Iosif Kobzon and Chechnya


Iosif Kobzon and Chechnya Chechen people knows Iosif Kobzon, People's Artist of the Soviet Union and the deputy of the Lower House of the Russian parliament. He has staged concerts more than once in Grozny since early sixties and paid private visits to his friends there. When a ten-day Russian arts festival held in Grozny in 1964 he sang "The Song of Grozny" which is still popular in Chechnya. Iosif Kobzon was awarded the title of honoured artist of the Checheno-Ingushetia for his active participation in concerts in the republic. This was his first title.

Iosif Kobzon says that he likes Grozny because famous dancer Makhmud Esambaev lived there. He describes him as his elder brother, friend and the loving dancer. The two famous men, singer and dancer, were close friends for more than 30 years. Iosif Kobzon remembers with pleasure how he and Makhmud Esambaev visited Grozny market, which was filled with the fragrance of fruits and hot bread. He talked with ordinary farmers and paid extra money for goods they bought. He always points to the hospitality of people sincerity of local people. He usually staged concerts at the Summer Garden or in the Philharmonic Hall in Grozny. After the concert his local friends organized parties with barbecue and vine.

According to Kobzon, there was a friendly atmosphere and he felt that he was a citizen of a great country and all people were his relatives. Iosif Kobzon describes the events in Chechnya in the past ten years as a tragedy. He staged concerts in Grozny's only survived stadium during the breaks between the fighting in 1996 and 98. After his songs he heard machine gun fire instead applauds. The audience expressed their enthusiastic appreciation. Iosif Kobzon feels very sorry for Grozny of which he sang a song. He does not like to speak about the destroyed city. He remembers the warm, comfortable and peaceful city where he heard the noise of the River Sunzha when he opened the windows of his hotel in the summer nights.


© 2007 Chechen Republic Online