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Tajik singer bellows tunes of adoration for Russia’s Putin

A Tajik singer has summed up his support for Russia’s pro-Putin political culture via music.

Tolinjon Kurbanhanov has mixed music, politics and religion in a melodious melting pot, void of separation and flourishing with his own expression. The singer’s music is openly, politically expressive and far from traditionally, culturally Tajik. Kurbanhanov’s two videos, that though are a few months old – are still, to this day, being viewed by thousands.

Kurbanhanov has made a name for himself by praising Russian political figurehead Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin through song. Singer Kurbanhanov’s first song/video about Putin was released on the eve of the presidential elections in Russia, with aims to encourage folks to – say the least – vote for Putin! The song, titled “GDP”, quickly became an Internet sensation after hitting the Web on February 4th. In less than one month, “GDP” was viewed 1.5 million times. And on May 21st, the video clocked in at 1,310,373 views.

The video is simply stated, with the majority of it being close ups of Kurbanhanov singing, void of much expression. While singing with both smiles and a serious thinking face, the Russian flag is apparent in the background, as is the industrious city. Behind the song’s electronic-like music, Kurbanhanov sings while riding in a car and walking along the water in the winter weather. Various close up shots of Putin are flashed in the video, some portraying him as a happy cheerful guy and others as a serious politician. The video has some comic relief, a little over half way through it, as some buddies join the singer and play musical instruments. Just after a Christmas tree is found in the background of Kurbanhanov’s singing, the video ends with the singer staring at the Pokrovskiy Cathedral/Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Russia’s famous “multi-tented church on the Red Square in Moscow that also features distinctive onion domes.”

For in-depth information from Kurbanhanov himself, regarding his sincerity toward the song, his low-budget film, his role model Putin and so on – and to vote on the song! - click here (Ru.) or click here (Eng.). Also, for an (untranslated) video of Kurbanhanov sharing insights, via Global Star, click here.

Many varying opinions about “GDP” were raised in the blogosphere. TagilCity.ru explains:

“The opinions of Internet users divided: some believe that this “black PR” aimed at discrediting Putin, others – on the contrary believe that this video was created to mobilize the staff of Premier’s own electorate.”
(English Translation, Google).

“GDP” is described by avesta.tj as:

“In it are the words, praising Putin, it is compared with the messenger of God, “it is called” multi agent”. Lyrics boils down to that choice March 4 at the Russian electorate is not there.”

avesta.tj goes on to explain the different reactions of Russian journalists on “GDP”. About a what journalist Alexander Plyushchev says on his blog, the news website says:

“… called Kurbanhanova hit “the best anti-Putin roll in history.” As recognized by Ivy, a phrase from the song: “The rise of the economy at its head,” – he just “killed.””

avesta.tj shares what opposition leader Alex Bulk writes on his blog:

“”Tolibdzhon Kurbanhanov, easily and without straining, and did Volodin, and Govorukhin and designer Yudashkin,” referring to the head of the presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, which is developing a strategy to agitate for Putin the head of his campaign director Stanislav Govorukhin and confidant of Prime Minister designer Valentin Yudashkin.”

About the song, Speak Russian Now Journal says:

“Is it a coincidence or a well-planned political move? Perhaps, Tolibjon Kurbanhanov sincerely praises Putin for all he has done for Mother Russia. Maybe, this isn’t a well-planned political move but his decision to support Vladimir Putin in light of recent events on Bolotnaya Square in Moscow. The song can also be easily interpreted as a mockery of Vladimir Putin’s regime in Russia. I invite you to judge what this song is about for yourself!”

With “GDP” already successfully on the Web, being viewed by tens of thousands and written about by many – the singer had more work to do, especially considering the electoral fate of his beloved Putin!

Much to Kurbanhanov’s favor, on March 4th his idol and adored candidate – very controversially – won the reigns in the national election. And a few months later, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – former KGB spy – was sworn in as President of the Russian Federation, marking an upcoming six-year return to the Kremlin, in front of 2,000 guests at St Andrew Hall. Putin now holds his place as President, after having been Russia’s supreme leader for the past four years as Prime Minister. Thousands of Russian citizens took to the streets in the run up to the election and after the election, creating some of the most cumbersome of mass opposition crowds since the fall of the Soviet Union.

