Childhood and Youth
Alexander Volkov was born on October 24, 1988 in Moscow. The boy's family was athletic: his father was fond of rowing, his mother was engaged in competitive sports before her marriage. Therefore, it is not surprising that Sasha himself grew up as an active child.
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Alexander Volkov as a child with his younger brother
When his school announced an enrollment in the karate section, the boy rushed to sign up for classes, where he achieved good results. But one day a mother came to practice and was horrified that her son was being "beaten" by much older guys. So she scandalously took Sasha away during the fight, and for 2 months the teenager was ashamed to return. It took years to catch up.
Despite his passion for sports, Volkov did not forget about his studies. He studied at the Lyceum of Physics and Mathematics and won numerous Olympiads. Therefore, when it came time to choose a university, the young man applied to the University named after Nikolai Bauman.
Alexander was afraid that because of his studies he would have to say goodbye to sports, but on the basis of the institution worked a karate section. In parallel, the guy attended boxing training. All this allowed him to become a member of the Russian team Red Devil.
Elite university and professional sports
A huge amount of serious information was dumped on a freshman's head. Thoughts began to arise of leaving training and performing at competitions. After six months, it became clear that it was possible to cope with the curriculum. He began to have some free time.
On the fourth year of training Alexander began to be engaged in fights professionally.
To trainings on karate boxing and hand-to-hand fight were added. Training in martial arts brought him into contact with many coaches. Including Vladimir Voronov - the promoter of mixed martial arts in Russia.
Alexander was invited to the training camp and offered to enter the team Red Devil. In April 2009, Volkov won the first rated fight, a fee of 5,000 rubles.
Approximate schedule of the day was as follows:
- 5:30 - rise and breakfast.
- 6.00 - first training session.
- 8.30 - start of the first couple at the university. Snack at lunch break. Classes in the library.
- 18.00 - second training.
- 21.00 - return home. Preparing for class.
- Lights out no earlier than 24:00.
Later in interviews Alexander said that such a regime allowed him to manage to do almost everything. Influenced the sports career had training and sparring with the legendary Fedor Emelianenko.
Mixed martial arts
After joining the ranks of Red Devil, Alexander began his professional career in mixed martial arts. His first fight under the MMA rules took place in the second round of M-1 Challenge: 2009 Selections in St. Petersburg. The guy managed to knock out Nikolay Pleshakov and became the winner.
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UFC fighter Alexander Volkov
He continued to compete and managed to reach the final of the Russian team championship, where he defeated Ibragim Magomedov by unanimous decision of the judges. The athlete's advantages were a wide arm span, accuracy and ability to think through combat tactics.
In 2012 Alexander signed a contract with American Bellator, which represents the best MMA fighters. During his cooperation with the promotion he won the heavyweight title, which he lost after his next fight with Russian Vitaly Minakov.
However, these defeats didn't prevent Volkov from getting a contract with the UFC, which he joined in 2021. Alexander managed to record spectacular wins over Roy Nelson, Stefan Struve and Fabricio Werdum, but lost to Derrick Lewis, who knocked him out in the final seconds of the fight.
This defeat shook the emotional state of Volkov, who was sure he was in great shape to win. After that, he began to have health problems, which caused the man to return to competition only a year later. His appearance in the ring was a triumphant one, ending with a victory over American Greg Hardy.
In June 2021, a significant fight of the athlete's career took place, in which he faced Curtis Blades. He had to train under quarantine because of a pandemic coronavirus infection. The man was at the cottage, where he did cross country and strength training, but could not find sparring partners.
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Curtis Blades and Alexander Volkov
The win could have helped the athlete get closer to a title fight, but he ended up losing by decision of the judges. Later, the trainer said that the man lacked a few seconds to win because his opponent was already exhausted and began to miss punches.
Russian viewers were unhappy with Volkov's behavior in the first rounds, during which he mostly defended himself and almost never tried to attack. They advised Alexander to switch to basketball or quit the sport altogether.
