Just like in the United States, when rock first began to become popular in the USSR, it was widely considered to be tasteless and violent, and a sign that the younger generation had no respect for tradition or authority. In the Soviet Union, it had the added barrier of also being seen as “bourgeois propaganda” intended to infect Russian youth with capitalist thinking. It wasn’t considered to be serious music, but in fact “convulsions and desperate howls into a microphone by performers who give the impression of being on drugs.” However, instead of suppressing rock, all the disapproval did was push it underground, where it was able to develop a massive following.
Ironically, it wasn’t until glasnost, the policy of openness which allowed rock to become mainstream, that critics were able to get a sort of victory. By coming forward to play in major stadiums and with official sanction, rock lost its counterculture status somewhat. The music itself didn’t change much, but the concept of “fighting the man” that rock had developed out of was no longer valid when they were being paid by the man. The clubs that rock had developed out of weren’t the same when the big names were playing in big concert halls.
Chachin, Vladislav. “What We Think and Talk About: IN THE GRIP OF A MUSICAL FAD.” The Current Digest of the Russian Press, pp. 19–20. East View, dlib-eastview-com.ezproxy.lib.vt.edu/browse/doc/13625509.
Malikova, Viktoriia. “About Rock in Our Own Country.” Translated by James Von Geldern, Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 5 Jan. 2016, soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/the-leningrad-rock-scene/the-leningrad-rock-scene-texts/a-prophet-in-his-own-country/.
“The Leningrad Rock Scene.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, 5 Jan. 2016, soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/the-leningrad-rock-scene/.
“Viktor Tsoi and Kino in Performance at the Leningrad Rock-Club.” Seventeen Moments in Soviet History, soviethistory.msu.edu/1985-2/the-leningrad-rock-scene/the-leningrad-rock-scene-images/#bwg204/1409.