Vladimir Putin doesn’t want to ban rap in Russia, but control it to prevent “the degradation of the nation”.
The Russian president held a meeting with cultural advisors on Saturday (December 15) to discuss the official response to rap music following the arrest of popular and outspoken rapper Husky. A growing number of artists have had concerts cancelled recently, including gigs by pop star Monetochka and punk band Friendzona.
Putin told the forum during a live broadcast that rather than attempt to ban rap music, “we must lead it and direct it.”
“How to do this, how to take charge and guide in the necessary direction … that’s the most important issue,” he said.
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The president then explained that rap music is “based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest.”
“The biggest concern among all this is drugs,” Putin said. “It’s an obvious thing. This is the path to the degradation of the nation.”
He also promised that his ministers would discuss the subject at a later date.
The Russian underground rap scene has exploded in recent years with many artists gaining fans across the world. One of the most streamed tracks this year was ‘Medina’ by Kazakh rapper Jah Khalib.
Russian punk band Pussy Riot have been vocal critics of Vladimir Putin. In September, band member Peter Verzilov was hospitalised in a critical condition after falling ill in Russia. His friends and family, including fellow Pussy Riot members, suspected he had been poisoned, according to reports.
Verzilov fell ill after attending a court hearing for the group’s Veronika Nikulshina. He passed out and felt like he was losing his eyesight when he regained consciousness.