Current Events Russia

Turn of Events: Three Recent Developments in Russian Culture

Although each one of these events deserves its own post, the fact that they’ve happened in rapid succession means that they will have to be aggregated together.

January 13, 2022

Released onto Apple Music Russia, the 16-song album entitled “After Russia” feature artists who have left Russia and have used their emigration as thematic fuel for their music. Featuring well-known popular music emigres such as Noize MC (Ivan Alexandrovich Alekseev), the rock group Tequilajazzz 1993-), Montetochka (now considered a foreign agent along with others like Oksimiron), and the Indi-rock group RSAC (late 2000s-), the album is a testament to the power of displacement and the tangible influences of war upon the creativity of musicians. It also speaks to the intrinsicality of music making in the processing of complex and highly traumatic experiences, an unsettling link between first-wave Soviet emigres like Sergei Rachmaninoff, writer Leonid Pasternak, opera singer Feodor Chaliapin, philosopher Pitirim Sorokin, painter Wassily Kandinsky, and Igor Stravinsky (otherwise known as the White émigré) and the painful reality of present-day Russia (for a fascinating article, see Horowitz, 1993). The album has been given its own website and fuller project, and the poetry used by the artists stem from those from the “unnoticed generation,” first-wave émigré writers who were all but forgotten within the Russian world.

This album will have its own analytical blog post in the days coming.

January 14, 2022

In a drastic turn of events, the internationally recognized Soviet rock journalist (and catalyst for the Soviet discotheque movement) Artemy Troitsky, has now been recognized as a foreign agent by the Ministry of Justice. Joining the ranks of Russian dissidents, Troitsky’s role in arguing for the validity of rock expression stems way back, in the 1980s running up against the government for his liberal attitudes towards the genre. As reported by Fontanka (a very well-known source for reporting of social and cultural issues such as this), the list was also recently updated with the names of other cultural figures like Montetochka (Elizaveta Andreevna Gyrdymova) and five others, including an unknown organization. The original concept of the “foreign agent” status came from the Federal Law No. 327-FZ, ratified in 2017 and given the official name of “On Amendments to Articles 10-4 and 15-3 of the Federal Law “On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection” and Article 6 of the Law of the Russian Federation “On Mass Media.” While the official website version cannot be accessed in the States, you can view the list here. On December 1st of 2022, the Ministry of Justice had begun to publically list them.

January 19, 2022

Roskomnadzor (the fancy abbreviation for The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, founded by Dmitry Medvedev of all people), had previously released a list of qualifications to their anti-LGBT propaganda law, of which went into effect December 5th of 2022. Some context is helpful. A law such as this has been on the books since 2013, although secluded only to minors and not the general public. The definition stressed “anti-traditional” as the main element of the law. However, with the updates, not only has the age-restriction been lifted but the wording of the offense changed to include “[non-traditional] preferences and gender reassignment,” piggybacking off the gender-bending trend in the West. As reported by the Tinkoff Journal, while the bulk of the law has not changed, sex change discussion and operations are not outlawed, while two new articles were added. However, the update here is the drafting of anti-LGBT by-laws for the internet realm, of which is to be submitted by the 23rd of this month. Among the many stipulations include positive coverage of sex change among other things. This is not slated to have an immediate effect but the invocation of such measures say a lot about Russia’s current war against Western cultural development. I can’t say that I wholly disagree.


A Cursory Glance at the Musical Culture of Ufa

The paper version can be found by downloading this file:

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