For a brief period in the early 90s, anything seemed possible for the pioneers of a new youth culture. But as a new film reveals, things didnt turn out quite as hoped
In 1991, the Soviet Union finally crumbled under the weight of its own contradictions. As the walls came tumbling down, it looked as though a space was finally opening up for young people to express themselves after the crushing conformity of the communist years.
For us it was awesome when the Soviet Union fell, because we could fool around, says artist Illya Chichkan. And thats exactly what we did. We experimented with psychedelics and psychotropics. We tried everything.
Rave promoter Artemy Troitsky was equally optimistic: It looked like the people best equipped for the new times [were] us, the young people, who knew capitalist culture, who were dynamic and ready for cultural change.
But things didnt turn out quite as hoped. The brief window of opportunity that followed communisms demise soon descended into the dangerous anarchy of unbounded capitalism. As for the stories of the cohort of Russians who attempted to articulate a new youth culture in those chaotic years, theyve become the basis for director Clayton Vomeros film 3OHA, which is about to receive its UK premiere at Sheffield Doc/Fest.
The first half of the film is dedicated to stories of what the 90s generation went through.
Troitsky, who became one of the nascent Russian club scenes key figures, recalls organising the legendary Gagarin party in 1991: I had been following the electronic scene in Riga, then Leningrad, then we brought the first rave to Moscow in December.