Russian Factory Workers Beg U.S. to Lift Sanctions in Rap Video: 'I Have Kids to Upkeep and a Young Wife to Maintain'

Workers at an automotive factory in Russia have released a rap video pleading with the U.S. government to lift its sanctions on their country because they are facing job losses.

The employees work for a GAZ Group plant that manufactures vehicle engines. The rap song, written to the music of Coolio's "Gansta's Paradise," is sung by various workers from the GAZ owned motor plant in Yaroslavl.

Ilya Bondarenko, one of the workers involved, uploaded the video to his YouTube channel on Tuesday. Bondarenko wrote on YouTube that he has worked at the factory for eight years and that he is proud of it. Now, his livelihood is under threat from U.S. sanctions.

In April 2018, the U.S. added GAZ Group to its sanctions blacklist over Russia's annexation of Crimea and its backing of separatist rebels in Ukraine. GAZ is majority owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, a target of American sanctions.

Deripaska told Bloomberg recently that GAZ may soon go bankrupt because of the sanctions and that the Russian government could have to step in to nationalize what is the country's largest private automaker. The sanctions are costing GAZ customers, he said.

Bondarenko wrote on YouTube that he has a mini-studio at his home and is a years-long fan of rap music. He came up with the idea of writing a rap song for his factory to help them in their fight against the sanctions.

"I understand that this is all politics, and I do not want to get into it," Bondarenko wrote, adding that "we all just want to work quietly" and his colleagues were all supportive of his idea.

He added: "We hope that they will hear us and will calmly work in their own factory. Americans say that sanctions are not directed against ordinary people. But it is not so! I want as many people as possible to see our video."

Russia sanctions US factory rap video YouTube
A still from the anti-sanctions rap video by workers at a GAZ Group-owned automotive engine plant in Yaroslavl, Russia. YouTube/Ilya Bondarenko

In the video, workers around the factory sing about their dismay at the sanctions and ask what will happen to them if they lose their jobs.

One worker raps: "I was doing my job, putting engines together. All was basically cool till I heard from my neighbor. That this trouble has come from where no one could guess in the form of some sanctions from the goddamn U.S.

"I have kids to upkeep and a young wife to maintain. I pay a mortgage and stuff, I MUST bring home pay. We are hundreds of thousands like that, now what?

"After sanctions we all will end up overboard. We make motors for transport, there's no drive without us. We give life to the car, and the truck and the bus. We are hundreds of thousands like that, now what? Automotive industry will lose all support?"

During the chorus they all sing: "Is there anyone who will hear us? Save GAZ! Save GAZ! Come to the rescue of the working class. Save GAZ! Save GAZ! Is there anyone who will hear us? Save GAZ! Save GAZ! Come to the rescue of the working class. Save GAZ! Save GAZ!"

Gaz Group and the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond immediately to Newsweek's requests for comment.

Russian Factory Workers Beg U.S. to Lift Sanctions in Rap Video: 'I Have Kids to Upkeep and a Young Wife to Maintain' | World