Russia: City bans heavy metal music in caf

31 May 2010
Authorities in the West-Russian city of Belgorod has banned performances of heavy metal music in a bid to “save the city’s youth”.

Governor Evgenie Savchenko in Belgorod, situated 500 kilometres south of Moscow, wants to “promote the suppression of satanic activity,” and to ensure “maintenance of spiritual safety of the Belgorod region.”

His city made headlines in the global news stream when a Russian newspaper reported that the head of the Consumer Market Department in Belgorod Municipality, Vladimir Shatilo, now has enforced the governor’s request to refuse to host any performances of heavy metal music in cafés, clubs and restaurants by distributing a written statement to them.

Vladimir Shatilo explained that the initiative was supported by religious organisations and the city administration. Another regional official refered to a publication by professor Kondratieff from Serbsky Psychiatric Institute, who had concluded that heavy metal music “has an ideologically destructive effect on people”.

Storm of protest
The ban was met with a storm of protest from the leaders of Belgorod clubs and musicians, who soon plan to conduct a number of concerts in this music style, according to the daily newspaper Kommersant.

A local club owner, Oleg Proskokov, told the newspaper that he planned to hold a number of rock events in the near future and that any officials who tried to interfere would get a “punch in the face”.

Alexander Naumenko, a lead singer in a local rock group, said the campaign reminded him of the “worst aspects of the Soviet system” when Communist party officials sought to tightly control the kind of music people could listen or dance to in public.

Belgorod has previously introduced fines for public swearing, restricting the number of people on the town’s dance floors, and for waging a campaign against Valentine’s Day.

Officials of the Regional Department of Education, Culture and Youth Policy of Belgorod, however, said that the govenor merely had asked the region to pay closer attention to unruly youth practices.


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Newizv – 20 May 2010:

‘Белгородскому хэви-металлу наступают на горло’

The Moscow Times – 21 May 2010:

‘Belgorod Fights Satan With Music Ban’

Daily Telegraph – 20 May 2010:

‘Russian town to ban ‘satanic’ heavy metal’

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