Do Russian people stand for war?
Go, ask the calm on plain and shore The wide expanse of field and lea, The birches and poplar tree.
The soldiers who once fought abreast,
And near the birches lie at rest, Their sons will answer by the score, Ask them if Russians are, Ask them if Russians are, Ask them if Russians are for war.
Not only for their country’s life
Did soldiers perish in their strife – But that all human creatures might Sleep always peacefully at night.
Ask those that fearful battles knew,
Who on the Elbe joined with you, We keep these memories evermore – And ask if Russians are, And ask if Russians are, And ask if Russians are for war.
Yes, We know how to fight,
But we don’t want again For soldiers to fall On their bitter land.
Ask the mothers,
Ask my wife, And then you should understand If the Russians, If the Russians, If the Russians want war.
The working people of each land
Will come, for sure, to understand Throughout the world on sea and shore – If Russian people are, If Russian people are, If Russian people are for war.
Евгений Александрович Евтушенко (Yevgeny Aleksandrovich Yevtushenko) ( 1962) English lyrics translation by Ольга Моисеенко (Olga Moisseyenko)
VIDEO Sung by Mark Naumovich Bernes who was a Soviet actor and singer of Jewish ancestry, who performed some of the most poignant songs to come out of World War II including “Dark Night” and “Cranes”. Хотят ли русские войны?
Хотят ли русские войны?
Спросите вы у тишины Над ширью пашен и полей, И у берез, и тополей.
Спросите вы у тех солдат,
Что под березами лежат, И вам ответят их сыны: Хотят ли русские, Хотят ли русские, Хотят ли русские войны?
Не только за свою страну
Солдаты гибли в ту войну, А чтобы люди всей земли Спокойно ночью спать могли.
Спросите тех, кто воевал,
Кто нас на Эльбе обнимал. Мы этой памяти верны, Хотят ли русские, Хотят ли русские, Хотят ли русские войны?
Да, мы умеем воевать,
Но не хотим, чтобы опять Солдаты падали в бою На землю горькую свою.
Спросите вы у матерей,
Спросите у жены моей, И вы тогда понять должны, Хотят ли русские, Хотят ли русские, Хотят ли русские войны?
VIDEO Performed by Ансамбль Александрова (the Alexandrov Ensemble) using the 1970s (?) translated lyrics of Ольга Моисеенко (Olga Moisseyenko). Although she titles it ‘Do the Russian people stand for war’ a translation along the lines of ‘Do the Russian want war?’ is more common.
Additional information: ( Хотят ли русские войны? Do the Russians Want War?) is a 1961 lyric written by anti-war song and set to music by Yevgeny Yevtushenko . Eduard Kolmanovski
Yevtushenko later said he wrote the song in response to conversations he had with foreigners while travelling in western Europe and the United States. The lyrics evoke the peaceful Russian countryside, the memory of the millions of lives lost in the Second World War, and the friendly meeting of U.S. and Soviet soldiers on . Elbe Day
The poem was cited by Ukrainian President in his address to the Volodymyr Zelenskyy Russian people immediately prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine during the . 2021-2022 Russo-Ukrainian crisis
On Thursday 24 February 2022
Russian citizens were heard singing the song at protests held in St Petersburg and Moscow. After these protests were broken up, by authorities in riot gear, it was apparently remarked by civilians “в России запрещено говорить, что русские не хотят войны…” (“In Russia it is forbidden to say Russians do not want war…”)
No civilians anywhere want war.
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