A timely rescued song

16 April, 2022

Отава Ё
Отава Ё

During the last two months the crackdown on anti-militarism in Russia has been systematic and forceful. In this leaden atmosphere practically nothing creeps in and becomes visible beyond very narrow circles. And yet, little things, some songs for instance, work as nods showing that under the apparent calm of police control and suppression, more embers are smoldering than it may seem at first glance.

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I will be drafted (Заберут меня в солдаты)

“Отава Ё” is surely the best European folk band of the last decade. At the end of last September, when the conscription campaign that would later become forcible was already in full swing in Russia, the group posted on its YouTube account a cut of a concert it had arranged a few years ago.

Read also: The reality of forced conscription and the lies of defensism and anti-fascism, 2/3/2022

The clip was far from innocent: the song “Заберут меня в солдаты” (“Soldiers will take me” or ” I will be drafted”) is a classic of Russian antimilitarist folk music whose origins date back to the Russo-Japanese war and the 1905 Revolution.

Заберут меня в солдаты,
На кого буду служить.
Отец старый, мать больная,
Дед беременный лежит.
Помолися, милка, Богу
На высокой на горе,
Чтобы не взяли во солдаты,
Не убили на войне.
Во солдатики поеду
На три года на войну,
На кого же я оставлю чернобровую мою?
Город Рига, город Рига,
Рига – славный городок,
Да какой же я вояка – мне семнадцатый годок.

Стали листики валиться,
стала осень приходить,
Рекрута стали с тальяночкой по улице ходить.
Шила я, кроила я, кисетик из лоскутиков,
Любила я, гуляла я, с парнем из рекрутиков.
Расхорошенький ты мой, ведь я ж не виноватая,
Разлучила нас с тобой солдатчина проклятыя.
Мил последний день гуляет на лошадке вороной,
Повезут его в солдаты на машине паровой.
Милый мой, моя утеха, я люблю, а ты уехал,
Ты уехал воевать, меня оставил горевать.

На вокзалике фонарики осталися гореть
Дружка в солдатики угнали, я осталась реветь.
Что ж ты, милка, по мне плачешь, али я тебе родной?
Как, хороший, мне не плакать – оставляешь сиротой.
Ой ты, маменька родная, куда деньги бережешь
Мать заплакала, сказала: «Во солдаты, сын, пойдёшь».
Ах ты, писарь, чёрт усатый, записал меня в солдаты,
К девятнадцати годам я в солдатушки попал.
Распроклятая война, что она наделала,
Сколько девок, сколько баб, сиротами сделала.

Ах ты, милая моя, начинается война,
На войну меня угонят, ты останешься одна.
I will be drafted,
Whom shall I serve?
Elderly father, sick mother,
Grandfather is pregnant.
Honey, you should ask God
on top of the mountain,
for me not to be drafted.

In the war they won't kill me.
I will go to the army
For three years in the war,
Who will take care of my dark-eyed girl?
City of Riga, city of Riga,
Riga, wonderful city,
What a warrior I am, I'm seventeen years old.

The leaves began to fall,
autumn was coming.
The recruits marched off with harmonicas.
I sewed, I cut, a pouch of tobacco pitting.
I loved walking with the recruit.
I'm not to blame, my handsome boy,
We were separated by the bloody draft.
He marches after a black horse for the last time.
He'll be taken to the army on a steam train.
My love, my joy, I love you, and you left,
You went off to fight, you left me to cry.

At the train station, the lights are left to burn.
They took my boy away to the army, I leave him to cry alone.
Why are you crying for me, love, I am your family
You shouldn't cry, you make me an orphan.
Oh, mother, why do you save money?
The mother began to cry, she said:
"You are going to join the soldiers, son."
Damn bureaucrat, devil who signed me up to be drafted.
I was drafted at nineteen.
Damn war, damn what it has done.
How many girls, how many women it left orphaned.

Oh, my dear, the war begins,
I'll be drafted, you'll be left alone..

Little Apple (Яблочко)

“Отава Ё” has also rescued some songs from the 1917 Revolution and the civil war that followed. Among them the original lyrics of “Яблочлочко” (little apple), a song that emerged in the Red Army during the 1918-19 Siberian campaign.

Little apples -red on the outside white on the inside- is what the Bolshevik workers called the SRs and other petty-bourgeois leftist groups who adhered to the revolution but tried to restrain the workers in their tendency to advance the Revolution from its political phase to Social Revolution.

The song exposes them as profiteers actually working to pave the way for the bourgeoisie as well as allies of the peasant landowners who exploited day laborers, whom they camouflaged as a “popular” class.

Read also: Our articles on different aspects of the Russian Revolution
Эх, яблочко, куда ж ты котишься?
Ко мне в рот попадешь - не воротишься!
Ко мне в рот попадешь - не воротишься!

Эх, яблочко, да на заваленке
Продает офицер стары валенки.
Эх, яблочко, катись по бережку.
Раз купил товар - давай денежку!
Раз купил товар - давай денежку!

Спекулянт, спекулянт спекулирует,
А народная власть реквизирует!
А народная власть реквизирует!

Эх, яблочко, да на тарелочке.
Кому водку пить, а кому девочек!
Кому водку пить, а кому девочек!

Эх, яблочко, да соку спелого.
Полюбила я парня смелого!
Эх, яблочко, да цвета красного.
Пойду за сокола, пойду за ясного!
Пойду за сокола, пойду за ясного!

Не за Ленина, да не за Троцкого,
А за матросика краснофлотского!
За матросика краснофлотского!

Эх, яблочко, да с голубикою.
Подходи, буржуй, глазик выдавлю!
Подходи, буржуй, глазик выдавлю!

Эх, яблочко, да не докотится.
А буржуйская власть не воротится!
А буржуйская власть не воротится!

Эх, яблочко, да огородное.
Выжимай у кулаков все народное!
Выжимай у кулаков все народное!

Эх, яблочко, да ты хрустальное.
А квартира у нас коммунальная!
А квартира у нас коммунальная!
Hey, little apple, where are you going?
You're going into my mouth, you're not coming back!
You're going into my mouth, you're not coming back!

Hey, little apple, yes, the one in the rubble.
The officer sells old felt boots.
Hey, little apple, wallow along the shore.
When you've bought [all] the stock, let the money come!
When you've bought all the stock, let the money come!

The profiteer who profiteers, will speculate
Until the requisitions of the people's power come!
Till the requisitions of the people's power come!

Hey, little apple, yes, the one who is on a plate.
Drink vodka and eat girls!
Drink vodka and eat girls!

Hey, little apple, yes, you, you stale juice.
I fell in love with a brave boy!
Yes, little apple, he's red.
I'll go hawk hunting [white aircraft], of course I'll go hawk hunting!
I'm going to shoot the hawks down, of course I am!

I won't do it for Lenin or Trotsky,
But for the sailors of the Red Army!
But for the sailors of the Red Navy!

Hey, little apple, yes, the one with a [Bolshevik] cranberry.
Come on, bourgeois, we'll gouge your eyes out!
Come on, bourgeois, we'll gouge your eyes out!

Hey, little apple, don't take it for granted.
Bourgeois power will not return!
Bourgeois power will not return!

Hey, little apple, yes, the one in the orchard!
Squeeze the kulaks [peasant-owners with wage-earners], all for the people!
Squeeze the kulaks, all for the people!

Hey, little apple, yes, you, who are transparent.
Our home is a collectivity!
Our house is a collectivity!.

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