Russian musicians urge Putin to stop flooding radio with patriotic songs

Government plans to promote 'ideologically correct' pop stars

Musicians and music industry figures in Russia have written an open letter to President Vladimir Putin asking him to stop plans to turn the nation’s radio network into a state-owned platform for patriotic music.

As the Guardian reports, Russkaya Media Group – which owns several of the country’s biggest radio station – is set to be sold to governmental company Goskontsert, who have detailed plans to launch a “music holding with a patriotic direction”. They have also expressed desire to promote “ideologically correct” pop stars.

Russkaya Media Group producer Vladimir Kiselyov recently told the Kommersant newspaper that he wanted to “sort out” radio, calling for the reduction of Western music. “We want them to play Russian artists,” he was quoted as saying.

However, singers such as Grigory Leps and opera soprano Anna Netrebko have opposed the plans, arguing that the current radio climate is “patriotic enough”.

The letter also suggested that Putin’s position was being used to intimidate Russkaya Media Group into selling their company.

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Meanwhile, former Sonic Youth musician Thurston Moore recently spoke in interview with Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina for NME.

Alyokhina was one of three members of the Russian punk protest group jailed in 2012 for a guerrilla gig and anti-Putin protest at a Moscow church.

Moore cited the treatment of the group in Russia as a reason “why punk is necessary”. He continued: “It’s a societal alternative. If you live in a society with issues around free expression punk is really radical. It’s inherently radical. In Russia they put you in jail for being punk.”

Alyokhina echoed Moore’s sentiments. She stated: “[The government] control everything. We have to do what we should do. We are women and with women anything can happen.”
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