Russian bands benefit from concerts in support of the invasion of Ukraine – Billboard

The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to a deep schism among local musicians. While critics of the war find it difficult to perform – or voluntarily refuse to do so – supporters of the invasion benefit from playing government-sponsored “national” concerts.

With the 100th day of the biggest conflict in Europe since World Word II, during April and May, local authorities organized dozens of concerts across Russia in support of Russia’s “military operation” in Ukraine. Artists participating in these performances were paid exorbitant fees by local authorities.

folk rock band Pelagia She raised 3 million rubles ($49,000) for participation in the National Music Festival in Stavropol, southern Russia, on May 1, and the singer Denis Maidanov 2.5 million rubles ($40 thousand) were paid for participation in the same event, according to the Russian state procurement website, in which all expenditures must be reported from central and local budgets.

Artists’ fees for regular shows in Russia are not usually disclosed, but it is believed that these figures are higher than regular fees.

The administration of Maidanov and Pelagia did not respond paintingRequest comments.

Russian artists on the other side of the spectrum – those who opposed the invasion – found themselves in an entirely different situation.

rock band Nogu SveloHonesty, tops Maxim PokrovskyHe finds it impossible to play in Russia now.

“Some of our colleagues like to declare a readiness to provide entertainment for everyone, regardless of their opinions, saying they are out of politics,” Pokrovsky says. painting. “I am not prepared to entertain anyone who supports the extinction of a people stained with blood in my veins, or the extinction of anyone at all,” says Pokrovsky, who was outside Russia when the invasion began on February 24. It has no plans to return in the near term.

Since the conflict began, Pokrovsky has released several music videos, in which he sharply criticizes Russia for attacking Ukraine and the Russians who supported the attack.

He dreads the idea that people who support what Russian authorities continue to call a “special military operation” could appear at his band’s concerts.

Now, he says he fears he will be arrested if he comes to Russia to perform. The Kremlin recently adopted legislation providing a harsh sentence of up to 15 years in prison for those who criticize the military operation in Ukraine – and Pokrovsky’s songs technically violate this law.

Yevgeny Fedorovgang leader Tequilagas And the Optimystic orchestraHe also left Russia days after the invasion, as did many of his colleagues who opposed Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“This is exactly a war, and it is unacceptable, completely shameful and evil, because it is justified by far-fetched reasons and imperial fantasies based on myths that were born in the Soviet era and have grown incredibly powerful thanks to the continuous efforts of official Russian propaganda in the past twenty years,” Fedorov says. painting.

“Hundreds of artists have been forced to leave Russia, because any explicit comment can lead to a long prison sentence, harassment from pro-Putin activists and even physical assaults,” he says.

Among the first Russian artists to speak publicly was Myron Fyodorov, a rapper known as OxxxymironAnd the who canceled He made his first tour in Russia in five years, then gave three shows in April under the theme “Russians Against War” in Istanbul, London and Berlin, respectively, where he raised $195,000 that was donated to the Ukrainians. It is now on hiatus and His website He doesn’t offer any other dates for the tours, just saying “no to war”.

Recently, a veteran rock band DDTits attacker Yuri Shevchuk She opposed the war, canceled several shows – in Chelyabinsk and Magnitogorsk, and this week, a show at the Moscow Stadium was scheduled for June 10.

“DDT takes a strong anti-war stance,” the band said in a statement posted on its website. Because of this, the organizers were unable to obtain permission to run the show from the Moscow government.

The band refused to play in venues decorated with the letter “Z”, which has come to symbolize support for the invasion.

Shevchuk himself faces civil charges over anti-war comments he made at a recent show in Ufa. The charges were brought by local authorities and the case is still pending. Shevchuk did not deny making these comments.

As the war in Ukraine enters its fourth month, the division remains sharp between pro- and anti-invasion musicians. At the same time, a third group of artists avoided taking sides in the conflict for fear of losing opportunities to win over or support their fans.

“Some people keep quiet and do it for different reasons,” Pokrovsky says. “Some are in real danger, barely surviving but still making statements [about the situation], walking on the edge of the abyss. Yet others sit in a pit full of food, money, and prizes, hoping to sit through tough times.”