So, Kurbanhanov got right back to his music. Clearly sitting on the pro-Putin side, Kurbanhanov released a second song expressing his support and gratitude. Saying Kurbanhanov’s new song “Thank you, God, for Vladimir” politically and religiously praises Putin is saying the absolute least. “Thank you, God, for Vladimir” hit the World Wide Web on April 30th. Within a few days of being online, the video had been watched by thousands.

Half as successful as Kurbanhanov’s first song “GDP”, Asia-Plus informs that on March 5th “Thank you, God, for Vladimir” was viewed more than 12,000 times. And on May 21st, the video clocked in at 67,197 views.

About the singer, FirstHand newspaper says:

“Glamorous singer from Tajikistan believes that Putin – “worthy of reward” for the Russians, he was his idol.”

TagilCity.ru describes the song as:

“The new track Tajik actor in a rather awkward form expresses the joy of Putin’s victory in the elections and reveals his attitude to the personality of the new (old), the Russian president. Artist sings about what Putin – his hero and idol, and he wants to be like him. In his opinion, Vladimir Putin – “worthy of reward” for Russia.”
(English Translation, Google).

The four-minute long video beings with a boy/man featured as a 3D character resembling Kurbanhanov himself, and a spider making a web from words, while a clip from “GDP” plays in the background. This song and video both have a much slower paced tune and story than “GDP”’s energetic melodies. Thus, the music that constitutes “Thank You, God, For Vladimir” can be interpreted as either serious, romantic and emotionally charged – or simply as sad. In a dark background, the character walks through the spider webs, breaking the words and ideas. The song offers plenty of religious symbolism, which perfectly match the lyrics. While escaping the web of words, still in a dark surrounding, a light shines in from high. To the words, “Sometimes I want to be like him”, the 3D character lifts from the ground and angelically floats through his memories of Putin. As Kurbanhanov sings “When I was a child, I saw him for the first time”, a TV with Putin on it along with toy boats and a computer keyboard float in midair. While describing how he’s wanted to be like Putin since childhood, images of the President appear on screen, along with a soccer ball, books and more.

While singing “Now I do not doubt the power of God”, the video shows thousands of people in the streets (pro-Putin supporters, assumedly) holding Russian flags – and even one flag with “Peace” on it. Various images of cheering pro-Putin supporters and of the election cross the screen, while Kurbanhanov’s character rises toward the light coming from high, to the words “I wished him a victory granted to us from heaven”. The song picks up beat when the character finds himself on stage singing “I thank you Lord for Vladimir” with drums and neon lights in the background. At the character’s concert, rows upon rows of a well-behaved crowd watch Kurbanhanov perform. The lyrics “He has many enemies – they are enemies of the country” are sang over the image of a complicated chessboard is being consumed by multi-colored moving chessmen. The video closes with a clip of “GDP”, as the 3D character says “Thank you dear God!”

The song refers to Putin as a “messenger of God”. Kurbanhanov calls Putin his Superhero and Idol, cheers to his health, wishes his wishes come true, acknowledges that Putin deserves to be awarded for his great leadership, mentions the President’s increasing number of supporters and so on.

There you have it. Kurbanhanov’s two videos, that though are a few months old – are still, to this day, being viewed by thousands. These two musical examples, “GDP” and “Thank you, God, for Vladimir”, perfectly depict dedicated political support, or…

The most interesting part of analyzing these pro-Putin songs, as Speak Russian Now wonders, is learning if they are sincere or not. Are they from Kurbanhanov’s heart or a funded, propagandized public relations stunt? Is the singer really just a devote Putin supporter using his musical talent and freedom of expression to communicate his political beliefs, or is this a pro-Putin government supported musical scheme? Tell neweurasia what do you think!

Despite what all the anti-Putin protesters have to say – Russia’s new leader certainly has one supporter locked in the palm of his hand. Whether it be true love or just the exact opposite, there’s no doubting that this special Tajik singer isn’t leaving Putin’s side – for the good or bad – any time soon. If Kurbanhanov’s love is true, then here’s to his much-entitled free expression, political beliefs and passion for music! And if his love is not true, then here’s to highlighting yet another case involving the misuse of media, a mockery of free expression and political propaganda at its finest.

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