Kremlin reveals if Putin plans to meet Kanye West
The Kremlin has rejected claims it is working to help US hip-hop icon Kanye West touch down in Russia for a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, as well as stage a series of performances and pursue his business interests.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked about a number of recent reports that the rapper, who legally changed his name to Ye in 2021, was planning a high-level visit to Moscow.
According to him, “I don’t think that the presidential administration is the executor vis-à-vis ... the organization of his trip.”
When asked whether he or the president himself is familiar with the rapper’s activities and musical output, the Kremlin press secretary replied that his knowledge was “not in such depth as to make an assessment.”
Peskov’s comments come the day after Billboard reported on West’s purported plans, citing his close adviser, Ameer Sudan, who claimed that the artist was planning a trip to Moscow for later this year. The rapper’s confidante said that the ‘Gold Digger’ singer will make “a second home” of Russia, and that he “will be spending a lot of time out there.”
The publication stated West’s intentions to meet with Putin, adding that he had even invited the Russian leader to attend one of his ‘Sunday Service’ shows in Moscow.
As per the report, West is also said to be eyeing up pursuing business ventures with Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire property tycoon Aras Agalarov and his musician son, Emin. The adviser said that any deals West makes with the Agalarovs would add billions of dollars to his wealth. In 2021, Forbes estimated his net worth to be around $1.8 billion.
In the absence of any official statement from the star himself, people close to the rapper and beyond chimed in to discuss his alleged business plans in Russia. West’s PR representative, Pierre Rougier, dismissed the claims, telling Rolling Stone magazine that the story was “entirely fabricated. [A] work of fiction or wishful thinking from these Russian people.” Yet, publicist Rob Goldstone, a person believed to be close to Russian mogul Emin Agalarov, said he could “confirm there are talks going on,” but stopped short of providing any further details.
In November last year, the rapper declared himself ‘Young Putin’ during an interview appearance with Revolt TV’s ‘Drink Champs’ podcast. “I used to say I was Young Vladimir until I realized I was Vladimir. You know the moment when I realized it was? When I realized culture is an oil, culture is an energy. And I’m the king of culture, for the past 20, and the next 2,000 years,” he said.
Putin, however, is understood to be no fan of rap music, having said in 2018 that the genre was “based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest.” The Russian leader also told cultural leaders that “if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it.”
The rapper’s religious faith has long been a recurring theme in his music. In 2019, the artist released his ninth studio album, ‘Jesus is King.’ Six years prior, he released ‘Yeezus,’ a play on the name Yesus or Yeshua – variations of Jesus. The album features a song titled “I Am a God.”