Mikhail Gorbachev (former president of the USSR)
To me, Iosif Kobzon’s work is, above all, the story of several generations of our vast Motherland, told with great emotion and skill. He can rightly be regarded as one of the founding fathers of the culture of Soviet song, a remarkable phenomenon both then and now. Everything that Kobzon sang and continues to sing - from triumphant festival marches and spirited pop songs to the most lyrical songs and folk tunes – it’s all an essential part of the musical biography of our multi-ethnic Fatherland. That’s probably the key secret to the singer’s enduring popularity. When each of us listens to him, we recognise something that belongs to us, something close to us, something that touches the soul. I would sincerely like to wish Iosif Davydovich many more years of creative achievement.