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Rap music is increasingly popular in Russia — and it has Vladimir Putin concerned

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 7, 2018.
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a press conference in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Dec. 7, 2018. EPA/MAXIM SHEMETOV / POOL

Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, popular music.

Putin says “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.”

But Putin said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.

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Putin noted that “rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest.” But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying “this is a path to the degradation of the nation.”

He said “drug propaganda” is worse than cursing.

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Putin’s comments come amid a crackdown on contemporary music that evoked Soviet-era censorship of the arts.

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