Russia: Punk fans and bands claim to be persecuted and silenced



Punk fans and bands claim to be persecuted and silenced

Is the Russian punk band PTVP censored from radio and tv because of their anti-government stance, or simply because they play aggressive punk music? The debate is rolling in the media in August 2009

In July 2009, a number of punk music fans allegedly were added to the Russian government’s extremist list, and supporters of punk groups were placed under police surveillance. Similarly, the punk band PTVP complained to the news agency AFP of being marginalized on television and radio because of their political views.

The punk band PTVP was founded in 1996 in the small town of Vyborg near Russia’s border with Finland. Several times over the years, police have rushed the stage and stopped concerts after the band’s front man Alexei Nikonov sang about Vladimir Putin. Once in Vyborg he was hauled off to jail before being freed without charges.
In August 2009, the news agency AFP (Agence France-Presse) published a story by Alexander Osipovich about PTVP (abbreviation for The Last Tanks in Paris). He mentions PTVP’s song entitled ‘FSB Whore’ (referring to the Federal Security Service, successor to the KGB) in which the lyrics say:

He always lies to you
Just don’t listen to him
A pig will always find mud to roll in

“It is mostly provincial towns that are afraid,” Nikonov told AFP.

Punk music has been more or less entirely removed from the Russian media since Vladimir Putin’s first term as president in 2000. Though critics say this has got nothing to do with censorship.

One of France 24’s observers, Yuri Jakor, explained that the situation has got nothing to do with politics. Yuri Jakor is a political activist from the pro-Kremlin youth movement Nashi who lives in Russia’s punk capital, Saint Petersburg, and he reported to France 24’s website The Observers:

With lyrics like “Just don’t listen to him; a pig will always find mud to roll in…”, it is no surprise that punk band PTVP can’t be found on Russian tv.

Even Russia’s biggest punk band, Grazdanskaya Oborona has never been shown on tv. The only punk you’ll see on air is bands like Korol I Shut [a pop-punk band who sing about vampires and mythology]. That’s not real punk.

PTVP and the band’s front man Alexei Nikonov have an anti-government image because that’s how they make a living.

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24 France – 21 August 2009:

‘Putin’s not a fan of punk rock’

AFP – 16 August 2009:

‘Russian punk rockers rage against the Putin machine’

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