Comedian Ruslan Bely said that three out of five planned concerts were canceled in recent months. In two cases, the site administrators refused him at the last moment without any arguments. In St. Petersburg, Bely got an explanation from the city authorities.
“We put on five test concerts this fall, I wanted to feel the demand,” said the comedian in the Bukharog Live podcast. – We took different sites – a large one in St. Petersburg, a little smaller in Kirov and Kaluga. Of the five concerts, three were canceled. Two under the motto – Ruslan Bely is not allowed. Of course, there was no official information, I am passing on behind-the-scenes conversations to you. But in St. Petersburg there was an official refusal. We completely sold , thought everything was going fine. And at some point, the site tells us – it’s impossible. We do everything in white, everything is legally clean, we have a contract, prepayments, we say – in the sense it is impossible, what is this strange reason. And we don’t care to lose the concert, we turned on the fool and demanded an official reason. I even thought that the concert would take place, we were flying to St. Petersburg, we were arriving, and on the website of the Committee for Culture Affairs of the city on the eve of the concert on the same day there was an announcement that Ruslan Bely’s concert had not been approved ”.
The comedian himself attributes this to the fact that someone did not like his YouTube videos with jokes about power – in particular, the “I am mine” concert. In it, Bely ridiculed the statement of the Speaker of the Federation Council Valentina Matvienko, who ordered to check the voting on Channel One, as a result of which Manizha went to Eurovision. “Valentina, are you only interested in this vote?” The comedian jokes at the speech. In addition, there were jokes about the swearing of the ex-Minister of Culture of Crimea, the annexation of the peninsula in 2014 and the “bloodthirsty deputies” adopting laws according to which everyone can go to jail.
Bely also joked about the persecution of Morgenstern, although at the time of the release of the concert the performer was demanded to ban the MMA fighters, the head of the Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, had not yet joined this.
Also, with the cancellation of the concerts, Bely connects another of his performances, entitled “Why I Have Growth a Mustache,” in which he talks about Putin, Navalny, rallies and court cases.
“As it seems to me, there is some kind of attitude that I am an undesirable artist, apparently I got into some kind of list. I heard that there are artist lists – yellow and red. The yellow ones are “incomprehensible”, the red ones are those who are prohibited. No official told me anything. But it seems like this initiative comes from the presidential administration, it’s incredibly hard to cut out of it. Derevianko was included in this list, and a very great director went somewhere to bow for him. ”
The cancellations hit financially hard, Bely said, and this is part of a plan to put pressure on the artists. “You rent a platform, you invest in advertising and in the end you get money,” the artist explains. He also said that along with the concerts, Bely’s participation in one of the issues of “Evening Urgant” was canceled: “They also wrote – unfortunately not.”
Earlier it was reported that the actors who supported Alexei Navalny and the protest actions stopped calling for roles in films, TV shows and other projects. Interlocutors of the BBC Russian Service, working in high positions in Gazprom-Media, said that in the winter of this year, the holding has updated “stop-lists” of actors, whom producers and directors are not allowed to invite to new projects.
In recent years, law enforcement agencies have become increasingly interested in comedians. Officials from the Interior Ministry’s Main Directorate for Countering Extremism, also known as Center E, attend performances as if on duty, and often film concerts with their cameras. Comedian Denis Chuzhoy told The Insider that after the publication of his concert “Next himself” on YouTube, the police became interested in him. Two acquaintances of the comedian in Zheleznogorsk, from where Chuzhoy moved to Moscow, reported that the police were trying to find out his real name.
In 2018, the police briefly put the comedian Danila Poperechny on the wanted list, after State Duma deputy Vitaly Milonov complained about his video “Popculture”. The latter also filed a lawsuit against Poperechny, but the court dismissed it.
In January 2020, a resident of Orekhovo-Zuev complained about stand-up comedian Alexander Dolgopolov for insulting the feelings of believers. The reason was the joke that Jesus should have been named Bogdan, since this is the ideal name for a God-given child. Dolgopolov was forced to leave the country for Israel for six months.
On August 30, 2021, the Ministry of Internal Affairs banned Idrak Mirzalizade, a stand-up comedian and citizen of Belarus, from entering Russia for life, recognizing him as a threat to national security because of a joke about Russians, mattresses and shit. Before that, he served his sentence, having spent 10 days in a special detention center. Because of this joke, he was attacked in the street, hit on the head. The police did not look for the attackers. Now Mirzalizade is not in Russia.
The interest of the Ministry of Internal Affairs is fueled by propagandists, who often begin to persecute themselves. One of them is Vladimir Soloviev, who made criticism of comedians one of the main topics of his YouTube streams, coloring insignificant stories with new epithets. These stories are picked up by various groups on Telegram, a stir is created, after which the Ministry of Internal Affairs makes sudden decisions – for example, about the deportation of the comedian Mirzalizade.
After him, Soloviev “took up” the comedian Alexei Kvashonkin, once again taking the joke out of context and presenting it as Russophobic. So far, nothing is known about the reaction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to Kvashonkin’s speeches, but the administration of Stand Up Club # 1, just in case, hid all episodes of the improvised show “Poraraz Birazza”, where the comedians joked quite sharply, leaving only the episode from Minsk – this is where the joke voiced by Soloviev sounds … Three of the four participants in this show are Idrak Mirzalizade, Alexey Kvashonkin and Alexander Dolgopolov.