A choir in St. Petersburg has sparked controversy with a performance of a Soviet-era satirical song about a nuclear submarine attack on the United States.
The St. Petersburg Concert Choir sang the 1980 song in St. Isaac’s Cathedral during a concert celebrating Defender of the Fatherland Day, a holiday that honors Russia’s armed services every Feb. 23.
The lyrics translate in part: “On a nuclear-powered submarine, with a dozen bombs just under 100 megatons, I crossed the Atlantic and called up the gunner: ‘Point, Petrov, toward Washington, D.C.,’ I say.”
"Forgive us, America, good old America, but it was a shame you were discovered 500 years ago," the choir continued.
The St. Petersburg Concert Choir disabled the comment option on its social media page after being flooded with indignation, The Associated Press reported.
On Tuesday, the choir dismissed the criticism as “repulsive” and defended its performance as true to the original.
“We don’t rewrite the lyrics for the sake of political correctness or other state of affairs,” it said in a statement.
The video appeared around the same time that Russian state television identified several U.S. military facilities that Russia could target in the event of a nuclear war.
“To be honest, they shouldn’t have sung it in St. Isaac’s Cathedral,” Andrei Kozlovsky, the author of the song, was cited as saying by the Fontanka news website.
“Nothing good will come of it,” he added.