Last Tanks in Paris

Last Tanks in Paris (Последние Танки в Париже, or П. Т. В. П.) is a Russian post-punk band originally from Vyborg, near Saint Petersburg. The band plays a style of music heavily influenced by bands like Joy Division, and has come to be known for their outspoken political views. They have taken a strong stance against authoritarianism and have explicitly denounced President Vladimir Putin in their lyrics. At their start in 1996, Last Tanks in Paris was one of Russia’s only well-known politically oriented punk bands, and are now one of several outspoken groups playing on the fringes of mainstream Russian music.

Last Tanks in Paris was formed by drummer Edward Starkov (Эдуард Старков) and vocalist Aleksey Nikonov (Алексей Никонов), and played their first live set at the TaMtAm club in St. Petersburg. In 1996 they released their first promo album, entitled Olkaa Nuva (Olkaa Hyva), which they described as a mix of Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and Chimera. This first release contained several of what would become the band’s best-known tracks, including “Cops’ Eyes” (“Глаза ментов”), “Bullet for the Bourgeois”(“Пулю буржую”), and “Dogs in the Eyes” (“Собаки в глазах”).

In 1998 Last Tanks in Paris released their first full-length album, Virginity (Девственность). During this time the band was plagued by several major lineup changes after Starkov’s death by suicide and their guitarist’s problems with heavy narcotics. Nevertheless, the group managed to release a second full-length album the following year, entitled PORNOmania (ПОРНОмания), followed by Hexagon (ГексАген) in 2001.

In 2004 Last Tanks in Paris released another album, 2085, which received a major prize from the rock journal FUZZ. Three years later they put out a live DVD titled Human Rights (Права человека), which was a recording of their May 2, 2006, performance at Petersburg’s Orlandina club. The following year saw the release of Freedom of Speech (Свобода слова), which featured a musical version of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s poem “To You!” (“Вам!”). Continuing their streak of productivity, Last Tanks in Paris released Mirror (Зеркало) in 2008, an album that they wrote in its entirety in one night.

In 2012 the group released their most recent album, Ultimatum (Ультиматум), for free download online, having decided to stop releasing CDs.

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Here is a live performance of “Tomorrow” (“Завтра”), which demonstrates Last Tanks in Paris’s Joy Division–esque punk sound:

 

Lyrics for “Завтра”:

Не выходи из дому, там ведь нечего делать
Там всё давно знакомо, каждый день как понедельник
Машины едут в центр, зевают светофоры
Косые злые взгляды, чужие разговоры

Так завтра будет опять
Уходи в темноту
Всем на это плевать
Я больше не жду – тебя

Я знаю наперёд, и это всё уже не шутки
Менты, воры, барыги, поэты, проститутки
Вот те, среди кого мы живём и умираем
Под северным гипнозом городских окраин

Завтра будет опять
Уходи в темноту
Всем на это плевать
Я больше не жду – тебя

 
Here is “Grass-Love” (“Трава-Любовь”):

 

Lyrics for “Трава-Любовь”:

Ещё один день, осталось так мало,
Мы будем делить одно одеяло.
Так утро всегда какой-нибудь знак
И солнце в окне, нормальный косяк.

Трава-любовь, небо в алмазах.
Чего-то нет и значит сразу
В разрыве неба горячий след
Чего-то нет! Чего-то нет!

Ещё один день и будет как раньше,
Кривой горизонт ломается дальше
И дети орут точно свора собак
И солнце в окне…

Трава-любовь, небо в алмазах.
Чего-то нет и значит сразу
В разрыве неба горячий след
Чего-то нет! Чего-то нет!
Чего-то нет!

Ещё один день…

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Zach Hicks is a PhD student in Comparative Literature at the University of Oregon. He is currently participating in SRAS's Home and Abroad scholarship program. His main areas of interest are twentieth-century Russian and Soviet literature, socialist modernism, and critical theory. Outside of academics his major interests are martial arts, the outdoors, and music. In Russia, he plans to continue to increase his language proficiency, to learn as much as possible about the Russian underground music scene, its tattoo culture, and to become a student of Russia’s native martial art, SAMBO.