Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Moral Panic in Russia: Banning Subcultures

"Moral panics" are nothing new for attentative Americans. The "explicit lyrics" parental advisory sticker is a byproduct of the days of the 80s, during which existed a "Satanic panic" widespread conspiracy fear against metal and rock as being part of a growing culture of devil-worship. Legislation was often enacted in the face of apparent "satanic ritual abuse", virtually all of which has since been discredited.

Although those days are gone for America, Russia is now coming to terms with new styles of music becoming popular amongst the youth -- and the government is reacting with knee-jerk legislation in the face of tragedies blamed on music.

The State Duma essentially waged war against "dangerous teen trends" and Russian social conservatives have lumped the "emo" and "goth" subcultures -- seedlings of the punk subculture -- as a "threat to national stability." This is largely in reaction to a wave of teen suicides and murders blamed on the subculture, such as the case of Karina Barduchian, who was murdered and cannibalized by two older men who were considered to be "goths."


While legislation to curtail the subcultural appearance, ban relevant music, and regulate international websites has largely failed, this has not stopped politicians from continuing a Russian culture war. The actions of Pussy Riot has further cemented the idea in Russian social conservatives' minds that "punk" music is inherently linked to hooliganism and antisocial behavior.


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