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Putin to foot bill for touring artists?

Uncharacteristic move sees Russian president promise subsidised air fares for creative teams

By Anna Grace on 11 Jan 2019

Putin promises subsidised air fares for touring artists

The subsidies would alleviate artists of an "unbearable financial burden"

image © President of Russia

Vladimir Putin is known for many things, but his love of music isn’t generally one of them. For this reason, reports that the Russian president has supported the idea of subsidising flights for touring musicians may come as a surprise.

Putin is believed to have agreed to offer cheap flights to Russian artists flying with national airline Aeroflot. The decision comes following a meeting in which Valery Gergiev, artistic director of St Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre, drew attention to the high cost of flights for artists.

The subsidies would significantly reduce the cost for touring musicians in the country. Air travel has become an “unbearable financial burden” for artists and the music industry, said Gergiev, according to local media.

Air travel has become an “unbearable financial burden” for artists and the music industry

The Russian president has taken a heightened interest in his country’s music industry of late. In December – amid a nationwide crackdown that saw forced cancellations and arrests of artists, in an evocation of Soviet-era censorship – Putin called for authorities to guide the direction of Russia’s burgeoning rap scene, which he said is “based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest”.

“If it [rap music] is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it,” the president told advisors in December.

It remains unclear whether the flight subsidies extend to rap artists and other popular musicians, or if they are solely reserved for classical tours. IQ has contacted the Kremlin for more information.


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