Government plan to ban emo and goth music
Russian lawmakers propose to ban teenage subculture rock music styles such as emo and goth from the country’s schools. Emo music fans in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk protested against the ban on 19 July 2008.
Emo has come to Russia – and its leaders want no part of it. The music style and fashion is considered a threat to national stability. The Moscow Times reported in July 2008 that members of the lower house of the Russian parliament, (the Russian State Duma deputies), Public Chamber members and social conservatives have hammered out legislation aimed at heading off the spread of emo culture, which they describe as a “dangerous teen trend”.
In June 2008, they held a parliamentary hearing on a draft of proposed amendments contained in a document called ‘Government Strategy in the Sphere of Spiritual and Ethical Education,’ a copy of which was obtained by The Moscow Times. The newspaper reported that among other measures, the proposed legislation calls for heavy regulation of emo web sites and for banning young people dressed like emos from entering schools and government buildings.
The legislation proposals are to be examined as draft laws over the next months, and the bill’s sponsors hope that it will be passed into law by the end of 2008.
The Moscow Times quoted drummer Dmitry Gilevich, 21, as saying:
About the music genre
Born out of “emotional hard-core” punk and rock in Washington D.C. (and undergoing a rebirth in 2000), emo culture arrived in Moscow in 2003 after droves of young Russians began downloading foreign music on the internet. Bands like The Used and Finch were on heavy rotation at Funkysouls.com. Created in 2005, a website such as www.emokids.ru has 6,000 registered members in its forum and gets more than 500 original hits per day.
Emo music is popular across Russia, where there are also regular media reports that the movement encourages suicide.
Death of a teenage girl
According to the Russian Government Strategy document, the “negative ideology” of emo culture may push young people toward depression and social withdrawal, and the movement carries a significant risk of suicide, especially for young girls. The bill also outlines what it calls a “spiritual and ethical crisis” facing Russian youth, including the high rate of alcohol abuse, teen abortions and “negative youth movements.”
Emo ideology encourages and justifies drug use and sexual relations among minors, according to the bill, which also lumps emos and goths together with skinheads. In November, the Novgorod regional education department issued a letter to all schools in the region with a description of emo culture, saying the “dream of every [emo] is to die in a warm bath from the blood of cutting their wrists.”
Ponkin said emo kids exchange photographs showing off their slashed wrists. “This type of behavior is a crucial part of emo ideology,” he said.
“Of course there are emo teens who just listen to their music. But our actions are not directed at them but rather at those who also hurt themselves, commit suicide and promote those acts,” Ponkin added.
Subcultures help children mature
Inna Cherkova, who has worked with local teenagers, including emo kids, for 15 years.
“Many subcultures can, in fact, help children mature into adults”, psychologist Alyona Filippova told the newspaper. “Many kids seek those with the same perspective and problems and, through this, they can enter general society,” Filippova said.
Guitarist of Maio Band who claims to be founders of the emo community in Russia
The Moscow Times – 17 July 2008:
‘Black Bangs, Piercings Raise Eyebrows in Duma’
Gigwise – 17 July 2008:
‘A History Of Emo Music’
AFP – 20 July 2008:
‘Siberian emo fans protest planned ban: report’
The Guardian – 22 July 2008:
‘Russia wages war on emo kids’
Similar issues around the world
About emo music in Russia – video on YouTube
Russia Today – 16 August 2007:
More video clips…
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