Putin spoke out after nationwide concert cancellations by venue owners and local authorities and the brief arrest of a popular rap artist, Husky.
Speaking at the advisory council on culture and the arts, he said: “If it’s impossible to stop something, you’ve got to take charge of it.
“How to do this, how to take charge and guide in the necessary direction. That’s the most important issue.”
Putin’s comments came in response to a statement about rap concert cancellations made by music producer and member of the advisory council Igor Matvienko.
Among the rappers that young people fear are being censored is Husky’s concerts whose songs have at times been critical of the government.
He said his concerts were under pressure because authorities objected to lyrics they found offensive.
After his concert was cancelled in the southern city of Krasnodar he tried to perform from the roof of a car instead, leading to his arrest for hooliganism.
He was arrested and sentenced to 12 days in prison, but he was released early after a public outcry, which led to the intervention of members of the presidential administration, according to state broadcaster Russia Today.
Ahead of today’s meeting Matvienko had proposed creating a parental advisory guidance system for concerts.
Addressing Matvienko, Putin said: “You said that rap (rests on) three pillars: Sex, drugs and protests.
“Of all of these, drugs are the most worrying – They are the route to a nation’s degradation.”
Putin also addressed the question of how to regulate the musical genre’s use of censorious language.
He said that he had talked about swearing with a linguist, adding: “She told me personally that it’s a part of our language.
“It’s just a question of how you use it.”
Matvienko also suggested guidelines on the use of swear words online and in the media, but Putin said this was a sensitive matter as such words are part of Russians’ common culture.
Likening swear words to body parts, Putin joked: “We have all sorts of body parts, and it’s not like we put them on display all the time, whether it’s hot or cold.”
Husky was arrested and sentenced to 12 days in prison, but he was released early after a public outcry .
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