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Russian state must “lead and direct” rap music, says Putin

Amid growing censorship of Russian rap artists, Vladimir Putin has ordered advisers to devise a means of controlling hip-hop music.

Alarmed by the burgeoning popularity of rap among Russian youth, the president says the state must shape the direction of urban music in the country, while warning that an outright prohibition on rap performances could actually bolster the genre’s popularity.

“If it [the growth of rap music] is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it,” he told cultural advisers on Saturday (15 December), according to AP.

Putin further noted that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest”, adding that his government is especially concerned with “drug propaganda”, which  “is a path to the degradation of the nation”.

“If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it”

Putin’s intervention follows a crackdown by authorities on urban music in Russia, with various security agencies accused of pressuring artists and promoters to cancel planned hip-hop shows.

Husky, one of Russia’s most popular rappers, was this week jailed for 12 days for his impromptu, unsanctioned gig in the city of Krasnodar, which followed the cancellation of an official concert for alleged “extremism”.

According to AP, Husky climbed onto a car, surrounded by hundreds of fans, and chanted, “I will sing my music, the most honest music!”, before being taken away by police.

Other rappers forced to cancel shows in recent months include Gone Fludd and Allj, while authorities have also targeted punk bands such as Friendzona.


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