The negative public reaction did not break the man's will to win. He continued to train hard to prepare for duels. The athlete and now shares his successes on his Instagram page, where he publishes photos from his personal life as well.
Already in the fall of 2021 the fighter's tenacity and will to win gave its fruit. In the fight with Walt Harris within the UFC 254 tournament the Russian managed to apply a front kick after which he began to finish his opponent. The judges awarded the loss to the American by TKO.
With the same result Alexander finished his fight with Alistair Overym at the beginning of 2021. Alexander also got a bonus for that performance. His winning streak was interrupted by the defeat of Cyril Gan of France - this time the judges decided the outcome of the fight by unanimous decision.
- Many of the athletes have tattoos on their bodies. It is not always the wish of the "wearer of the cloth" that the pictures are tattooed. Sometimes tattooing is a necessary requirement to gain access to certain benefits. In one interview, Alexander's wife said that Bellator MMA, the leading organizer of mixed martial arts fights in the world, refused to sign a contract with a Russian fighter for an interesting reason. The Americans did not like the fact that the athlete entered the fight without a catchy picture on his skin. We had to please the hosts of the sporting organization.
- Alexander Volkov had a chance to become a global movie star, starring with Sylvester Stallone in the Hollywood blockbuster "Creed 2". The Russian was auditioning for the movie. It did not work out. Producers gave preference to the Romanian boxer F. Munteanu.
- Until the age of 18, Alexander Volkov suffered from bronchial asthma. After entering "Baumanka" it was an obstacle for him to go to the soccer and athletics sections. Doctors refused to issue a certificate of readiness to practice sports. I had to fight and become a martial arts star.
- On September 2, 2021 Volkov fought the Dutchman Stefan Struve. The fight was unique in that the overall record height of the fighters was 415 cm. At the same time the Russian had "only" 201 cm. It did not prevent him in the third round to send 214 of Dutch centimeters to the horizontal and make the victory by knockout.
Alexander Volkov is a core member of the Strela Team fighters
The personal life of the athlete was successful. He is married to a woman named Vita - co-owner of the dental brand Dental Volk Technologies.
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Alexander Volkov with his wife and sons
Now the couple is raising two sons, the age difference between them is 3 years. Vita gave birth to her youngest child prematurely - as it turned out, the pregnancy had complications and the doctors decided to operate on the fighter's wife in the 36th week.
They caught up and overtook. How did Tatu become international stars and why is Russia still crazy about them?
Since the release of the debut Tatu album "200 oncoming traffic" more than 20 years have passed, the duo does not exist actually a decade, but the fate of Lena Katina and Yulia Volkova, the details of their relationship and creative path are worried Russians as if no less than in the early 2000s. In June, blogger Ksenia Sobchak released a documentary in which she discussed with the soloists and the creator of Tatu Ivan Shapovalov how ethical were the music videos and the existence of the group in general. At the same time, Volkova attracted a lot of attention with her grotesque (and unsuccessful) attempt to break into the politics of the Ivanovo region. "Lenta.ru recalls the most controversial, scandalous, and provocative moments from the life of the legendary group and explains why the discussion of the Tattoo's Queerbait is meaningless today.
It is common to remember the political actions of the Tatu soloists as something incredibly cool, often ignoring the fact that the underage members of the duo in these performances were just a tool in the hands of producer Shapovalov. In 2003, Tatu, who went to conquer the U.S., took the stage on the Jay Leno show wearing T-shirts with the slogan "*** [Dick] War!"
"Vanya was explaining that destruction in itself is bad and that we could do something big, something great, that everyone would freak out. If we come out in T-shirts that say '*** war,' that's political tactics practically. And that we have a chance to make a lot of people look at the situation differently, to change something on a global scale," Katina recalled.
