‘Russia Today’ chief editor says the Kremlin helped free a rapper from jail
On Monday, November 26, a district court in Krasnodar overturned the 12-day arrest of the rapper Dmitry Kuznetsov, better known as “Husky,” and the performer was promptly released. According to Russia Today chief editor Margarita Simonyan, Husky has the Putin administration to thank: the jail sentence apparently angered “two or three” Kremlin officials, and they intervened in the local courts. A source close to the Putin administration later confirmed this rumor to the independent television network Dozhd.
In August, Simonyan similarly implied that officials in the Putin administration contributed to the pretrial release of Anna Pavlikova (a teenager detained in the controversial criminal case against the “New Greatness” extremist movement).
Kuznetsov was arrested in Krasnodar late on November 21, after police reportedly hounded him out of two venues and pressured organizers into canceling a scheduled concert. In the end, he tried to perform for a crowd of die-hard fans atop a parked car, but that’s when officers moved in and dragged him downtown.
Regional officials reportedly warned venue owners that Kuznetsov’s lyrics are under investigation for potential extremism, particularly when it comes to disseminating harmful information to minors about drugs and suicide. Husky says police in Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, and Perm are also planning to ban his concerts. Earlier this month, YouTube made one of his music videos unavailable in Russia. (It features a lot of violence and some drug use.)
In mid-November, Meduza reported on a growing backlash in Siberia by parent groups, supported by local police, against hip hop concert performers. For example, the cities of Krasnoyarsk and Kemerovo banned shows by the St. Petersburg group “Friendzone.”