Russian musician Schnurow wants to get involved in politics

Ska singer Sergei Schnurow

The front man of the Russian band “Leningrad” (in Russian in the background) often sings vulgar lines.

(Photo: ddp / Peter Kovalev / TASS / Sipa USA)

Moscow A few years ago, he said: “If something is forbidden in Russia, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it. It just means that it will be a little more expensive. ”Now he wants to be active in politics himself. The front man of the popular Russian skacore band “Leningrad” has surprisingly joined the “Party of Growth”. Schnurow and his band are best known for provocative lines and vulgar language. The musician promises that it will “definitely be funnier” with him.

The billionaire Boris Titov’s party describes itself as a representative of small and medium-sized enterprises and as moderately oppositional. But it is considered a Kremlin project. Not only because Titov works as Putin’s ombudsman for the Russian economy, but also because its predecessor “Right Thing” was created in the back rooms of the Kremlin to tie up the liberal part of the Russians.

Musically, Leningrad has stood for the pleasure of provocation for more than 20 years. And quite successfully. Sergei Schnurow made his way through his artistic career as a guardian in kindergarten, as a glazier, as a blacksmith, as a carpenter and as a designer in an advertising agency. Once in the Russian underground, he is now one of the most famous musicians in Russia and, according to Forbes, one of the highest paid.

Between June 2017 and May 2018, he therefore earned $ 13.9 million – only marginally less than Russia’s ice hockey star Alexander Owetschkin, but much more than established pop stars like Filip Kirkorow or Dima Bilan.

In Germany he became known through the Russian disco events of Vladimir Kaminer. But he also fills the halls in New York, Paris or Sydney – predominantly, of course, with Russian-speaking expats. Leningrad polarizes. The band thrilled their fans with a mix of different styles from ska and rock to Russian folklore to hip-hop, but above all with the anarchic language.

Satirist with fecal language

Spiked with swear words, Schnurow distilled the often difficult everyday life of the Russians. However, his opponents are bothered by the dirty expressions of the 46-year-old. Because of the fecal language, Schnurow was also banned from performing in Moscow for many years. He focused almost exclusively on vodka and women in the early years, but has since expanded his repertoire significantly. With hard words and subtle irony, he ridiculed the falseness of Russian Orthodox priests, the greed of politicians, or the ignorance and stubbornness of many citizens.

He also directed sharp broadsides in the form of a poem to Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin. Schnurow is no good opponent of the regime. Rather than a court jester who can sometimes tell the truth. Because his criticism is always dosed correctly – and never fundamentally.

Schnurow himself has always denied his interest in politics. All the more surprising is his sudden entry into the billionaire Titov’s party. The party was never popular, only billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, as its leading candidate in the 2012 presidential election, was a success when he surprisingly finished third on the wave of protests.

But that’s about it. Titov himself got less than one percent in the 2018 presidential election. This was probably a candidature discussed in the Kremlin, the only aim of which was to increase voter turnout somewhat and to split the liberal camp.

The TV presenter Xenia Sobchak also played a similar role at the time. She presented herself as an opposition activist, but undermined the planned boycott of the opposition by her participation in the presidential election with Putin. Back then Schnurow made fun of Sobchak. The woman returned the favor and commented that Schnurow’s entry into the party was proof that his malice was only envy at the time.

Schnurow’s sudden move into politics provokes speculation: the opposition politician Alexei Navalny sees this as an attempt by the Kremlin to manipulate the 2021 Duma elections. Schnurow has his fans, but the “party of growth” will not grow to more than four percent with him.

Because of the five percent clause, she would therefore not move into parliament, from which the Kremlin party “United Russia”, which is likely to be the strongest party, would benefit the most since it would need less percent to achieve the majority of seats, argued Nawalny.

The artist Schnurow commented on the fuss about his political engagement in the usual vulgar-ambiguous manner: “It is not my first time as a member and I am used to tensing up foreign asses,” he wrote. He denied that the Kremlin administration was behind his party entry. He made the decision on his own initiative, he said, but without revealing his motivation.

At least he did not rule out a candidacy in the Duma election. The election campaign will then definitely be fun. Especially when the candidate Schnurow plays the song in his campaign that he sang himself years ago in the comedy “Election Day”: This ends with the remark that he does not vote because “all candidates are pederasts”.

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