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Culture Ministry rejects Russian pop star’s proposal to increase music censorship

The actor and singer-songwriter Dima Bilan has offered to create a new government agency that would determine the quality of musical works before they are released, the BBC Russian Service reported. Bilan, who placed second in the Eurovision song contest in 2006 and won in 2008, argued for his proposal during a festival in Abu Dhabi.

“What’s happening right now in Western music is chaos. If we can somehow stick to our national traditions anyway so that we don’t fall into a pile of absolute trash and lawlessness, it might be worth putting together some kind of framework […] I’m open-minded, but what’s happening right now is overkill,” the musician said.

Amid a wave of incidents in which local law enforcement agencies forced the cancellation of major rap and pop concerts across Russia, the country's Culture Ministry rejected Bilan’s idea, calling it “a form of censorship.” The BBC Russian Service also reports that Boris Chernyshov, a Liberal Democratic Party delegate in the State Duma, wrote an open letter to the singer in which he argued that government ratings of Russian music would recall the artistic repressions of the Soviet era.