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Viktor Tsoi

Viktor Tsoi

Legend of Soviet rock music


Viktor Tsoi is a phenomenon of Russian rock music. The leader of the rock group "Kino" , a musician and film actor, he became the idol of the perestroika generation. The creative heritage that the singer left during his short life was repeatedly rethought by his contemporaries and the next generations of musicians.

The phenomenon that the Kino group represented in the post-Soviet space was unique: the problems raised in Tsoi's songs still continue to excite young minds.

Sometimes it is difficult to understand and explain why Viktor Tsoi deserved such total love. The voice of the people, the symbol of the era of Russian rock, the breath of change - such designations are very useful when they remember the name of the legendary musician.

Childhood and youth

Viktor Tsoi was born in the summer of 1962 in a Leningrad family of scientific and technical intelligentsia. The musician's father Robert Tsoi worked as an engineer, and his mother, a native Leningrader Valentina Vasilievna , taught physical education at school. Tsoi Son Dyun (Russian name - Maxim Maksimovich Tsoi), Viktor Tsoi's paternal grandfather, a Korean by nationality, lived in Kazakhstan. Despite his eastern roots, Victor's height was 184 cm (the generally accepted version).

As a child, the boy began to show interest in drawing, and in order to develop his talent, his parents sent Victor to an art school, where he studied for 3 years. In high school, he could not please his parents with success, and the teachers did not see him as a student capable of knowledge, paying attention to other children.

Already from the fifth grade, the student's circle of interests changed dramatically towards music. Then Tsoi got the first guitar, which his parents gave him. My father showed me some chords. The boy was fascinated by it. He set his own voice, often doing vocal chants in the bathroom. Together with his comrades, he assembled the first group "Ward No. 6".

The teenager's passion for music was huge: in order to buy a 12-string guitar, the student spent all the money that his parents left him when he went on vacation. For the last 3 rubles, Tsoi bought belyashes and ate them on an empty stomach. The result was predictable, and after that the musician made the only true conclusion for himself: never eat belyashi.

After the ninth grade, Victor decided to continue his studies at the Leningrad Art School named after V. A. Serovto become a graphic designer. But the passion for fine arts quickly cooled down, since most of the time the young man was occupied with music. Tsoi was expelled from the second year for poor progress.

Victor went to work at a factory, and then got a job at the Art and Restoration Lyceum No. 61, where he mastered the profession of a woodcarver. After graduating from an educational institution, he worked for a while in the workshop of the Catherine Palace.

However, all these vital interests were not the main ones for Victor. Music has always been there, and over time, he realized more and more that this is the only occupation to which he would like to devote his life.

Early work

Tsoi met his colleague Alexei Rybin from Andrey Panov , the leader of the Automatic Satisfiers group. The musicians traveled together to the underground concerts of Artemy Troitsky , held in Moscow. Victor succumbed to the persuasion of his friends, and already at the end of 1981, together with Alexei Rybin and Oleg Valinsky, the rock group Garin and the Hyperboloids was created.

A few months later, the artists renamed the group "Kino" and in this line-up joined the famous Leningrad rock club. The newly minted team, with the assistance of Boris Grebenshchikov and the musicians of his Aquarium group, recorded the first album, 45. The name comes from the duration of the recordings. Later, one of the songs on the disc - "Eighth Grader", the prototype of which was student Jenny Yasnets - entered the top 100 best songs of Russian rock in the 20th century according to Nashe Radio.

The new creation has become popular in the Leningrad apartment houses. In a relaxed atmosphere, the audience closely communicated with the performers. Even then, Viktor Tsoi spoke clearly about his life principles, from which he did not intend to deviate.

At the peak of fame

The next album, "Chief of Kamchatka", in honor of the name of the boiler room where Viktor worked as a fireman, was recorded by the group in 1984 in a new line-up: now instead of Rybin and Valinsky, the band included guitarist Yuri Kasparyan , bassist Alexander Titov , and Georgy Guryanov (Gustav ). In the same year, the Kino group became a laureate at the second Leningrad Rock Festival, turning out to be a real sensation for listeners.

