Russians (song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Russians Sting vinyl Commonwealth Realms.jpg
Standard 7-inch vinyl artwork (UK single pictured)
Single by Sting
from the album The Dream of the Blue Turtles
B-side"Gabriel's Message"
ReleasedNovember 1985
Producer(s)Sting and Peter Smith
Sting singles chronology
"Fortress Around Your Heart"
"Moon over Bourbon Street"

"Russians" is a song by Sting, from his debut solo album, The Dream of the Blue Turtles, released in June 1985, and released as a single in November. The song is a commentary and plea that criticises the then-dominant Cold War foreign policy and doctrine of mutual assured destruction (MAD) by the United States and the Soviet Union.


In 2010, Sting explained that the song was inspired by watching Soviet TV via inventor Ken Schaffer's satellite receiver at Columbia University:[1][2]

"I had a friend at university who invented a way to steal the satellite signal from Russian TV. We'd have a few beers and climb this tiny staircase to watch Russian television... At that time of night we'd only get children's Russian television, like their 'Sesame Street'. I was impressed with the care and attention they gave to their children's programmes. I regret our current enemies haven't got the same ethics."

Sting performed the song at the 1986 Grammy Awards. His performance of the song was released on the 1994 album Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume I.[3]


The song uses the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev,[4] and its lead-in includes a snippet from the Soviet news program Vremya in which the famed Soviet news broadcaster Igor Kirillov says in Russian: "...The British Prime Minister described the talks with the head of the delegation, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, as a constructive, realistic, practical and friendly exchange of opinions...", referring to the meeting of Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher in 1984. The Soviet leader at the time was Konstantin Chernenko.

Also in the background, communications from the Apollo–Soyuz mission can be heard.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Russians" – 3:57
  2. "Gabriel's Message" – 2:15
12" maxi
  1. "Russians" – 3:57
  2. "Gabriel's Message" – 2:10
  3. "I Burn for You" (live) – 4:40



Country Certification Date Sales certified Physical sales
France[5] Gold 1986 500,000 476,000


Chart (1985/1986) Peak
Australia (Kent Music Report)[6] 11
Dutch Mega Top 100[7] 8
French SNEP Singles Chart[7] 2
Irish Singles Chart[8] 11
Swedish Singles Chart[7] 16
German Singlecharts[7] 4
Swiss Singles Chart[7] 13
UK Singles Chart[9] 12
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[10] 16
U.S. Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks[10] 34

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Sting's Russians was inspired by illegal satellite viewings". The Daily Express. July 15, 2010. Retrieved August 14, 2012.
  2. ^ "Russians". Youtube. What struck me when I was watching these programs was how much care and attention and clearly love had gone into these programs. And these were our enemies, but they clearly love their children just like we love ours.
  3. ^ "Grammy's Greatest Moments, Volume 1: Various Artists". Retrieved November 21, 2011.
  4. ^ Gable, Christopher (2008). The words and music of Sting. ABC-CLIO. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-275-99360-3.
  5. ^ French certifications See: "Les Ventes" => "Toutes les Certifications depuis 1973" => "STING" (Retrieved March 24, 2009)
  6. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (Illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 295. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. N.B. the Kent Report chart was licensed by ARIA between mid 1983 and 19 June 1988.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Russians", in various singles charts, (Retrieved March 24, 2009)
  8. ^ Irish Single Chart (Retrieved March 24, 2009)
  9. ^ "UK Charts > Sting". Official Charts Company. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  10. ^ a b Billboard (Retrieved March 24, 2009)

External links[edit]

  • [1] - analysis of the song on Pop History Dig (Jack Doyle, "Sting: 'Russians', 1985,", April 30, 2009)