Blinken’s song choice raises eyebrows

US secretary of state and amateur musician Antony Blinken may have thought he had the perfect upbeat song to perform with a Kyiv bar band on his fourth visit to the capital since the conflict began in 2022. Strumming a red Fender guitar, Blinken and the local group 19.99 performed Neil Young‘s hit “Rockin’ in the Free World”, ostensibly to encourage Ukrainians to keep up the fight against Russia and hold to their Western aspirations.With its refrain “Keep on rockin’ in the free world“, Young’s 1989 song sounds like it should be an homage to the glory of living in the West, uncompromised by communism or authoritarianism. In fact, as numerous social media critics noted, the tune is a lament about despair and misery caused by homelessness, drug addiction and poverty in the celebrated free world. Kyiv-based analyst Oleksandr Kraiev said many Ukrainians were puzzled by his stop at Barman Dictat, which was seen as inappropriate by some, given the current fraught wartime climate.


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