The following year, the Kino group repeated its resounding success at the festival, and the musicians decided to record the Night album, which was conceived as a new word in rock music, fully in line with the latest trends in Western performers. Work on "Night" was delayed, and instead of it, the musicians recorded a magnetic album called "This is not love."

In November 1985, another replacement took place in the band: Alexander Titov was replaced as bassist by Igor Tikhomirov . This composition of the team did not change until the very end of its existence.

1986 was the year of the peak popularity of Kino. Its secret consisted in a combination of fresh musical discoveries, unique for that time, with simple and vital texts by Viktor Robertovich. In addition, the songs of the rock band were easy to perform with a guitar, which the group owes to thousands of "movie fans" singing Tsoi's compositions in every yard.

After the release of the album "Blood Type", presented in 1988, "film mania" spread beyond the borders of the USSR. The team gave concerts in France, Denmark and Italy, and the group's photos increasingly appeared on the covers of popular music magazines. A year later, "Kino" released the first professional studio album called "A Star Called the Sun", and the musicians immediately started working on the next disc.

The best songs from the album "A Star Called the Sun" made Viktor Tsoi and the Kino group immortal, and the composition "Pack of Cigarettes" became a hit for each subsequent young generation of the states of the former USSR.

In 1989, concerts of the Kino group were held in France and the USA.

In June 1990, the last concert of Viktor Tsoi and his team took place at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex in Moscow. Later, the materials of the speech were used in the documentary film "The Man in Black".

"Kino" is the last album in the band's discography. The songs "Cuckoo" and "Watch Yourself" became the most popular compositions, they were later repeatedly performed by other musicians and groups.

Public position

Tsoi's songs turned the minds of many Soviet people. First of all, the name of the musician is associated with changes in the country. This desire is represented by the song “I want change!” (in the original - "Changes!"), which was first performed at the IV Festival of the Leningrad Rock Club in the Nevsky Palace of Culture on May 31, 1986.

At first glance, it may seem that Tsoi was an adherent of radical decisions, but in fact he perceived life in a slightly different way.

Choi about music:

“Music should embrace: it should, when necessary, make you laugh, when necessary, amuse, and when necessary, make you think. Music should not only call for going to smash the Winter Palace. She must be listened to."

Once, in an interview with media representatives, Victor admitted that he considers himself an opponent of reincarnations, to remain himself is the main thing for him. It is possible that the musician was thinking about a professional acting career, and did not comment on the attitude towards the political trends of that time.

Once, in an interview with media representatives, Victor admitted that he considers himself an opponent of reincarnations, to remain himself is the main thing for him. It is possible that the musician was thinking about a professional acting career, and did not comment on the attitude towards the political trends of that time.

Tsoi said of his vision for change in Soviet society:

“I meant by changes the liberation of consciousness from all sorts of dogmas, from the stereotype of a small, worthless indifferent person, constantly looking “up”. I was waiting for changes in consciousness, and not for specific laws, decrees, appeals, plenums, congresses.”


The film debut of Viktor Tsoi as an actor was his participation in the diploma work of the young Kiev director Alexei Uchitel - a kind of musical film almanac "The End of Vacations". Filming took place on Lake Telbin in Kyiv. Participation in this picture marked for Tsoi a new stage in his work.

The popularity of the Kino group led to the fact that Victor was invited to participate in the filming of films of the "new formation". The filmography of Tsoi as an actor amounted to 14 films, among which important films of that time should be noted, which fully reflect the essence of the era of change.This is the famous "Assa" by film director Sergei Solovyov , a picture filled with a tart feeling of the "beginning of the end" characteristic of the years of perestroika. This is the dramatic thriller The Needle , in which the leader of the Kino group played the main role. The hero of Tsoi Moro decides to fight the drug mafia, but everything turns out to be not so simple. His antipode, drug dealer Arthur, was played by Pyotr Mamonov . The film became the leader of the box office in 1989, and Viktor Tsoi received the title of "Best Actor of the Year" according to a poll among readers of the "Soviet Screen".

