This article was prompted by the further rising of tensions within the Donbass region regarding Ukrainian and Russian forces. Both nations remain steadfast in their obstiance despite both sides stating their 'desire' for peaceful resolutions. More can be read here about the now 7+ year-long fight for ideological freedom on one end and the preservation of chauvinist pride on the other. As Husky often says, make up your own mind and think freely.
Keep reading and enjoy!
In a 2017 interview with GQ Russia, Husky was asked ‘What is impossible for you?’ Instead of inspirational banalities, Dima chose a high-octane answer which would add fuel to a career-long, paradoxical conflagration built out of the dichotomous ideologies of the mortal with the fragmented face made of a thousand pieces [a purposeful rearticulation of the notable novel by Joseph Campbell]. He would state, “Splitting my country into some parts, into independent or semi-independent banana republics, is impossible for me.” Hence, this overtly jingoistic admittance of his [disputed] nationalistic allegiances can be seen as the more conservative side of the philosophical elegist, despite all his protestations at the conventionalized, political dichotomies of left and right, certainly does have concertized beliefs on many key issues. However, this contradictory constitution is rationalized by the rapper as being the embodiment of his autonomous disposition, choosing to believe what he wants and in the manner he see’s fit, “Since I am a creative person, I even perceive politics through the artistic system...I feel something, that’s all” [The Village, 2016].
[PC: Donetsk News Agency]
But the heart of the matter surrounds his controversial views on the acidic state of Ukrainian/Russian relations, in particular Russia’s ongoing, expansionist pursuits in the Donetsk/Donbass regions, as well as the 2014 Crimean annexation which the rapper outright champions on the position that the area never truly belonged to Ukraine and was distributed to them in the wake of the Soviet Union’s dissolution. Prepare for a bitter pill. As uncomfortable as this belief may sound, what is revealed through a preliminary investigation into Crimea’s history shows that Dima is indeed correct in his gauche statement, however there is substantial nuance as Russia only became a player in the game of ‘Who owns Crimea’ in the late 18th-century at the behest of Catherine the Great. Unfortunately, following suit was a three-year fight for ownership between French and Russian forces, quickly triggering massive instability and the eventual destruction of any inclination of self-agency once thought possible for Catherine’s Taurida Oblast, or as it was known to the agrarian-based Taurians, one of two autochthonous tribes to the small Peninsula, Taurica.
Current relations between western-focused Ukraine and isolationist Russia have grown only more tenuous, despite the presence of a bilateral push to end the gruesome border dispute, the ‘solution’ taking the form of a 12-point ceasefire agreement called the ‘Minks Protocols,’ originally created in 2014 but substantially amended in 2015 [Minsk II] due to both side’s inability to abide by the preset regulations. Currently, it is speculated that more than 13,000 lives have been lost since the conflict’s inception in 2014, with over 70 additional casualties since January of 2021. More can be read here about the legitimate potentiality for war between these two nations, but it’s safe to assume that a break in tensions is no longer a tangible option. Reporting done by The Moscow Times indicated that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy had travelled to visit the eastern frontline, a.k.a the Donbass/Donetsk region, following Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel’s plea for Putin to cease militaristic engagements in the area.
[PC: Modern Diplomacy]
However, Russia’s Presidential circle has rallied behind the obstinate excuse that their actions are not bothering anyone and therefore, they should be left well enough alone, that the troop’s movements were‘not threatening anyone.’ So, while I argue it is to be believed that neither Ukraine, with its reactionary aggression and ever hopeful demeanour towards NATO acceptance, nor Russia, with its contradictory anti-Western ‘Westernism’ and unceasing attempts to bring back its Soviet glory, want a bloody conflict to ensue, it must be said neither nation is making it easy to relieve these tensions. Russia, for example, stating that they ‘will not remain indifferent’ and is actively engaged in ‘every possible effort to help.’ So while Russia stresses that Crimea is theirs and Ukraine counters with their de-annexation vigor, I remain steadfast in my view that Crimea was not Putin’s to annex nor was it Catherine’s to wield. However, not all people agree including the rapper Husky, whose very particularized views seemingly suggest a Nationalistic vein, despite his public protestations and rejection of such dichotomous identities [The Village].
Perhaps the most damning of all evidence to suggest that Husky’s pro-Russian, Conservative sympathies run deeper than what he lets on can be found within the year that the Ukrainian/Russian conflict began and Husky’s relationship with the Bolshevik Party member and founder of the right-wing, jingoist party For Truth, Zakhar Prilepin, officially began. In 2014, while still enrolled in Moscow State University as a Journalist-faculty student, he had made the choice to travel down to Donbass to witness the armed conflict for himself, stating that he wanted to make his own judgements not connected to the Russian state narrative, “I took a vacation from work [ employed at Russia-1] and went to sort it out for myself. I took the camera and drove” [GQ, 2017]. He claimed that he simply went as a NPC [non-playable character], armed with only a camera for capturing photos and a mind ready to digest what he saw through no other filter than his own two eyes, signalling the presence of a total, ideologically clean slate ready to be filled in with opinions from the mouths of those met along the way.
[PC: GQ Russia]
I reject this completely, that he went with no agenda in mind other than to simply capture the moment as a Journalist, because as paradoxical as Husky is, within the facade lies a very consistent, although undisclosed, ideological framework which does not seem to deviate no matter how hard it’s pushed by the winds of external muscle. Why do I say this? Because Husky has engaged in two drastically dissimilar sides of ideological belief, on the one end showing his disgust for those whose political views migrate, e.g., Boris Nemtsov, Vitaly Milonov, and Yelena Mizulina, while on the other admitting that changing his views is rendered an arduous task, considering it difficult and not something easily attainable and yet intrinsically necessary. Stated rather plainly, a quality not attributable to the artist’s musical corpus but certainly his interview alternative, he states that he is a, what I call, a conflicted Nationalist stating, “I am a patriot, for example, I love my Motherland. I have great respect for the liberal idea, but in the same way I do not understand people who are eager to change something, while openly hating Russia.” Husky didn’t end up just being an observer when he ventured to Donbass however, as he not only met the controversial writer Zakhar Prilepin but also fellow rapper Рич [real name Richard Semashkov] who, along with Husky and Prilepin, had been providing ‘humanitarian aid’ to the afflicted populations within Donbass.
