretches out for ten years, then it's withering, to which it's hard to get used to it, and there's no point in it.

You can express yourself from here on social networks, and you can continue to write songs.

What they say, they say, separated from the homeland, is not spelled like that, I had this before in 1995, when I was in France for several months.

Indeed, there were some pieces of songs that were not like that.

But now it's not the same situation, now it's much closer."

The context of emigration will certainly somehow change creativity, says Levon.

The music recognizes that there will be some special themes that are provoked by being in Europe or the United States.

"But one way or another, everything changes, everything affects themes, creativity, songs, prose, visual arts.

And if I were in Minsk, everything would change too."

"These aggressors have little chance"

Music says that it is much easier to remain optimistic abroad than in Belarus.

"There you sit at home and wait for them to come for you at last.

And they still don't come, and you think: "Well, I wish they had already come!"

I've already had enough of this expectation."

They should come, I am not silent on Facebook, and people are imprisoned for one like.

I also had optimism in Belarus, although there you are always on your nerves."

Levon Volsky does not believe that the methods used by the Belarusian government to establish stability can be sustained for a long time.

"It cannot stretch for decades in any case.

Now everything is burdened by this war and everything depends, of course, on the course of hostilities.

But all the same, Russia is hopelessly stuck and Lukashenka's help did not solve anything in particular in this situation.

So, I think, these aggressors have little chance.

Unless it will follow a completely absurd scenario, with nuclear weapons.

But then it doesn't matter where you are."

Volsky did not have extensive contacts with Ukraine, the last time concerts were played there sometime in 2006, says Levon.

At the same time, the musician continues to communicate with some creators.

"There is a band called "Bez gebirgen", for them I translated a verse of the song "Zhyve Belarus", which they did in support of Belarusians.

After the start of the war and the participation of Belarus (in the Russian invasion. — RS), they broke off all relations, but it was only them.

Siarhei Zhadan came here, we met, we performed "I am a rock musician" together, everything went perfectly.

Everything is fine, we talked, he invites us to Lviv."

"There were constant problems with concerts in Belarus"

Young talented performers remain inside the country, but Liavon notes that Belarusian musicians abroad now have a better concert schedule than they had in Belarus.

"It's sad, but it's a fact.

There was always something in the way, there were aunts with "nest" hairstyles, some kind of "zampred" of something who would say: "What is this?!"

Hairy, bald people will come here, and they will swear from the stage!

Have you lost your mind, haven't you?" And there were always some problems with concerts in Belarus, starting sometime in 1995, when there was the first ban on the participation of rock musicians in the "Mighty God" festival.

And since 2004, it was just constant."

There is no ideological pressure abroad: you either organize a concert or you don't, Leon admits.

"In Belarus, when we did a tour with the band VOLSKI after the break, we saw that the people had grown weaned from the format itself, the entire schedule of concerts was full of stars from Russia.

And they don't show us on television, they don't broadcast on radio, they don't write about us in newspapers, in "Soviet Belarus", except that we are "enemies of the people".

It turned out that if there are 300 people at a concert in Belarus, it's super, very cool.

And if it's 500 in Hrodna, it's just a terrible victory."

Will musicians return to Belarus when it becomes democratic?

According to Levon Volsky, most of the musicians will return to Belarus.

"Especially those who write music, work with language.

It seems to me that the place is still there.

But where does the doctor go back?

If he remembers how it was in Belarus: he had to fill out piles of papers, pressured by some chief doctor, politician and all together.

Of course, a person leaves with his family, then a year, two, three, five years later, he thinks: "What, I'm going to go to all this again?!" Because as long as we go through this shock therapy from scratch, everything will start to go back to normal. , there must be some time for that too."

"There remained performers at the level of village self-employment"

The musician believes that it will be possible to break away from the Russian context, if Belarus becomes democratic, very soon.

Assuming all goes well with the economy.

"If there is any help from Europe, an economic scheme.

It's not like the tricks of the state government: I'll take it from this one, I won't give it to that one, I'll steal it there.

The usual collective farm-state farm variant, all very cunning fools.

Show business in Belarus artificially became state-owned, and if you're not in the loop, that's all.

How fragile it all was, that in one season it all fell apart and there remained performers at the level of village self-employment.

The "black list" expanded to include all musicians who were actually in Belarus, except for a couple of freaks who don't know anything.

But now they are the "Song of the Year of Belarus", because there is nothing to choose from."

"Our paths have been going in different directions for a long time"

In 2020, Levon Volsky together with NRM performed the legendary song "Three Turtles".

It was a special event to show that there can be integration, says the musician.

Levon categorically denies the possibility of reuniting with NRM for the sake of a concert.

"Now it makes no sense at all.

I absolutely do not think about it.

Our paths have been going in different directions for a long time, for me these are absolutely not close people.

When I listen to what they write about, it's foreign to me."

"Almost all celebrities come from Belarus"

Levon is currently working on a new album, as well as the second season of the series in the genre of historical mockumentary (pseudo-documentary film. — RS) "Belarusian trail".

"The wife suggested what can be done about the Belarusian origin.

And here we somehow sat down, thought, Napoleon Bonaparte got there first.

Of course, he is Belarusian, - laughs Leon.

"At the moment, it is a very promising activity to tell people that practically all world celebrities come from Belarus."

Leon emphasizes that the second season will be entirely about women.

"We got such gender fascism that there were not a single woman, and ten issues about men.

We thought that it was some kind of nightmare, although no one pointed it out to us, did not write, which is strange.

And now the second season will be entirely about women, our famous Belarusians there."

On March 24, a concert by Levon Volsky will take place in Vilnius, on the preparation of which the musician is now completely focused.

"There will be quite a varied program, a repertoire of absolutely different years, different projects.

There will be invited guests, I can definitely say only about Pavel Arakelyan, he will play a few songs with us, let's get back to the old ways.

There will be another very famous, successful and serious Lithuanian performer."

Levon Volsky is convinced that Belarus will have a brilliant future when adequate people will be in power and normal economists will plan the life of the country.

"At the beginning, everything was better here than in Poland in the late 80s.

Then I witnessed how everything went in Poland and how it is here.

There is only one model that can be used: that there should be no "little Soviet Union" in the middle, because as soon as there is such a thing, everything will fall apart.

There is only one way - this is shock therapy, to survive for three years - and then everything goes normally."