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‘Wrong’ to arrest rappers & ban concerts, but propaganda of drugs leads to ‘degradation’ – Putin

‘Wrong’ to arrest rappers & ban concerts, but propaganda of drugs leads to ‘degradation’ – Putin
Vladimir Putin dispelled Western media claims he’s at war with rap music. The president defended the artists, urging more delicate ways to tackle obscenities and drug propaganda in their songs than arrests and concert bans.

Rap music may seem an unlikely subject for the President’s QA session, but it’s now a hot topic in Russian society. Several hip-hop stars recently had their concerts outside Moscow and St Petersburg canceled at the last minute.

READ MORE: Putin’s 14th annual Q&A marathon as it happened

One of them, Husky, was even slapped with a 12-day arrest for staging an unsanctioned street gig after his show was called off. He was released after a few days though, due to public pressure.

When addressing Putin on the issue, an Interfax journalist decried the treatment of the artists. “I’m going to ask you about one word you already know – ‘rappers,” she said.

This made the head of state laugh as he could only wonder: “Why are you questioning my abilities like that?”

He assured that he knew the word for a long time and reminded that he even used to have a famous rapper, Timati, among his trusted representatives. Putin described him as “a nice person and a great artist” despite “being all covered in ink.”

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Taking up a more serious tone, the President agreed that arrests of hip-hop artists and concert bans “give the opposite result to the desired one. Nothing good will come out of it.

However, he pointed out that there was also “nothing good” about obscene language and propaganda of drugs in the lyrics of many of the rap songs.

“Why do we need our youths to use drugs and why should we indulge the propaganda of drugs? It’s degradation of society; degradation of the youth; degradation of the nation. Do we want to degrade? he wondered.

The state can’t look idly at such things, the president said, but added that it should be handled in a delicate manner.

Last week, the Western media made a huge fuss about Putin’s suggestion that if rap music couldn’t be stopped, then it should be taken charge of and directed in a certain way. Many outlets rushed to accuse the Russian leader of launching a “crackdown” or even an all-out “war” on hip-hop.

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But Putin clarified on Thursday that his words never meant that rappers should be “grabbed and forbidden from doing anything.”

“Other means are needed here. Do we have such means? Of course, we have. We need to… accurately and calmly promote the attractiveness of other values,” he said.

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