Both rapper’s commitment to the region reached a peak in 2017 when the Russian-sponsored music festival called ‘Lava-fest’ was held in Donetsk, the event met with a strong wave of Ukrainian pushback. Why? Because mostly all the musical figures, including high-profile rappers like Husky, Rich, Rem Digga, and Ptah, were Russian despite the crowd being mostly Ukrainian with ‘a certain number of Russians’ being present in the 1,000+ crowd. The last notable figure met was the infamous military personality whom Husky originally set out to meet when he travelled to Donbass, that being [now deceased] Arsen ‘Motorola’ Pavlov, the notorious pro-Russian militant and caustic leader of the Spartan Battalion whose confrontational demenaour and willingness to engage in brutality, led to stringent EU sanctions and multiple assassination attempts by ‘unknown’ assailants, the third leading to a highly politicized investigation only contributing to the divisiveness between the two nations. One ‘theory’ being that Pavlov’s role in destabilizing the area was a ploy by the Russian government, insinuating that he had been, or had affiliations with, state powers which were being wielded through the guise of Pavlov. However, the thread runs dry, as all that is known is that he was taken to Motorola then some choice words were spoken.
Ultimately, what can be said about Husky is that he has come to define himself as ‘definably undefinable’ in the most paradoxical sense of the nonsense phrase. He [publically] revels in the absurdity of his condition and has come to learn that fear allows him to accomplish feats once thought unimaginable, either because they are asinine and mortally unsafe, or because it makes him feel as if he is truly alive and fully autonomous. In a 2019 Esquire interview, one of his last, hard-ball interviews and possibly one his last interviews ever, he had admitted that the apprehension felt about journeying down to Donetsk had caused him to fortify his commitment to travel there, “There were several situations when I felt that cowardice was pushing me to some completely crazy things. It is cowardice.” He goes on to explain how exactly he was ‘captured’ by the pro-Russian henchmen of Motorola, to whom he admits that he was grateful to see rather than the Ukrainian alternative [the sentiment of anit-Ukrainianism can be latently sensed]. “I was lucky they were people from Sparta, a division of Motorola, although they could have shot me right away. But they took me to Motorola, I tried to explain to him for two hours that I was not a saboteur.”
This final interview, although having already alluded to Husky’s reason, solidified the motive for Husky’s visitation to Donetsk in 2014 and why he thought it necessary to seek out the company of Motorola; He was trying to form his own views from and by the source itself. When Husky was in his mid 20s, it was essential that he allow himself to positionally maturate by surrounding and saturating himself in the happenings of now, unfettered by the illusions of supposed narratives and pseudo-truth, “When I was in my twenties, in order to simply live on, it was vital for me to leave, to see what was happening there [Donetsk], so that I could have an opinion.” However clouded/clear/illogical/wrong/foolish or naive Husky’s opinion are, one could relatively assume that they are crafted by the volitional impulse of Dima and Dima alone, this ‘sentient oxymoron’ allowing no one the ability to overstep their mortal place without authorized permission.
But again, I apprehensively reject that he has not somehow allowed himself to be swayed by the political and ideological affiliations of those around him, as his undulating mentality shows clear sign of some sort of sympathetic mimicry, perhaps not as flippantly obvious as others [most notably Timati], but certainly showcased through many small little comments made throughout five interviews covering a three-year period from 2016-2019, the most notable contradiction coming from a point made earlier where Husky states he doesn’t care for those whose beliefs oscillate from one extreme to the other, while later stating that change is necessary and beneficial. The former, “When he [Boris Nemtsov] found himself in opposition, he said everything exactly the opposite. Such people do not cause any sympathy in me. No. This is prostitution,” this comment in and of itself not accurate to the reason Boris changed his political views [read here], compared to the later, “If views change depending not on circumstances, but on your personal understanding, enrichment, this is normal.” However, the contradictions do not stop with politics and extend well into his personal life, an aspect of the Huskian identity rarely disclosed to the public and only brought to life through investigative Journalist operating within Russia. For as counter-hegemonic Husky carries himself as and as anti-humanist, fatalistically existential Dima may make himself out to be and as isolated and friendless Dmitry claims to be, at the heart of this ‘man of many pieces’ is the presence of a loving father [to a child at least two years of age], a passionate husband, a doting son to his mother, and a loyal friend to those who get to know him. He even goes to Church, although if he believes what he does has never been publicly admitted, “[Sergei]:Are you a believer….[Dima]: Too intimate for me.”
If this ongoing contention in Donbass has shown the world anything, it’s that Kierkegaard’s absurdist doctrine remains just as potent then in the 19th-century as it is today. That to attempt to control the chaos leads to nothing but ruin for everyone involved. Therefore, one must revel in the meaninglessness and have faith in their choices, no matter what they are. “The passion of faith is the only thing which masters the absurd — if not, then faith is not faith in the strictest sense, but a kind of knowledge.” At the end of the day, what is being fought for is a piece of land, on a massive globe, in a massive ocean of cosmic darkness, in an ever-expanding universe which man has never seen first-hand.
The presence of the Earth is meaningless, therefore Donbass is also meaningless.