Ukrainian parliament votes to ban Russian music

Oleksandr Tkachenko (source Edinburgh International Culture Summit)

Other measures include a decree ordering an increase in the proportion of Ukrainian music played on radio and television stations from thirty-five to forty percent. The ban will apply to musicians who have or had Russian citizenship at any time after 1991, when Ukraine declared independence, except for those who are or were Ukrainian citizens at the time of their death.

The new ban applies to the public production of music by artists with Russian citizenship (including music videos). According to information available on Twitter, media outlets face a fine of ten percent of royalties for violating the regulation. Artists who have condemned the actions of the Russian government will be given an exemption – a list of them is to be compiled by the Ukrainian secret service.

The law’s justification states that music “by an aggressor state can influence the separatist mood of the population”, can reinforce the desire for rapprochement with the Russian identity and aims to weaken the Ukrainian state.

The ban does not apply to Russian-language cultural productions, but only to Russian productions – as long as the work is in Russian but originates in Ukraine, it is fine. One of the laws passed also bans the printing of books by Russian citizens – unless they give up their Russian passports and accept Ukrainian citizenship. As with the first law, this regulation would apply only to people who retained or acquired Russian citizenship after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Commercial imports of books from Russia or Belarus are also prohibited by the new legislation. A personal permit will be required to import Russian-language books from other countries.

In a vote in Ukraine’s Verkhovna Rada, both bills won broad support across the political spectrum, with 303 of 450 members in favor. Ukraine’s Culture Minister Oleksandr Tkachenko sees the laws as a way to ensure that “quality content by Ukrainian authors reaches as many readers as possible.”

The laws have yet to be signed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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