Personal life

In high school, Viktor Tsoi was not popular with classmates, his nationality was to blame, but by the age of 20, the artist's personal life had changed. Crowds of girls were on duty at the entrance of their favorite musician. And soon the young man met his soul mate. The acquaintance happened at one of the parties where the artist was present. Marianna was 3 years older than Victor. For the first six months, the lovers went on dates to the park, after which they decided to live together.

The musician married Maryana (Marianna) Tsoi , who bore him a son, Sasha. In the future , Alexander Tsoi also became a rock musician. Alexander turned out to be the only child of Victor, the singer had no more children. The musician's wife took over all the economic activities of the group, helped with concert costumes and organizational issues.

In 1987, while working on the film Assa, Victor met Natalia Razlogova , who worked as an assistant director. A romance broke out between them, and a new relationship eventually led to the destruction of the family. As Marianne later recalled in an interview, she and Natalia turned out to be women of different characters. The wife embodied a "volcano of passions", and the last love remained an "impregnable rock".

The couple did not officially divorce, and after the death of the musician, Marianna took over the organization of the release of his last recordings, as well as unreleased materials. The widow of Viktor Tsoi graduated in 1999 from St. Petersburg University, where she studied Japanese. The woman became interested in translations.

On the eve of the new century, she was diagnosed with cancer. After removing the tumor in the chest, doctors discovered an oncological formation in the brain. Realizing that nothing could be done, Marianna Tsoi went home to die. For the last 3 months, her mother and husband Alexander Aksenov, better known under the stage name Ricochet, took care of her.

Natalia married journalist Yevgeny Dodolev , with whom she emigrated to the United States. She became the mother of two children. Returning to Russia, she got a job at Channel One.


August 15, 1990 Viktor Tsoi died in a car accident.

The musician crashed in an accident on the 35th kilometer of the Latvian Sloka-Talsi highway near the city of Tukums, returning from a vacation in the Baltic States. His car crashed into an Ikarus passenger bus, the driver of which, Janis Fibiks, was not hurt. According to the official version, Choi fell asleep from overwork while driving.

For a long time there were rumors that Victor did not notice the turn, as he changed the cassette in the car radio, but there was no evidence for such statements. The cause of the death of a rock star still excites Russian society.

The death of the singer was a shock to the country. On August 19, 1990, thousands of people gathered to say goodbye to Tsoi. The artist was buried at the Bogoslovsky cemetery in St. Petersburg. Many fans could not accept the news of the death of an idol, committing suicide.

Fresh flowers always lie on his grave and candles never go out. In the same cemetery, not far from the singer, Viktor's wife Marianna Tsoi, as well as his mother Valentina Vasilievna Tsoi, are buried.

After the death of the musician, a large number of monuments were erected in different countries of the world. One of the main sculptures, which depicts a rock performer sitting on a motorcycle, is installed in St. Petersburg, on Nevsky Prospekt, opposite the Avrora cinema.

At the 35th kilometer of the Sloka-Talsi highway, where the fatal accident took place, a monument 230 cm high was also erected. The authors chose one of the most popular photographs of the musician, in which he is depicted with his arms crossed, as a basis.

Sculptor Amiran Khabelashvili and artist Ruslan Vereshchagin, who created the monument, decided to forever fix Tsoi's famous lines about death and love from the song "Legend":

"Death is worth living, but love is worth the wait..."


The creative heritage of the musician was repeatedly processed by other groups. So, Konstantin Kinchev , the leader of Alisa , who at one time was friends with Tsoi, performs some of his songs at his performances.

In 2000, a tribute to "Kinoproba" took place, in which many Russian rock performers participated. The Hermitage Symphony Orchestra performed the songs of the Kino group at a concert dedicated to the memory of the musician.

