The media situation in Russia we have already painted over in broad strokes. As bad as the situation was with the news media outside of the government-controlled state channels, the situation with the entertainment media was only marginally better. Unlike the news media, the entertainment media has not been shut down and purged over the last couple of weeks. And yet, many of the big names of Russia’s entertainment industry have fled the country. Were they right to do so? Did they suspect a purge was in the works? Who knows — without insider information we can only watch the developments continue to unfold and see if their suspicions were well founded.
We can start with the example of Ivan Urgant, a late-night show entertainer much in the same vein as American entertainers Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon. In fact, the three of them are so similar in appearance and in their act/show format that if you lined the three of them up next to one another and held a gun to my temple, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell them apart to save my life. Like many Russian entertainers, Urgant is Jewish and he recently decided to take a surprise trip to Israel as an impromptu holiday. He was followed there by entertainment media matron Alla Pugacheva and her game show host husband Maksim Galkin (Jewish), who also decided to take a sabbatical to Israel together during these trying times. Many celebrities followed suit, although, to be fair, not all of them chose Israel as their destination.
Here, again, we have to do a deep dive into another aspect of Russian culture that no one outside of Russia knows about and that the so-called Russia experts haven’t ever bothered to explain. To be fair, I’m by far one of the least qualified people in the world to talk about the entertainment industry in Russia. A far better source of insight would be any old granny sitting on the bench by her commieblock who would be all too willing to share some of the arcane lore of the careers of her favorite actors and actresses in exchange for a pack of sunflower seeds. But, alas, Russian grannies are in short supply in the West and so the task falls on my unworthy shoulders. Feel free to compensate me for the veritable fortune I spent on sunflower seed bribes here!
The Russian entertainment industry is a continuation of the Soviet entertainment industry, from which it emerged. It was run by a cabal that, over time, began to be referred to as “the Family” because of the close ties of members in the tight clique and their tendency to marry (and divorce) within the same narrow circle of entertainers, producers and artists. The last 30–40 years saw the undisputed reign of Iosef Kobzon (Jewish) who was the veritable don of this circus family. His favor made or broke careers. He got the final say on all matters of import in the industry. He was revered and feared until he died in 2018.
But if there was a king, there was also the indisputable queen — Alla Pugacheva. She may or may not be a good singer, I wouldn’t know because I haven’t listened to a single song of hers (even for research purposes), and even Kobzon would occasionally go up on stage and give a well-received performance — but that isn’t really the point. The point is that a small clique of ideologues controlled the state media in the USSR and then an even smaller clique of entertainers controlled it in the period that followed. To be allowed on TV meant to go through them. As for who “they” were, well it was a mix of many Soviet peoples (plenty of Armenians and Georgians) with Jews disproportionately represented and running the show, of course. The internet changed many things in Russia, but the monopoly on the minds of the older, TV-watching generation remains firmly cemented. During the USSR, entertainers toed the ideological line. During the post-USSR period, they toed the “family” line. If I had to choose, I would prefer sucking up to commissars with pistols over groveling before pop stars, but hey, that’s just me.
So what did they promote throughout their careers? Was the cultural product in the USSR as bad as the woke anti-White and anti-Christian garbage that Hollywood has been promoting for God knows how long? Well, it was far worse in terms of production quality and artistic merit, probably. But the content of the late Soviet period was tame — it was just your standard generic “pop” love-song tripe for the most part. Many Russians, especially of the older generation, know these songs by heart and play them during holidays or request them while at the restaurant. I’ve been known to sing along too if I’ve had a few drinks — ironically, of course.
But with the 90s came a wave of “chansons” based on prison culture, Jewish resentment towards the late USSR, and basically what amounted to street hustlin’. This merged with the rapidly emerging Russian rock scene that rivaled the Western rock scene in terms of the proliferation of bands and the enthusiasm with which the public greeted it. Another one of the cultural figures of this period was Aleksander Rosenbaum (Jewish), a member of the Family, who eventually became an influential capo within the Family promoting and defending the proliferation of this anti-social form of quasi-gangster culture in Russia. Maybe I am exaggerating a bit here, but regardless of how you want to classify this genre of music, you would have a hard time labelling it as pro-patriotic, pro-family or pro-Russia.
