While I’ve been away from my blog desk, Russia’s curious racial politics trot along.
Two weeks ago, V.V. Putin made fodder for the blogosphere with the following commentary on Russian sports: "Looking at our teams, one cannot immediately understand whether those are ours, or a team from Africa." Apparently the horror of appearing African was meant to motivate club managers to develop national talent instead of importing foreign stars. Ah, national glory. It's good to see that he's not pandering to the worst elements, right?
A week later, Dima Bilan’s [below, right] former mentor/patron, Victor Baturin managed to connect the massively successful pop singer with Bill Clinton (in my mind) by dubbing the star the “chief black man in Russia,” due to his collaboration with Timbaland. Then, as if to demonstrate how some Russians have a real knack for wrapping up insane racist notions in long-winded imaginary histories, he elaborated on his objection to the teaming:
It seems that Russia is suffering from a clear case of fear of a black planet, crossed with a touch of fear of small numbers.
Beginning with the 10th century and explaining how music was split into the Catholic and Byzantine traditions, Baturin expounded on how American music, coming from a Protestant tradition divorced from the Catholic church, was too young and fallow.
"If you say you love Russia, then you have to respect to its music and a musical tradition based on Byzantine orthodoxy," he said..."Who is Timbaland? He sings in falsetto. … It is not a voice. It is a parody of a voice," said Baturin, who called Timbaland "a fat African-American who thinks he understands something about musical culture."
In the meantime, a 26-year-old American student from RUDN (People's Friendship University) was attacked and the number of racially-motivated murders in the capital is still rising steadily. Most are still being labeled “ordinary hooliganism.”