At the beginning of July Latvian Brainstorm band performed at Russian festival titled ‘Nashestviye’ or Invasion, which was held in Tver and was attended by more than 200,000 people. On top of that, it was actively attended by the Russian army.
The festival was also used as a parade and popularization place for the Russian army. A special section of the event’s website was dedicated to it. At the festival, there was also a large number of war vehicles present, including T-90 tanks, which are reported to be used in Ukraine. Field demonstrations were also carried out there. According to news channels, Russian war aircraft imitated a combat situation. Encouragements to enter the ranks of the Russian army were heard frequently, as reported by lsm.lv with reference to LTV.
People and performers were invited to look inside tanks and learn how it feels to be in the army. Legendary Russian band Mashina Vremeni protested against the presence of the Russian army at the festival. Andrei Makarevich, an often guest of the festival, said he does ‘not want to sing with tanks on the background’.
Latvian Brainstorm band was among the festival’s main guests. They started their performance with the words ‘we come with peace and love’. During Brainstorm’s performance, the audience could see the flag that symbolized Crimea’s merging with Russia.
«All this makes you wonder how low national pride is for us, Latvians. Maybe this is just making money; it’s hard for me to say. But the current situation… Of course, everyone wants to make money, everyone wants to be popular,» – says actor Ziedonis Locmelis, who recently refused to continue filming in a Russian sponsored film as a protest against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The actor says sponsors in Russia pay well, and his losses from refusing to film in a Russian sponsored film are around EUR 7,000 – EUR 8,000.
It is hard to consider Brainstorm’s motives if there are only financial reasons to consider. Because of those reasons, Brainstorm does not go on a concert tour in Latgale, where there isn’t a large audience, but go to Russia instead.
«It seems they earn more with concerts. But the thing is…I’m not saying I don’t need money. I do, because there are bills to pay and food to buy. Here, in Latvia, there are other means of earning a fair pay without having to travel anywhere and participate in events that are attended by the Russian army,» – says the actor.
«We play our songs to people, not flags. We believe culture and sport should exist outside of politics, because they provide a clear road to people’s hearts,» – told the artists in their interview to Panorāma.