Anyway, the point that I am driving at here is that very little good cultural content has been produced by the Family.
The average Russian tunes in to watch a fairly informative and well-produced news summary on the state channels, only to be exposed to a mountain of trash before and after the evening news featuring celebrity gossip, vulgar concerts and mind-numbingly dumb soap operas replete with drama, debt, and divorce—all of which were all filmed in Ukraine until recently to save a few rubles. None of the content in Russia is woke though, unless it’s a Western product dubbed over or subtitled, and characters are all played by White actors (or Jews and Armenians playing White characters). But that doesn’t automatically make it good or wholesome or even watchable. Just think: there are 180 some countries in the world with about 6 million channels between them (probably) and there is still nothing good on TV. How does one explain that? How do these people get to keep their jobs? Absolute madness!
If one wanted to familiarize oneself with the nomenklatura of the entertainment media, one could do no better than to watch the New Year’s Eve special which they play on all the major Russian channels. The celebrities all gather together (in June) to tape themselves celebrating the New Year and congratulating the Russian people, wishing them warm feelings, etc. Again, there is nothing particularly repugnant about these specials. You will never see a George Clooney type clambering up to the podium to lecture the Russian masses on the need to buy electric cars and not burn as much coal or something as grotesque and elitist as that. For the most part, the Family hasn’t openly thrown its cultural and media weight at Putin, even though it’s rather obvious that they’d prefer to see him gone and a more progressive man in his place. And yet, as we mentioned at the beginning of the article, big entertainment names are jumping ship and fleeing the country. It begs the question: why? Do they suspect that they’re in trouble? We can only speculate for now, but fleeing to a foreign country as your country goes to war isn’t a good look now is it?
Another little cultural tidbit that’s worth mentioning: the French have seized a Russian art treasure trove — the Morozov collection — worth tens of millions of dollars and seem to have no intention of returning it. Art is quite a lucrative field if you can get your foot in the door, especially in Russia. See, Russia has priceless collections of art that the country’s museums loan out to the top museums of the world. In exchange, Russia tends to get absolutely nothing in return. Now, usually, when museums lend art collections to one another, they trade art to put on display in their respective countries and this is usually a mutually profitable venture for both parties as well as for the general public. However, Russia seems to simply export her best collections and receive nothing of the same value in return. Why? Well, Russian art enthusiasts allege that the people who run these programs make a tidy profit from allowing themselves to be convinced to lend out these priceless art works to Western institutions and so have an incentive to keep them in circulation abroad and not on display at home. It is probably worth mentioning that Marina Loshak, the director of the Museum Art Committee and the woman who so generously lent out the priceless Morozov collection, was born in Odessa to a Jewish family. Judging by the outrage of the art enthusiasts, it seems that she may be on her way out soon. Who knows — maybe she too will suddenly decide to take a sabbatical to Israel to get some sun and a salt bath. We can only pray that she doesn’t come back.
The only significant unified cultural group that has come out openly swinging against Putin is the rapper community, which is not a part of the Family network and is mostly comprised of the new up and coming millennial crowd that doesn’t rely on TV to get their media out. This gang of drooling brats with tattoos on their faces have vocally voiced their opposition to the operation in Ukraine. The Russian government, to their credit, has started shutting these people down. Rappers in Russia, as a rule, come from rich oligarch families and seem to be disproportionately Jewish as well. There are a few big rapper groups like Black Star who are also connected to the Family and are, for all intents and purposes, one of their cultural products. But to be fair to Black Star, they have never been vocally anti-Putin or anti-Russia which is more than can be said of Jewish rappers like Oxxxymiron, who has been baying at Putin for years now in the same way that Eminen harassed Donald Trump. Unlike Eminen, Oxxxymiron has yet to challenge the president to a rap battle. Let’s hope he doesn’t get any bright ideas.
All in all, Russia loses absolutely nothing if her so-called creative cultural class decides to cancel itself and repatriate back to Israel. In fact, this may be the shake-up that Russia so desperately needs to get the old talentless, worthless hacks out of their positions of power and influence so that new, younger, Russian talent can rise up to take their place. This seems to be happening regardless of whether it was planned or not. Putin did declare that Ukraine would be “decommunized” before giving the order to move in, but it seems that, as an added bonus, Russia is decommunizing at a rapid pace as well.