The Beatles had a rocky relationship with Russia, and other Soviet states during the Cold War. Their music was forbidden. The Kremlin considered it dangerous, but that didn’t stop clever comrades from bootlegging whatever sounds they could get their hands on.
Some say The Beatles did more to speed the breakup of the Soviet Union than anything else.
Well, The Beatles broke up in 1970 and the Soviet Union broke up 20 years later. But Russia’s love-hate relationship with the Fab Four seems to continue. Russia’s drug czar Yevgeny Bryun recently blamed the country’s rampant drug addiction problem on the Fab Four.
He said Russia’s current rampant substance abuse problems can be traced right back to the Beatles’ use of psychedelics. In an conspiracy-laden explanation, Bryun recently said that “after the Beatles traveled to ashrams in India to expand their consciousness, they introduced the idea of changing your mental condition through drugs to the populace.”
Bryun went on to say that “When business understood that you can sell it all – pleasure and things that accompany it,” that was the beginning of Russia’s drug problem.
A stretch, perhaps, but Russia does have a serious drug problem.
“Russia has one of the world’s most seriously deteriorating drug situations,” said Louise Shelley, director of the Terrorism, Transnational Crime and Corruption Center at George Mason University.
She said Russia went from a problem before the Afghan War, of a country with relatively small drug use (because it was a country that was alcohol dependent), to now having millions and millions of drug addicted people out of a population of 140 million.
“It’s a tragic trajectory for a country,” she said.
But why would Russia’s top drug official blame this on The Beatles?
“I have no idea,” Shelley said. “In the past, they’ve often criticized the United States that we haven’t done enough to stop the flow of drugs out of Afghanistan. Because approximately a quarter of the drugs now exiting from Afghanistan go through Central Asia, on up to Russia. And then they go across Russia to the east and the west, creating drug addiction all across these routes.”
So are the Beatles the latest drug scapegoat for Russia?
Judging from the YouTube video (below), this appears to be a soloist with a Russian navy choir singing “Let It Be.” Apparently not all official circles in Russia still demonize the band.
Subscribe and follow The World’s Global Hit