Die Einfachen

„Die Einfachen" are part of the homosexual subculture in Leningrad in the 1920s. Their stories of the search for a sexual identity are combined by Sergei Nevsky with the voices of the Neue Vocalsolisten. Their thoughts and feelings are stunningly close. Their persecution and problems are alarmingly present.


Sergej Nevsky was inspired by research into the history of sexuality in post-revolutionary Russia in the 1920s Oxford University's Irina Roldugina. Among other things, they tell of the famous neurologist Vladimir Mikhailovich Bekhterev, who traveled around Russia in the early 1920s giving a series of lectures on the nature of sexuality. His audience consisted not only of students, but also of workers and peasants. After Bekhterev's lectures, some of his listeners wrote about their personal search for a new sexual identity. Among them was Siberian Nika Polyakov, who confessed to having discovered his homosexuality in the early years of the 20th century. Before World War I, Nika had studied in Germany, where he was interned with his friend Stepan Minin. After the revolution, he returned to St. Petersburg, but in the Soviet Union of the 1930s, under Stalin's rule, homosexuality was declared illegal. Nika was arrested and interrogated by the NKVD, the People's Commissariat for Internal Affairs, after which nothing more is known of him. The story of Nika Poyakov is not very different from that of numerous other Russian and Ukrainian homosexuals, whose testimonies Irina Rodulgina has collected in over ten years of research.


From the threads of these forgotten voices, Sergej Nevsky has woven "Die Einfachen", a multi-voiced work that sheds light on these little-known pages of Russian history. He sheds light on long-forgotten events that have been erased from our collective memory, but still manage to move us. The album ends with the lines from a letter by Nika Polyakov, lines that still resonate today: "No laws and no conventions will ever convince us that our actions are criminal and abnormal. Laws are written by human beings, and human beings can change them. We are certain that there will come a time when our rights will be recognized, that is, our civil rights to free cohabitation."

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actors (voices): Igor Bychkov, Gladston Mahib, Savva Savelyev, Uliana Lukina
electronics assistance: Alex Nadjarov

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