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WATCH: Zelensky music video shows Ukrainian president dancing in stilettos

Bruno Cooke March 1, 2022
zelensky music video

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A music video entitled Made In Ukraine, in which Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy dances while wearing stilettos and a shiny bolero jacket, has taken the internet by storm in recent days. What do some of its lyrics mean – and was Zelensky being serious?

Watch Zelensky dance in viral music video

In the music video, which Zelensky’s Kvartal 95 Studio produced in 2014, the now-Ukrainian president and three other men dance in high heels and what appear to be faux leather bolero jackets. 

The song’s name translates to Made In Ukraine, while the quartet apparently go by – or went by – Kazaky, a word that translates to ‘Cossacks’. 

The Cossacks, from the Turkic word kazak meaning “adventurer” or “free man”, are a group of mostly East Slavic Orthodox Christians who originated in the steppes of Eastern Europe. 

Watch the video below:

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It’s a parody

The music video, entitled Made In Ukraine, is labelled a “parody”. It appears to be a parody of a Ukrainian synth pop dance boyband (also called Kazaky) that formed in Kyiv in 2010.

Once, when performing a concert in Kyrgyzstan, 300 people protested against Kazaky “to defend traditional values”, as reported by Pink News

A similar story unfolded when Kazaky performed in the Russian city of Perm in 2013. 

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Photo by Aleksandr Gusev/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

Sputnik News reported at the time that a group of actual Cossacks (as opposed to the boy band Kazaky, whose name means Cossacks) “staged a noisy protest, yelling threats and homophobic insults and urging the club’s owners to cancel (the show)”.

Some of this may have had a bearing on Zelensky’s music video or, at least, it may provide context in which to embed it.

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What do the lyrics of Zelensky’s viral music video mean?

One Reddit user has posted their translation of the lyrics of Made In Ukraine from the music video.

“Let’s pour a shot of Martini,” starts the song. “For freedom, for destiny, for truth! One shot, two shots, three shots! For Yura, for Yulya, Dulya, for Lyashko!”

“Yura” may refer to Yuri Dolgorukiy, the Grand Prince of Kiev from 1149 to 1151 (and now the name of a Russian submarine); “Lyashko” might refer to Oleh Liashko, a former Ukrainian politician.

For a full translation of the lyrics, visit the Reddit post here. Alternatively, someone else has offered another translation in a comment on the YouTube video linked above.

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.