Accessibility links


Tuesday 19 September 2017

Russian rock musician Andrei Makarevich (file photo)

But Andrei Makarevich softens his tone a bit when asked if he thinks one of the giants of the international music scene crossed any legal lines with its new 'Lift' video.

MOSCOW -- Veteran Russian rock musician Andrei Makarevich has accused British rock band Radiohead of "ripping off" its new music video from a 16-year-old clip by his band Mashina Vremeni (Time Machine).

But Makarevich, a poet and singer-songwriter famous in Russia since the Soviet period, then told RFE/RL that while there were "more than obvious" similarities, he was not taking legal action and was unsure whether the perceived parallels constituted intellectual property theft.

Writing on Facebook on September 13, the 63-year-old People's Artist of Russia honoree said: “The group Radiohead has very crudely ripped off their video 'Lift' from our video 'The Place Where There Is Light’ -- which we filmed with 'Machine' on September 11, 2001.”

He included a link to his video -- Mesto Gde Svet, in Russian -- for comparison.

“Similar?” he wrote simply, linking to the official video of Radiohead's Lift, which dropped on YouTube on September 12:

The next day, contacted by telephone and seemingly softening his tone about Lift, Makarevich told RFE/RL, "I simply saw the similarity."

"The similarity is more than obvious," he added. "Some of the shots plainly coincide. As we filmed this video 20 years earlier, I think we were first. That's it."

Makarevich's Time Machine is one of Russia's oldest active rock bands.

Both clips show the bands' front men -- Thom Yorke, in Radiohead’s case -- as they take long elevator rides, with people coming and going as the lift visits different floors. There are similarities in some of the camera angles, but the story lines and secondary characters differ considerably.

Radiohead first performed Lift in 1996, but it was only released this summer as part of a 20th-anniversary reissue of the group's OK Computer album. The lyrics describe someone being “stuck in a lift.”

A fan of The Beatles, Makarevich founded Mashina Vremeni in the Soviet Union in 1969 and has been its front man ever since.

In 2008, he performed on Red Square at a concert in support of Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev.

More recently, however, he has been marginalized in Russia for his outspoken criticism of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which two years ago saw him branded a “traitor” by members of parliament. A string of his concerts and public appearances was subsequently canceled.

Ksenia Sobchak has quashed the idea of a run for president.

Vladimir Putin is widely expected to run for another term as president in the March election. The newspaper Vedomosti reports that the Kremlin is considering how a woman candidate might help increase turnout and give the vote more credibility.

It’s all but certain that Vladimir Putin will stand for a fourth term as president when Russia holds its next election in March.

It’s less certain who the Kremlin will allow -- or persuade -- to stand as a challenger to the popular leader in an effort to give the appearance of competition, what an influential Putin adviser once called “managed democracy.”

Crusading anticorruption lawyer Aleksei Navalny wants to run, and has enough charisma, clout, and independence that officials have gone after him with a financial-crimes prosecution that has made him legally ineligible to run.

Now, according to Vedomosti, there’s another idea floating around political circles: enlisting a female candidate to run against Putin.

Citing several unnamed sources “close to the presidential administration,” the business newspaper reported on September 1 that five to seven women have been identified as potential candidates; three are members of A Just Russia, a political party set up in 2006 as an alternative to the ruling party, United Russia.

One of those reportedly under consideration, Natalya Velikaya, told the paper that having a female candidate was smart.

“There’s demand in society for women in politics. This will increase interest in predictable elections,” she was quoted as saying.

Vedomosti cited another source as saying the ideal candidate would, in fact, be none other than Ksenia Sobchak, a socialite, TV host, and actress whose father was mayor of St. Petersburg in the early 1990s and an early political backer of Putin. Formerly known as “Russia’s Paris Hilton,” she’s become a more outspoken opposition activist in recent years.

Sobchak, meanwhile, was quick to quash the idea.

"Who’s talking about what up in the top offices, I don’t know, but I’ve been closely following the political landscape for a long time. I have just one diagnosis,” she wrote in a post on her Instagram account. "Your politics today are dismal crap, gentlemen. Boring and detestable."

While Putin hasn’t formally committed to running in March, he has hinted that he will. With his wide popularity, a lack of alternatives, and the Kremlin's tight grip on most media, most Russia watchers expect he will decisively win another six-year term, which would make him the longest-serving Russian leader since Josef Stalin.

Load more

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at