Putin says rap should be controlled in Russia, not banned

MOSCOW (AP) — Alarmed by the growing popularity of rap among Russian youth, President Vladimir Putin wants cultural leaders to devise a means of controlling, rather than banning, popular music.

Putin says "if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it."

But Putin said at a St. Petersburg meeting with cultural advisers Saturday that attempts to ban artists from performing will have an adverse effect and bolster their popularity.

Putin noted that "rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest." But he is particularly concerned with drug themes prevalent in rap, saying "this is a path to the degradation of the nation."

He said "drug propaganda" is worse than cursing.

Putin's comments come amid a crackdown on contemporary music that evoked Soviet-era censorship of the arts.

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This story has corrected the location of the meeting to St. Petersburg, not the Kremlin.

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