References

References were a vital component of our project. We marked up every reference which we were interested in throughout our corpus, classifying them based on content, and used data mining techniques to pinpoint data such as the frequency of a certain reference class, which types of reference classes occured frequently in close proximity, and which artists used which reference class most frequently.

The left box provides a list of each reference type that we marked up, which can be clicked to active the right box. The right box provides a brief description of each reference type, along with a series of links to relevant moments in our corpus.

Scroll through this box to view descriptions of each reference type, along with a list of each line in which that reference type appears, and a list of songs in which that type is the primary reference.

Click any line below to jump to the song in which it appears.

alcohol

These artists see alcohol as one of the main problems afflicting their community. Promoting total abstinence, they attempt to create a social stigma surrounding all uses of alcohol by repeatedly describing all the negative consequences and condemning anyone who drinks as a lazy alcoholic.

Songs about alcohol

ancestors

These artists, like Nationalist rhetoric in general, regard ancestors with the utmost respect, looking up to them as role models for young people today. They most commonly portray them as strong warriors who defended the Motherland in the context of WWII and farther back from other invasions from the South and East. War is seen as a continual threat, so young people need to continue the warrior tradition of their ancestors in order to defend their homeland.

Songs about ancestors

collective

Collective strength and unity stand as the ultimate goal of individual self-improvement. Acting as brothers, each member must act for the benefit of the group—"One for all and all for one."

Songs about collective

death

These artists consider death at the hand of drugs and street violence deeply shameful and distressing but regard martyrdom for the Motherland as noble and heroic.

Songs about death

drugs

Like alcohol, these songs portray drug abuse as an enemy that has corrupted society. This includes any use of marijuana, as well as harder recreational drugs. They scorn drug users and dealers for their weakness and damaging behavior, while acknowledging the appeal of selling drugs due to the lack of other prospects for employment. They emphasize the negative consequences on family and friends, attempting to make drugs look as unappealing as possible.

Songs about drugs

economy

These artists blame corrupt politicians for destroying Russia's economy with rampant inflation and money laundering. They constantly lament the economic injustice of families who can't feed their children and war veterans who can't heat their homes in order to invoke anger in listeners and motivate reform of the system.

Songs about the economy

faith

Faith complements strength as one of the most important personal qualities. Personal faith in God, the nation, and the future nourishes the soul and enables personal growth.

Songs about faith

family

The nationalist ideology presented in these lyrics upholds family as one of the highest values, as the fundamental unit of the collective and the nation as a whole. Affectionate terms for "brother" and "kindred" addressing listeners and fellow Slavs project the unconditional love and sacrifice that unite the family onto the nation as a whole. Families should be racially pure, passing down the biological and cultural values of the Slavic people that grant each member the capacity for great strength of body and soul. However, this family structure is being threatened by substance abuse and immigration.

Songs about family

folk

References to Slavic folk traditions, including superstitions and fairy tales, idealize the Slavic past in an attempt to revive the cultural practices and create ethnic solidarity around a common background.

This is not the primary reference in any song

foreigners

Though there are few direct references to foreigners, the few mentions of them, as well as the nationalist rhetoric outside of these songs, exhibit strong xenophobia. Regarding any other race as inherently inferior to the Slavic people, they accuse foreigners, mostly from the Caucasus, of infringing on their land, taking their jobs, and seducing their women. Especially because it is unclear how Nationalists would like to deal with foreigners and immigrants, these ideas are often kept quiet in order to avoid trouble.

This is not the primary reference in any song

home

As the context for all life experience, the native city, neighborhood, and apartment comprise a fundamental aspect of personal and collective identity. References to these places point to a common past among listeners and highlight the ubiquity of societal decay.

Songs about home

homeland

The lyrics repeatedly praise the Homeland, also calling it the Motherland and Fatherland. These terms reveal the ancestral connection through the land that bestows strength and ethnic identity upon the Slavic people. Like their ancestors, Slavs must fight to defend their unquestionably inherently holy Motherland.

This is not the primary reference in any song

ideology

These artists consider their Nationalist ideology to be the truth that will spread among millions if only they get the word out.

This is not the primary reference in any song

immigrants

Nationalists generally blame immigrants from the Caucasus for infringing on their land, taking their jobs, and seducing their women.

This is not the primary reference in any song

love

Compared with almost any other genre of music, there are surprisingly few references to romantic love in these artists’ most popular songs.

Songs about love

media

These songs remind listeners of the widely accepted criticism that the news on TV and the radio is manipulated by those in power.

This is not the primary reference in any song

nature

Frequent references to seasons, weather, and other aspects of nature emphasize the connection between the listeners and the natural world, ultimately serving to root their identity in the land of their ancestors.