This is not the only such album with the author's compositions. Later, “Viktor Tsoi's Birthday”, “Kinoproby. Rap tribute" and the disc "We left the cinema", released on the 55th anniversary of the star. Vyacheslav Butusov used the text of Tsoi "Children of the Minutes" to create a song that got into the track list of one of the Yu-Piter albums. The composition was used as the soundtrack of Rashid Nugmanov's film Needle Remix.

In 1990, after the news of the death of the artist, Tsoi's wall appeared. In Moscow, fans of the musician's work covered the wall of house number 37 on the Arbat (in Krivoarbatsky Lane) with inscriptions. With the inscription "Tsoi is alive" and quotes from his songs, the fans wanted to emphasize their love for the popular artist. In the future, the wall of memory became one of the sights of the Russian capital.

The directors did not forget about the biography of the popular musician. Filmmakers continue to make films about his life and work.

In the summer of 2018, the premiere of the drama by Kirill Serebrennikov "Summer" took place in Cannes , dedicated to the beginning of the creative path of Viktor Tsoi, his friendship with Mike Naumenko , as well as his relationship with Mike's wife Natalia. The musicians were played by the European actor of Korean origin Teo Yu and the leader of the "Beasts" group Roma Zver (Roman Bilyk), Irina Starshenbaum was approved for the role of Natalya Naumenko .

Every 5 years, Tsoi's fans celebrate the next anniversary of the birth of Viktor Tsoi with festive rock concerts and memorial events. In 2017, in honor of the anniversary for the song "A Star Called the Sun" in St. Petersburg, a video was shot in one frame. This year the artist would have turned 55 years old.

And in 2020, the premiere of Alexei Uchitel’s film “Tsoi” took place, in which the last stage of the musician’s life unfolded before the audience. The film starred Yevgeny Tsyganov , Paulina Andreeva , Maryana Spivak .

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the musician, at the beginning of 2022 in Moscow, in the Central Manege, the exhibition “Viktor Tsoi. The path of the hero. The exposition was made up of previously unknown materials from the collections of Robert Tsoi, the son of the artist Alexander, his friends, colleagues and loyal fans. The visitors were presented with the things of the leader of the Kino group, rare photos, personal letters, stage costumes, crafts and paintings created by the performer himself. The project received support from the Presidential Fund for Cultural Initiatives.

  • 1982 - "45"
  • 1983 - "46"
  • 1984 - "Head of Kamchatka"
  • 1985 - "This is not love"
  • 1986 - "Night"
  • 1988 - "Blood type"
  • 1989 - "A Star Called the Sun"
  • 1990 - Kino (Black Album)
  • 1986 - "Ya-ha!"
  • 1986 - "The end of the holidays"
  • 1986 - "Dialogues"
  • 1987 - "Rock"
  • 1987 - "Assa"
  • 1988 - Needle
  • 1990 - City
  • 1990 - "Sex and Perestroika"
Interesting Facts
  1. For the first time on the screens of Soviet TVs, Tsoi appeared as a guest of the Monitor program on the Len-TV channel. On the air, he presented woodwork, in particular, Japanese netsuke figurines.
  2. At the last concert of the Kino group in Luzhniki, the Olympic flame was lit in the stadium bowl for the first time since the 1980 Summer Olympics.
  3. In the Perm Territory, near the village of Chaika, there is a stop dedicated to the artist. Initially, the inscription "Tsoi is alive" appeared there in 1993, later an information plate was placed.
  4. The musician's things appear at auctions. In 2018, his passport was sold for 9 million rubles, and his notebook with the phone numbers of rock club members was sold for 3 million rubles.


June 21, 1962
Viktor Tsoi was born in Saint Petersburg.


Further Resources


Kino - Black (full album)


October 14, 2013

Viktor Tsoi: How a 33-year-old song became an anthem for change in Belarus

By David Sillito


August 21, 2020

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