In the States, against the background of the invasion of Iraq by the United States forces to overthrow the government of Saddam Hussein, an active anti-war campaign had already started, in which many stars took part, but the Russian singers' dirty slogan, whose image of lesbian schoolgirls was very provocative even in the West, had a bomb-blasted effect. "Then someone whispered in someone's ear what was written there, translated verbatim. We were forbidden to wear these shirts, and on the next show (The Jimmy Kimmel Show - Lenta.ru). Lenta.ru
Lenta.ru), we wore Censored shirts. But the campaign has already gone, was already sold everywhere," - recalled Lena Katina.
Photo: Yuri Martyanov / Kommersant
Katina, in fact, started her collaboration with Shapovalov with a political song - "Yugoslavia". The singer was 15 years old at the time, and the producer was looking for a "girl who would sing about the war" for his project. All this against the background of the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia during the war in Kosovo.
You're going down in flames, Yugoslavia! Without me! Without me! Without me!
Sobchak's interview also revealed details of the extremely unfair pay of the soloists. The concert schedule of the singers was so intense - sometimes two, sometimes three concerts a night - that they didn't even have time to get an education. "I was in 11th grade, and it was only thanks to the principal that I graduated from that school. Because since February I was on tour", - said Katina.
At the same time, the artists' fees were ridiculous - at first they were paid $100 per concert, later, after complaints, the amount was increased to $300. "But still, due to the number [of concerts] it was a huge amount that girls and boys our age could not even imagine what it looked like. And then, when discussions of the contract began, the lawyers were brought in, and then quite different conditions began," Katina stressed.
Incredible popularity of underage artists in the noughties in Russia had big risks: the girls were attempted not only by stalkers-fans, but even by criminals. Volkova recounted one such case - "Tatu" came to perform at a corporate party in the Moscow region: "We worked off, dressed, getting ready, security guards with us, the director is ours. Knock on the door, come in, they say: "Che, leave already, yes? Director, security guards say, "Well, yeah." "No, you go, and the girls stay here." And we are 15-16 years old. We can hear it all at the door."
The principal says to them, "You know, the girls are 15-16 years old, what can they do?" - "Well, nobody cancelled the oral methods."
The director's connections saved the artists from abuse - the issue was resolved thanks to another criminal authority who persuaded the girls to let them go.
At the peak of Tatu's fame, in 2004, producer Ivan Shapovalov started a gamble, making a reality show out of the recording of the group's new album. The project was filmed at the Pekin Hotel in Moscow. It was assumed that Tatu would record the next record live on the STS TV channel. However, from a creative residence, the hotel turned into a drug den.
"You go to record a song, and there sits 30 unknown people, one in the corner, the second almost hanging out the window, the third syringe gets out of the bag," - recalled Volkova.
Photo: Oleg Buldakov / TASS
Katina has already told about what happened in the hotel earlier in 2004 - in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda, she said that Shapovalov surrounded himself with a "crowd of sticklers," who "noodle on the ears and bring spliff.
Only stoned, stoned faces - and no work. One person from the team leaves, then another, then we write, then we don't...
After the failed project, the soloists of Tatu broke the contract with Shapovalov. The band still existed for a while and even released a few albums, People with Disabilities (and its international version Dangerous and Moving), which, however, did not repeat the success of the previous release, and even less famous Jolly Smiles. In 2009, representatives of Tatu announced that the singers were going to start a solo career.
Sexual objectification, in fact, became the basis of the popularity of "Tatu". As it turned out from Sobchak's interview, more often Shapovalov resorted to her through Volkova, who he knew, unlike Katina, would not refuse him for sure. For example - he asked to really masturbate in front of the camera for the filming of the music video "Simple Movements".
According to Volkova, who was 16 or 17 at the time, Shapovalov called her to work on a music video in his hotel room, saying he had a "genius idea." "Imagine your young man is a camera. You sit down and start loving yourself. But you have to cum. Imagine that your beloved man is looking at you," the singer recalled the producer's words.
Shapovalov left Volkova alone in the hotel room with the camera on for two hours. When he returned, he reviewed the tape and demanded another take: "He said: "That's not fair. You played it, it didn't work. Do it again."