Songs about nature

other race

Other inferior races mainly include immigrants from the Caucasus as well as the Gypsies and Jews who have shared the land for hundreds of years yet remain very segregated. And no matter how long they stay, Nationalists believe that people of any other race will always be infringing on their Motherland and corrupting it with their “rotten genes.”

Songs about other race

police

Worse than the average criminal, Russian police most clearly embody the political corruption, openly taking bribes and enforcing the law only when it suits their purposes.

Songs about police

politics

Like most Russians, these artists have lost all hope in the political system. They present politicians as entirely corrupt, "dogs" that take advantage of their power to embezzle money and manipulate the law for personal gain.

Songs about politics

race

Race, inherited by blood, primarily defines each person’s capacity for moral uprightness and personal worth.

This is not the primary reference in any song

religion

Russian Orthodox Christianity serves principally as a cultural tradition and also establishes some moral values. Misha Mavashi makes a point of taking music videos and photo shoots in front of Orthodox Churches to create a distinctly Slavic image that reinforces ethnic pride and adherence to cultural traditions. There are a few criticisms of corruption in the church, but that is blamed on a lack of true faith in God. They regard God as a vague supernatural figure who grants strength to those who have faith. References to the Bible, including the name 25/17 itself, treat the book as a spiritual guide.

Songs about religion

russia

The vast expanse stretching from the Dnieper River to Eastern Siberia has lost its former glory, but as national identity is rooted in the land itself, Russians carry the responsibility to revive their Motherland from affliction.

Songs about russia

russian race

The Russian race usually refers to the ethnic sub-group of the Slavic race native to what is now the Russian Federation. In some cases, the term is used to emphasize a fundamental difference between the Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarusian ethnic groups, but most often serves to distinguish White Russians from the immigrants and foreigners whom they portray as the enemy. What seems like innocent patriotic love for the Russian people often implies intolerance towards other nations.

Songs about the russian race

sex

Sexual promiscuity, especially for money, is greatly despised.

This is not the primary reference in any song

slavic race

While Slavs are generally thought to include most of the peoples native to Eastern Europe, many Russians, including these artists, use it to refer to just the Eastern Slavic peoples: Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians. They consider themselves descendants of the Rus’ people from around the 10th Century.

This is not the primary reference in any song

soul

A vaguely religious concept, the soul constitutes the core of a person, nurtured by faith to build character. It is closely tied to the heart, which produces emotions. Slavic people are considered to be especially warm-hearted and soulful. Along with the body, strength of soul characterizes ideal members of the Slavic race.

Songs about soul

sport

Misha Mavashi in particular promotes physical fitness as a more socially acceptable alternative to drugs and alcohol. The cultivation of physical strength complements spiritual strength to develop true Slavic character.

Songs about sport

strength

In nationalist rhetoric, one unique advantage characterizes each nation—for some it's cleverness, agility, or creativity, and for the Slavic people, the advantage is strength. Historically, they emphasize the resilience and brute military force that enabled them to withstand numerous invasions and hardships, to singlehandedly win World War II, and to become the strongest world power during the Cold War and at the height of the Soviet Empire. When individuals and the community as a whole reawaken their inner strength, the Slavic nation will regain its power.

Songs about strength

system

These artists are skeptical of the system of power that controls the economy, media, and most importantly, does nothing to address the rampant social problems.

Songs about the system

tobacco

Like all other addictive substances, these artists urge their listeners to completely abstain from smoking and fight the peer pressure in order to keep their bodies strong.

This is not the primary reference in any song

usa

Even though Rap music originated among minority communities in the United States, after the turn of the century the genre started losing many of its ties to American pop culture. The group 25/17 pioneered much of this change with their song “Be White,” which urged Russian rap artists not to imitate American rappers. Communities of rap artists and listeners in cities all across the former Soviet Union now look to Moscow as their cultural center. Furthermore, these artists are reacting to the growing popularity of emigration to the US, chastising emigrants as betrayers of their homeland.

This is not the primary reference in any song

violence

Violence usually refers to the disordered fighting that occurs on the streets often surrounding use of drugs and alcohol, very different from the structured opposition of war. These artists blame the violence on these substances and their abusers, as well as on immigrants who have no respect for the country that is not their own.

Songs about violence

war

More than anything else, these songs use references to war to accentuate the struggle between good and evil. Frequent metaphors of ideological weapons, battles, and victories urge listeners to view anyone around them with a different lifestyle, origin, or set of values as an enemy. The Slavic people must be strong and courageous to defend their nation from enemy attacks, which can be anything from alcoholism to Russian emigration to growing immigration from the Caucasus. Literal references to past wars, especially WWII, also emphasize the need to be prepared to defend the homeland from future invasions.

Songs about war