“Some people may feel burned out by the war topic, but that does not stop the war,” Eugene Hütz tells HollywoodLife in an EXCLUSIVE interview. For over twenty years, Eugene and the rest of Gogol Bordello have followed their namesake, Nikolai Gogol, and “smuggled” Ukrainian culture into mainstream culture the way Nikolai “smuggled” Ukrainian culture into Russian society. It’s bittersweet that in 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. And though the war has been bumped from trending topics and the opening slot on the evening news, it’s still going on. To help remind fans of the fact, Eugene has put together an EXCLUSIVE playlist of Ukrainian artists and music written in support of Ukraine’s efforts to repel back the invading forces. ‘
Editor’s Note: Eugene included Pete & Lou Koller’s “God Save Ukraine,” which isn’t on Spotify. Best to buy a copy on Bandcamp and help support. We’ve embedded it here after the playlist.
“Ukraine is acting as a shield to all of Europe,” he tells HollywoodLife, “and as you know, the US and Europe are essentially the same civilization with pretty much the same lifestyle and values, on which Russia looks with animosity. Realize this and protect yourself by helping Ukraine, do simple helpful things like donating money, and continue to remind others that it is well worth their empathy. Especially your influential friends.”
“Also, since nothing is going according to their plan, Russians are already trying to reinvent their wretched image for after the war era by acting as victims of the regime,” he tells HollywoodLife. “Make no mistakes about it, it’s not just Putin, it’s the collective Putin, which is more dangerous. 95% of them deeply believe that Ukraine should not exist. What you can do is to realize this fully and act accordingly.”
Eugene arrived in Vermont in 1992 after many years of living a nomadic life in Ukraine. His family fled their hometown following the Chernobyl disaster, and when they made their way to Kyiv, his parents hid their Rama ancestry. Ultimately, his family found their way to Burlington. When he sought his fortune in New York City, he formed Gogol Bordello. In the twenty years since its formation, the band has released seven studio albums and has developed a following both overseas and here in the United States.
When asked if the U.S.’s response to the crisis surprised Eugene in any way, he says he was “not surprised, but impressed, yes,” by the public response. “A whole family of well-known musicians and artists were very quick to respond, and people organized benefits all over the country,” he tells HollywoodLife. “The administration’s support has been unwavering, although maybe not always as speedy as it could be. But it is all very much appreciated.”