Mankind's only alternative 8   FEB.   23  
Mankind's only alternative

The Fall of The eXile For all those wondering what the "Save The eXile Fundrasier" banner is all about, here it is as simply as it can be phrased: The eXile is shutting down.
June 11, 2008 in eXile Blog

War Nerd: War of the Babies in Taki's Magazine The War Nerd talks about babies, the greatest weapon of the 20th century.
May 28, 2008 in eXile Blog

Kids, Meet Your President A website for Russian kids to learn all about President Medvedev's passion for school, sports and family.
May 22, 2008 in eXile Blog

Cellphone Democracy Cam If this girl was exposed to Jeffersonian democracy...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Dyev Photos Yet another hot Russian babe imitating the Catpower look...
May 20, 2008 in Face Control

Proof That Genetic Memory Is Real! Sure, the Ottomans shut down the Istanbul Slavic slave markets centuries ago...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Russia's Orthodox Church Youth Outreach Program The priest is going, "Father Sansei is very impressed with grasshopper Sasha’s...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

More Classy B&W Club Photos w/Russian Dyevs We took the Pepsi Challenge here...
May 15, 2008 in Face Control

Blogs RSS feed

Feature Story July 13, 2007
Russia's Mullet Revolution
By Yasha Levine Browse author Email

You thought it'd never come back. That it had passed into the dustbin of hairdo history, forever, first as an embarrassing fashion trend, then as grist for the irony mill. But you were wrong. Anyone living in Russia knows what we're talking about: The Mullet. It's back, it's everywhere, and it's bigger than ever, and more than anything, these mullets are 100% irony-free.

In the West, the mullet long ago became an overused hipster punch-line, with occasional sightings on road trips through flyover country. But not here. The mullet continues to thrive in every nook and corner of the Third Rome, especially in the capital. It stares out at you from pirate DVD kiosk windows and the passenger seats of Shawarma Shuttles. You see them everywhere: ordering oysters in high class restaurants, riding the metro, loitering around the Manezh, and, yes, enjoying the heated embrace of Russian babes.

The Russian mullet is not like the Western mullet. It lacks irony and it is here to stay. Infecting cities, towns, and villages alike, the Russian mullet signifies style and sophistication. It's mutated into several sub-species, depending on your social class.

There's the "Manager Mullet," the most popular of all. This is a low-key moderate mullet in which the back-fin extends just a bit down the neck. It's almost an I-don't-really-have-a-mullet mullet, or an I'm-making-my-best-mullet-attempt-even-thought-I-don't-have-time mullet.

Stand outside of any Moscow club, and you're bound to see the ever-popular "Fag Nation Mullet": buzz-cut on sides, hair gelled into a rooster fin on top, and a long tail of messy curls in the rear. The more flamboyant ones even have razor designs in the sides.

Student-types from the non-elitny tusovka have something between the Manager and the Fag Nation, indulging their fashion flair by playing with the temple region: throw in the gel, grow out the bangs, shorten the sides, and get more party space in the back.

As last weekend's Avant Music Festival - which Mudhoney headlined - proved, even Moscow's indie scene is mullet-heavy. Case in point: The bass player from Moi Rakety Vverk, the indie band that also opened up for Sonic Youth a few weeks back, proudly rocked a Giddy Lee-mullet. And these are the kids that are trying to import Western irony to Russia!

Racing jacket-wearing bidlo types are also experimenting with the mullet, accessorizing their closely-cropped hair with mullet drapes down the neck.

In spite of the mullet's unprecedented popularity, most Russians, including progressive indie scenesters, know very little about it. Is there a Russian word for the mullet? Is a mullet by any other name really a mullet?

To understand the Russian mullet, you have to go back to the early 1980s, to the beginning of Russia's "rock renaissance." Specifically, to Viktor Tsoi, the legendary dead front man of Kino, who sported a classic 80s I-used-to-be-stadium-rock-but-now-I'm-New-Wave mullet of the sort you'd see on a Steve Perry of Journey or a Billy Squier. The mullet somehow vibed with Tsoi's Asiatic features (he was half-Korean) and immediately spawned a trend among his millions of fans.

When the Soviet Union broke up in 1991, the mullet collapsed like so much inefficient state industry, giving way to the worst of the West's imports: the eurofag techno hairstyles of the 90s. Like, who can forget the Caesar?

The 21st century mullet got its start in Eurofag techno culture. According to Julia Mashnich, editor of the Russian version of Numero magazine, a French high fashion glossy, mullets made a worldwide comeback around 2001, at a time when 80s retro was becoming ironically cool. That trend didn't last long.

"As a general rule, hairstyles do not stay fashionable for more than a year," Mashnich told The eXile.

Except in Russia. By 2004, even as the cheesiest eurofags in Italy and England reshaped their mullets, here the mullet-craze was just warming up.

SHARE:  Digg  My Web  Facebook  Reddit
Browse author
Yasha Levine is an editor at The eXile. You can contact him at

The eXile Guide to Aging :
Field Guide To Moscow: Conditus Vodkibus :
Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday :
Male Purse Holder
Field Guide To Moscow: Cashilokius Nongayicus :


Save The eXile: The War Nerd Calls Mayday
The future of The eXile is in your hands! We're holding a fundraiser to save the paper, and your soul. Tune in to Gary Brecher's urgent request for reinforcements and donate as much as you can. If you don't, we'll be overrun and wiped off the face of the earth, forever.

Scanning Moscow’s Traffic Cops
Automotive Section
We’re happy to introduce a new column in which we publish Moscow’s raw radio communications, courtesy of a Russian amateur radio enthusiast. This issue, eXile readers are given a peek into the secret conversations of Moscow’s traffic police, the notorious "GAIshniki."

Eleven Years of Threats: The eXile's Incredible Journey
Feature Story By The eXile
Good Night, and Bad Luck: In a nation terrorized by its own government, one newspaper dared to fart in its face. Get out your hankies, cuz we’re taking a look back at the impossible crises we overcame.

Your Letters
Russia's freedom-loving free market martyr Mikhail Khodorkovsky answers some of this week's letters, and he's got nothing but praise for President Medvedev.

Clubbing Adventures Through Time
Club Review By Dmitriy Babooshka
eXile club reviewer Babooshka takes a trip through time with the ghost of Moscow clubbing past, present and future, and true to form, gets laid in the process.

The Fortnight Spin
Bardak Calendar By Jared Lindquist
Jared comes out with yet another roundup of upcoming bardak sessions.

Your Letters
Richard Gere tackles this week's letters. Now reformed, he fights for gerbil rights all around the world.

13 Toxic Talents: Hollywood’s Worst Polluters
America By Eileen Jones
Everybody complains about celebrities, but nobody does anything about them. People, it’s time to stop fretting about whether we’re a celebrity-obsessed culture—we are, we have been, we’re going to be—and instead take practical steps to clean up the celebrity-obsessed culture we’ve got...


    MAIN    |    RUSSIA    |    WAR NERD     |    [SIC!]    |    BAR-DAK    |    THE VAULT    |    ABOUT US    |    RSS

© "the eXile". Tel.: +7 (495) 623-3565, fax: +7 (495) 623-5442