The Comrades and the Soviet Punk Frank Zappa


Stephen Coates and Paul Heartfield meet with film director Olivia Litchenstein and BBC Russian Arts presenter Alexander Kan to hear about the extraordinary musician Sergey Kuryokhin, ‘the Soviet Punk Frank Zappa’, who with his underground cohorts in Leningrad tried to soundtrack perestroika.

Olivia tells of the strange circumstances of the making of the BBC TV series Comrades during the twilight of the Soviet Empire, with tales of tapes smuggled in diplomatic bags and a bizarre intervention by Ronald Reagan.

Alex tells of his friendship with Kuryokhin, an incredibly talented, charming, handsome musical provocateur whose live performances astonished Russian audiences and of the bizarre prank he played on National TV claiming Lenin was a magic mushroom, just one of many dadaist interventions he made his tragic early death.

You can watch the Comrade program featuring Sergey Kuryokhin here: