In Russia, even people who show blank pieces of paper in public have been arrested in recent weeks. Anything that can in any way be construed as criticism of Putin will be punished. The singer Yuri Shevchuk seems to be able to escape this fate – for the time being.
It was a sensational performance. On the evening of May 18, Yuri Shevchuk addressed thousands of fans in the Russian city of Ufa and declared: “Friends, the fatherland is not the president’s ass that you have to hug and kiss all the time. The fatherland is the begging grandmother at the train station selling potatoes. That’s home.” Thunderous applause proved him right.
Yuri Shevchuk’s name is known to almost everyone in Russia. As the front man of the rock band DDT, which was one of the best-known bands of the Soviet underground in the 1980s and is still very popular today, he is a fixture on the Russian music scene. The appearance in Ufa was not the first occasion on which Shevchuk took a stand against Kremlin policy. In April, he refused to perform against the backdrop of a giant Z symbol in support of the Russian army. As a result, the concert was canceled by DDT.
But after the concert in Ufa, the singer got a visit backstage – from the police. The officers questioned him for an hour, he said later. But all they got was a lecture on war and peace, he joked in an interview with the Israeli radio station “First Radio”.
“In Ufa, I was detained and interrogated by six to ten people. I gave them a lecture and asked a question: If there is a new government, if there will be a change now, what will you do then? That makes them think After the interrogation, they took photos with me,” Shevchuk said, while making it clear that he also understood the police officers: “I don’t blame anyone, they have mortgages, orders.”
Court returns the case to the police
The police initially wanted to arrest the singer, but were finally satisfied with making a report, his producer reported. But now the competent court declined to investigate the case. “The protocol does not describe the course of events and does not contain any precise indication of exactly how public calls were made to obstruct the deployment of the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” the court said in a statement.
“As we understand it, the return of the case to the police is due to the fact that the protocol does not describe the administrative offence,” the Russian news agency Tass quoted the musician’s lawyer as saying. “That is, the document does not contain any information about my client’s specific actions or statements that could be considered public actions aimed at discrediting the use of the armed forces. If these deficiencies are not remedied, the case will be dropped. Otherwise, the court will examine them again,” the lawyer explained the circumstances.
In the social networks, critics of the Kremlin now scoff that the court probably didn’t want to prove that the fatherland is the president’s ass to kiss.
Nothing new in Russia
Shevchuk himself was not surprised by the whole affair. He knows similar procedures from the Soviet times. “The KGB once interrogated me about the love ‘Don’t shoot’. At that time I declared that I was against the war. Now, after the concert in Ufa, the same thing happened. They locked me in the cloakroom and interrogated me. In Russia you can enter the same river two or three times,” he told Israeli radio.
“Everything repeats itself. It’s the same questions, the same eyes and the same peaked caps. Only the design is different, but under the caps everything has remained the same.”