FRIENDZONE / Vkontakte
Russian ‘Anti-Dealer’ anti-decadence movement, in concert with government and cultural authorities, has shut down a tour of a teenage, rap group that it says promotes unhealthy lifestyles and false values. The move comes as the Russian Orthodox Church claims a bigger role in Russian society.
On November 12, Friendzone was supposed to perform a show in Krasnoyarsk, but the authorities showed up an hour before soundcheck and escorted tour manager Anastasia Zaitseva to the district attorney’s office. Zaitseva told Meduza that City Hall officials demanded the cancellation of the concert, “without presenting any related documents or court orders,” and accused organizers of labeling the event with the wrong parental advisory (the concert was listed as appropriate for individuals age 12 and older, instead of adults only). On Vkontakte, the group said it tried to raise the age advisory or find another venue, but it came up with nothing. “At the last minute, we found a venue at ‘Dozhd Studio,’ but the prosecutors popped up again and took our tour manager and the club’s art director down to the station,” Friendzone said in its statement, reported Russian independent news outlet Meduza.
On November 13, the Krasnoyarsk social movement “Anti-Dealer” announced on Vkontakte that it had managed to “block” Friendzone from performing locally, thanks to “coordinated action with the police, the district attorney’s office, and the Culture Ministry.” The online community said “singing to children about drugs, same-sex love, and depravity is a crime against the nation,” calling Krasnoyarsk “a city with strong moral standards that was the first to fight against the propagation of unhealthy lifestyles and false values.” The Vkontakte post also cites a few examples of allegedly objectionable Friendzone lyrics, including “Crocodile Boy sells heroin to the kids,” “I’ll teach your little sister to smoke,” and “Kids are cutting themselves to my rhymes.”
“We used to fight only with rappers who openly promoted drugs. We never even suspected that this is already being promoted among children,” Podbornykh says. “[In Friendzone’s songs,] they sing about kids who are made of pills. Kids in school will hear this and think: ‘Well, why not?’ I’ve got a son in grade school right now, and I wouldn’t want him hearing this stuff. In the Russian Orthodox Church, they were pretty shocked by such music.”
The Kremlin has fostered religiosity as a desired value among Russian society and has allowed these type of parental, cultural groups to monitor what is taught to Russian youth. Moscow famously passed the ‘gay propaganda’ law last decade which forbids the teaching of homosexual lifestyle to children.