Gorbachev Released An Album Of Ballads In 2009
Today is the 30th anniversary of when the council of the Soviet Union voted to dissolve the country. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev has had a strangely private life since that day. He has not been forced into the spotlight as a cheerleader for Vladimir Putin, and he has also not been quietly murdered for his repeated criticism of Vladimir Putin. Every time he returns to public view, the world is surprised that he's even still alive.
For example, who can forget the time that he starred in his own Pizza Hut commercial. This didn't exactly mark his return from obscurity—in 1997, it had only been a few years since he'd led the USSR, and just one year since he'd run for president. Run unsuccessfully; he came in seventh place.
Yes, Pizza Hut in Russia. It was true evidence that the communists had lost once and for all. And it was hardly the man's last brush with popular media. In 2009, he recorded a CD of him singing love songs. For music on the album, brought in Andrey Makarevich, the founder of Russia's oldest rock band, Mashina Vremeni.
Gorbachev's wife Raisa died of leukemia in 1999, within just two months of being diagnosed. The reason he recorded this album 10 years later was to raise money for a cancer research charity created in her honor. He went to London to auction off the recording, and he also performed a song live there. Yes, we do have a recording of him singing, and you can use it to guess the value of the remaining album with six other tracks.
Someone at the auction paid $164,940 for the only copy of Songs for Raisa. The bidder's identity has not been disclosed, and reports just refer to the bidder as "an anonymous British philanthropist." That's a fairly big amount to pay for an album, but it’s far from the most anyone's ever paid. Martin Shkreli famously bought the only copy of a Wu-Tang Clan in 2015, and this was then later sold for $4 million ... to an NFT collector, and we all know how much they understand the value of things.
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Top image: Boris Babanov