A popular Russian rapper on Tuesday deleted a music video singing the praises of Moscow authorities ahead of contentious elections after it gathered almost 1.5 million dislikes on YouTube.
Timati, a 36-year-old rapper known for his fervent support of President Vladimir Putin, posted the video, titled simply “Moscow”, shortly before Muscovites were set to vote in elections for city parliament on Sunday that had caused mass protests.
“I don’t go to rallies, I don’t bullshit,” the song goes, apparently referring to weeks of protests in Moscow after the authorities barred opposition candidates from running in the polls.
Lyrics in the clip praise the Russian capital as a wealthy city that has become “world standard” and “doesn’t hold gay parades.”
“I will down a burger for Sobyanin,” the song says, referring to Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, a Putin ally who has been in charge since 2010 and is detested by the opposition for refusing permission for rallies and cracking down on protesters.
Timati, who is ranked the seventh wealthiest celebrity under 40 in Russia by Forbes magazine, made the video together with another rapper, Guf.
The video had gained 1.48 million dislikes when Timati took it down on Tuesday, writing on Instagram that he did not intend any offense.
“I’m deleting the video to stop this wave of negativity,” he wrote. “I made a record. Only I didn’t have such a goal.”
In Instagram comments, Russians mocked Timati, accusing him of being a sellout and getting paid by the authorities to make propaganda.
“The world’s first government rapper. I’m sorry for his fans,” one commentator wrote.
“Did you also return the money to those who ordered (the video)?” asked another.
Guf for his part posted an apologetic expletive-ridden video assuring his fans that he was “used” and “didn’t get a penny for this, I swear.”
“I am proud of our young people who understand politics,” he says.
“I’m sorry that I don’t follow the political situation in the country.”
According to Wikipedia, the video is the 30th most disliked in YouTube history and the most disliked Russian music video.
The Russian opposition has accused celebrities of engaging in paid propaganda before.
Last year a wave of nearly identical messages praising the positive changes in Moscow appeared on celebrities’ social media ahead of the mayoral polls swept by Sobyanin.
Other Russian rappers have performed at opposition protests and expressed solidarity with people arrested over the summer.
© 2019 AFP
West Virginia mail carrier busted for helping GOP by tampering with absentee ballot requests
A mail carrier in West Virginia is facing jail time after he was caught tampering with absentee ballot requests in a way that suppressed turnout in local Democratic primary elections.
BuzzFeed News reports that 47-year-old Thomas Cooper pleaded guilty this week to attempting to defraud the residents of West Virginia of a fair election when he switched West Virginia residents' ballot requests from Democratic to Republican ballots.
Cooper altered a total of eight different ballot requests, although he told investigators that he did it "as a joke" and didn't mean to cause any harm. Cooper's attorney, Scott Curnutte, similarly told BuzzFeed News that Cooper's actions had just been a "silly lark."
France investigates report of bodies ‘left to rot’ at Paris research centre
French investigating magistrates will probe claims that human corpses donated for science were left to rot and be eaten by rats at a university research facility, the Paris prosecutor's office said Thursday.
A probe into "violations of the integrity of a corpse" was handed over to the magistrates by prosecutors who handled the initial phase of the investigation after l'Express magazine reported the scandal last November.
Dutch ‘golden age’ statue stirs ghosts of colonial past
The statue of a Dutch 17th century colonialist has become a flashpoint for the debate in the Netherlands on its past of slavery and colonization in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests.
For some, the sculpture of Jan Pieterszoon Coen, a key official in the Dutch East India Company considered a national hero for colonising what is now Indonesia, is a memorial to the Dutch "Golden Age".
Traditionalists, like populist eurosceptic leader Thierry Baudet, have laid flowers at the foot of the statue in the port town of Hoorn to show support after several statues of historical figures were damaged in the Netherlands.