Yuri Shevchuk

Yuri Yulianovich Shevchuk (Russian: Ю́рий Юлиа́нович Шевчу́к; born 16 May 1957) is a Soviet and Russian rock musician and singer/songwriter who leads the rock band DDT, which he founded with Vladimir Sigachev in 1980.

Yuri Shevchuk
Yuri Shevchuk in Saint Petersburg Theological Academy, 2012.
Yuri Shevchuk in Saint Petersburg Theological Academy, 2012.
Background information
Birth nameYuri Yulianovich Shevchuk
Born (1957-05-16) 16 May 1957 (age 63)
Yagodnoye, Magadan Oblast, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
GenresRock, jazz
InstrumentsVocals, guitar
Associated actsDDT
Yuri Shevchuk's signature

He is best known for his distinctive gravelly voice. His lyrics detail aspects of Russian life with a wry, humanistic sense of humor. He is also famous for opposing pop music culture (especially playback performances) for many years. He is often accredited with being the greatest songwriter in present-day Russia.


Shevchuk in 1999

Shevchuk was born in Yagodnoye in Magadan Oblast and raised in Ufa, Bashkir ASSR. Shevchuk was an art teacher before founding DDT. By the time their third album Periferiya (Periphery) was released, Shevchuk had got a high pressure by Soviet censorship[1]. In 1985 he disbanded his group and resettled to St. Petersburg, Russia, with his wife, Elmira. In Saint-Petersburg he assembled a new line-up and became a member of Leningrad Rock Club. In 1989, DDT had performed in Hungary, in 1990 - in USA and Japan for the first time ever. In 1992, Shevchuk lost his wife due to cancer; an album Aktrisa Vesna (Spring the Actress) contained her paintings and was dedicated to her.

In January 1995, during First Chechen War, Shevchuk went on a peace mission to Chechnya[2], where he performed 50 concerts for both Russian troops and Chechen citizens alike.[3]

In 1999, Shevchuk visited Yugoslavia with concerts in protection of its integrity, sharply criticized USA for bombing of the sovereign state and shot some reports about destroyed Orthodox churches in the Serbian region of Kosovo for UNESCO.[3]

In the 2000s, Shevchuk was highly critical of what he considered the undemocratic nature of Vladimir Putin's Russia (see: Putinism), and was one of the only public celebrities who aired oppositionist grievances face-to-face with Putin during a now-famous sit-down with cultural figures. On 3 March 2008 he participated in a Dissenters March in Saint Petersburg against the president elections where no real opposition candidates were allowed to run.[4] One of his controversial songs, "Kogda zakonchitsya neft", has the lyrics "When the oil runs dry, our president will die".[5]

On 24 and 26 September 2008, he organized two peace concerts in Moscow and Saint Petersburg as a protest to the Russian–Georgian war. The name of the concert "Don't Shoot" was taken from his song "Ne Strelyai" that he had written in 1980 as a response to the Soviet–Afghan War. Together with his band DDT he performed with Georgian jazz singer Nino Katamadze, Ossetian band "Iriston" and Ukrainian band Bratya Karamazovy. Parts of the profits from the concerts were given to those who had suffered from the war, both Ossetians and Georgians.[6]

In May 2010 Shevchuk received considerable media attention following a pointed dialogue with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin in which he openly confronted him (on state television) with questions regarding such controversial topics as democracy, freedom of speech, assembly, and freedom of the press in Russia[7]. In 2017 interview he admitted that next day after dialogue he "got a call from United States Congress with an invitation to read a somewhat lecture..." and his answer was: "[we] will settle it by ourselves". He also stated that some of his requests were treated and processed by Kremlin administration[8].

On 25 August 2010, Shevchuk performed the Bob Dylan song "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" together with U2 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, the band's first ever concert in Russia.[9]

On 4 January 2011, Shevchuk was featured on the U.S. NPR Morning Edition radio program.[10]

Shevchuk singing on opposition meeting.

On 18 June 2014, during a concert at Green Theatre (Moscow), Yuri Shevchuk declared that all revenue from a concert will be contributed to "Dr. Lisa" fund as a help for injured citizens of Donbass.[11][12].

Solo discography (without DDT)Edit

Year Transliterated title Original title English translation Annotation
1982 "Cherepovetsky magnitoalbom" "Череповецкий магнитоальбом" Cherepovets magnitalbum magnitizdat
1995 "Kochegarka" "Кочегарка" Boiler room underground concert with Alexander Bashlachev in Leningrad on March 18, 1985
1998 "'82" "82 г." '82 post 1982
2001 "Dva Kontserta. Acustica" "Два концерта. Акустика" Two concerts. Acoustics post 1997
2005 "Moskva. Zhara" "Москва. Жара" Moscow. Heat underground concert in post 1985
2008 "L'Echoppe" "L'Echoppe" The Stall
2009 "Sol'nik" "Сольник" Solo a collection of poems, published by Novaya Gazeta


  1. ^ Своими глазами//Передача радиостанции «Эхо Москвы»
  2. ^ Мёртвый город. Рождество
  3. ^ a b "Личность - Юрий Шевчук. - Город.томск.ру". Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  4. ^ "Би-би-си - Россия - Юрий Шевчук: "Эти выборы мне не оставили выбора"". Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  5. ^ Bratersky, Alexander (2009-08-28). "Shevchuk Sings for the Preservation of Moscow". The Moscow Times. Retrieved 2009-08-29.
  6. ^ Timasheva, Marina (2008-09-24). ""Не стреляй!" Музыканты требуют мира". Svobodanews.ru. Retrieved 2008-09-27.
  7. ^ Schwirtz, Michael (31 May 2010). "Break in Protocol for a Rock Star With Putin". Retrieved 29 April 2017 – via NYTimes.com.
  8. ^ Шевчук - о батле с Путиным и войне в Чечне / вДудь on YouTube (in Russian)
  9. ^ "U2 Leader Bono Sings Duet with DDT Frontman Yuri Shevchuk at Moscow Concert :: Russia-InfoCentre". Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  10. ^ "Yuri Shevchuk: Russia's Musical Advocate For Democracy". NPR. 2011-01-04. Retrieved 2011-01-04.
  11. ^ "Группа "ДДТ" отказалась от "Осени" и перевела средства от концерта жителям Донецкой области". 19 June 2014. Retrieved 29 April 2017.
  12. ^ "ДДТ направит 500 тысяч рублей беженцам". dni.ru. 2014-07-05. Retrieved 2015-12-14.

External linksEdit

Interview with Yuri Shevchuk in: OLENA CHEKAN – The Quest for a Free Ukraine - Bohdan Rodyuk Chekan (Ed.), DER KONTERFEI 015, Paperback, English, 96 pages, 2015, ISBN 978-3-903043-04-6