According to the singer, she realized that the producer would stand her ground until she got the right footage: "Anyway, I made it through. Turned on all my resources."
But this, as it turned out, was not the hardest test that awaited Volkova: during a concert in Japan Shapovalov ordered her to fake masturbation right on stage. "Vanya said: "Before the 'Simple Movements' song, you're going to sit on stage in front of 50,000 people, stick your hand in your jeans and start masturbating." That's where I realized the camera was the easiest thing to do," she recalled.
That was the hard part. But of course I did it. 50,000 people. I did it, but it was hard for me in the moment.
It was in this sexualization of images of lesbian schoolgirls that Shapovalov actually saw the main thing of his duet, and it is from this that he has been pushing almost since the founding of Tatu. It all started when Shapovalov showed Katina and Volkova the Swedish film "Show Me Love" (Fucking Åmål) about the romantic relationships of two schoolgirls from a provincial town. The producer called the tape "a good story to put into the works and make a name for yourself.
Katina doesn't remember Shapovalov saying at the time that the vocalists of Tatu would portray lesbians. Before the fateful hit "I went crazy" they had already recorded several songs - the producer was looking for a suitable style for the girls. "I remember when he came over and he put the song 'I'm Crazy' in the car - a demo. I don't remember who sang it, maybe Lena Kiper recorded the demo. And he goes, 'Well, do you hear how cool it is?" - the singer recalled.
Shapovalov announced that the girls would have to kiss for the music video right before the shooting - those at first thought that the producer was joking. The music video for the song "I've gone crazy" was filmed on Khodynka Field in Moscow in "terribly cold" weather. On top of that, Shapovalov decided to pour cold water on the singers. "Vanya explained that cold water was necessary so that we wouldn't overdo it. We had no experience in filming, and he needed some intense emotions," Katina explained.
We couldn't film the kissing scene. When we started kissing, we laughed. Vanya got terribly angry. In the end we never finished shooting and our distance from each other is a rewind of the same shot
Photo: Chris Polk / FilmMagic / Getty Images
Shapovalov emphasizes that he has never announced that his charges are lesbians (that is, he has not lied directly to the audience), but it is the aggressive queerbaiting that is at the root of the group's phenomenal international success. Third place at Eurovision, the MTV Video Music Awards, appearances on American television, millions in sales of the English-language album 200 km/h in the Wrong Lane, and, of course, the impact on global show business.
Everyone, with very few exceptions, took it as a masterpiece
Britney Spears and Madonna kissed after us!
And when you see the reaction of people around you, when you see that all of a sudden all of a sudden you became popular and fans come to you - how can you not believe the person who invented all this?
Over time, in the West, where Tatu made such an incredible breakthrough for both Russian show business and the LGBT community, began to treat the duo much more critically: the fact that the singers positioned themselves as lesbians was declared, for example, "the main queerbait scandal of our time."
The Russian duo has surprisingly pioneered both the aggressively sexual advancement of the topic of non-traditional orientation in world pop music and queerbait; and the influence of Tatu on the LGBT community has been incredibly powerful. "Do you know how many LGBT suicides there are? How many people have taken their own lives just because they thought there was something wrong with them. You can't even imagine how many letters there are to us from different people: "You saved my life! Thank you!" Why it went that far was the real story. Often it all comes down to the sexual component of our project: "Ah, lesbians! Ah, the kissing! And the gays over there...and so on." That's not what the project is about. The project is about love," Lena Katina explained in an interview with Sobchak.
After Tatu, the Western pop scene has been filled with pop singers with queer hits about kissing girls and real LGBT pop icons, while the strange Russian duo is only rarely mentioned in articles to criticize the duo for pretend lesbianism. In Russia, on the other hand, the group remains incredibly popular despite its breakup more than ten years ago, and there is certainly no question of any serious debate about the ethics of the Tatu queerbait - simply because, given the country's current aggressive anti-LGBT policy, there has been virtually nothing more sincere on the Russian pop scene in 20 years than two schoolgirls pretending to be lesbians.