According to a new report by the independent television station RTVI, the Kremlin is responsible for coordinating the “Nashestvie” (Invasion) music festival, which wraps up on August 5, and views the event as a way to mobilize “grassroots patriotic” musicians. “The Kremlin decided against artificially manufacturing heroes for the country’s youth, and they’re trying to find ready-made ‘stars’ there [at the festival], and then produce them,” RTVI says.
The government supposedly placed its highest hopes in Elizaveta Gyrdymova — aka “Monetochka” (Lil’ Coin) — but the musician suddenly dropped out of the concert last month, as a wave of entertainers said they’d rather not perform for organizers with close ties to the Russian Defense Ministry. According to RTVI, Nashestvie’s organizers see Monetochka’s exit as a “smart PR stunt.” “We’re applauding her and laughing,” the festival’s media director, Sergey Gorbachev, told the network.
The Kremlin supposedly hopes to crown new music celebrities through the “VysotskyFest” tournament, which will hold its semifinal round at a special stage at the Nashestvie festival. Putin endorsed the contest in January 2018, and his deputy chief of staff, Sergey Kiriyenko, apparently adores Vladimir Vysotsky's music. (The Kremlin appreciates that Vysotsky appeals both to patriotic and opposition-minded Russians.) A source close to the Putin administration told RTVI that Kremlin officials hope someone like Monetochka will win the tournament. “Her lyrics are loaded with patriotism, but it’s sincere and it wins you over,” the source said.
The Nashestvie festival typically has traditional, patriotic overtones. Last year, for example, ahead of Russia’s presidential election, at the Kremlin’s suggestion, the organizers staged a “joke rehearsal” for the vote, electing Leningrad front man Sergey Shnurov as the festival’s president. Ella Pamfilova, the head of Russia’s Central Election Commission, personally verified the results.