By Onyinye Ugwu
Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin is moving to “take charge” of rap music in the country after government authorities cracked down on a number of concerts across the country.
“Rap and other modern forms of art are rested upon three pillars – sex, drugs and protest,” President Putin said during a meeting of the Presidential Council for Culture and Art in St Petersburg. “I am most worried about drugs. This is the way towards the degradation of a nation.”
Putin’s comments came after one of Russia’s most popular rap musicians, Husky, was arrested and his concert cancelled of his concerts. Husky had attempted to host an impromptu gig on the roof of a car after his concert at a local venue was shut down for containing what authorities called “extremism.” He was sentenced to 12 days in jail, but released early following outcry from fans.
The President also announced that the Kremlin would hold talks on regulating the power nation’s rap music scene, demanding Russia’s arts sector “take charge of it”. He said: “If it’s impossible to stop something, you’ve got to take charge of it. “How to do this, how to take charge and guide in the necessary direction. That’s the most important issue.”
This latest crackdown is similar to what happened during the Soviet-era c when popular Western music was banned and rock musicians faced persecution. The leader of the Kremlin has long had a hostile relationship with musicians. Throughout the 2010s, punk group, Pussy Riot, has become internationally famous for clashes with the government that resulted in two members getting harsh prison sentences.