The Kremlin Reportedly Paid $35,000 for an Anti-Protest Music Video
Alisa Vox / YouTube
The Putin administration reportedly paid Russian pop star Alisa Vox 2 million rubles ($35,000) to appear in a music video featuring a song that would “take to task the anti-Kremlin opposition,” a source close to the singer told the website Meduza. The same source said Vox and her collaborators are also counting on further work orders from the Kremlin.
Vox’s new song, “Baby Boy,” landed on YouTube this Monday, where it’s attracted 1.3 million views and an impressive 160,000 “down votes” against just 11,000 “up votes.” In a recent Web feature story, The Moscow Times translated Vox’s lyrics into English, including such memorable lines as “Freedom, money, girls — you’ll get it all, even power. So, kid, stay out of politics, and give your brain a shower.”
Vox, a former singer in the rock band Leningrad, told Meduza that she wrote “Baby Boy” herself, and said she’s been “driven nuts” by questions about the Kremlin’s supposed role in creating the song.
In an interview with RBC-TV on Tuesday, Vox said she wrote “Baby Boy” out of concern “for the fate of those who are being deceived and misled,” referring to the thousands of young people who joined Alexei Navalny’s anti-corruption rallies across the country on March 26. “At the very least, climbing up lampposts is dangerous, because what if you fall from there,” Vox added, referring to a widely shared photograph from Pushkin Square during Navalny’s rally showing a police officer trying to pull down two protesters from atop a streetlight.
Meduza also managed to track down one of the men who appeared as a band member in the “Baby Boy” music video. Oleg Belousov told the website that he responded to a casting call for “bearded ripped dudes” and received 5,000 rubles ($85) for a day’s filming — double the usual pay, he told Meduza.
Neither Belousov, Vox, nor Vox’s PR agent said they could identify the music video’s director. “I didn’t ask them what their names are,” Vox told Meduza, when asked about the production team. Her usual keyboardist also said he played no role in making “Baby Boy.”
Two sources in the Putin administration reportedly told Meduza that the Kremlin has no connection to Vox’s new song. One source suggested that the music video is likely the work of “some group of political analysts” or other “non-mainstream” actors, who are “trying to do something” that they think will help President Putin. The same source compared Vox’s song to a viral video released on YouTube in late April comparing Navalny to Adolf Hitler, which critics have also claimed was orchestrated by figures in the Putin administration — allegations the Kremlin denies.