Russia investigating its own Eurovision song over 'insulting' feminist lyrics
Moscow is investigating Russia's Eurovision entry for "inciting hatred" after the overtly feminist song was described as “a gross insult” to Russian women.
Manizha, the singer-songwriter who was selected to represent Russia at this year’s Europe-wide song contest, had already been accused of spreading “extremism” by other conservative groups on television and social media because of her song “Russian Woman”.
Now it will be examined by the main federal investigating authority in Russia - the Investigative Committee - to determine if it is guilty of “inciting hatred”.
Critics point to an English verse that says: “Every Russian woman knows, she is strong enough to bounce against the wall,” a line that has been interpreted as a tribute to women living with domestic violence.
Other lyrics speak about women being raised by single mothers: “A son without a father, daughter without a father, but a broken family won’t break me.”
Manizha, whose full name is Manizha Dalerovna Sangin, was born in Tajikistan and is an outspoken advocate for domestic violence victims, refugees and the LGBT community.
She has previously said that the song is “about the transformation of a woman's self-awareness over the past few centuries in Russia”.
“Russian women come from an amazing path, from factory workshops to space flights,” she told state media. “She [the Russian woman] has never been afraid of countering stereotypes and assuming responsibility."
The request to investigate the song was made by Vyacheslav Kalinin, head of veteran publication Veteranskie Vesti, who described Manizha’s performance as “a gross insult and humiliation of the dignity of Russian women”.
He has demanded a ban on distribution of the music video, which was set to be part of the Eurovision song contest held in Rotterdam next month.
Last month, nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of LDPR, also criticized the song, saying it did not create a good image of Russian women or Russia in general. Some artists have appeared on independent tv-channel Dozhd to defend Manizha, saying the accusations are “reminiscent of a witch hunt”.
“These things happen when we are facing a crisis, which we are in all areas of life. We are a little closed to the world, and therefore everything is exaggerated and concentrated,” said musician Nike Borzov.
“It may remind you a little of George Orwell.”