“Our guys are dying in Ukraine, why?” the musician had wondered during a concert last Wednesday, criticizing the “Napoleonic plans” of «César»Vladimir Poutine.
Is this irreverence too much? Yuri Chevtchouk, sacred monster of Russian rock, is accused by justice of having discredited the Russian army, after denouncing the offensive against Ukraine and President Vladimir Putin during a concert. The 65-year-old musician had launched to his audience on May 18 that “the fatherland is not to be the president’s permanent ass licker“, according to videos posted online.
“Now people are being killed in Ukraine, why? Our guys are dying in Ukraine, why?launched Yuri Chevtchouk to the crowd, denouncing “the youth of Ukraine and Russia who are dying (…) because of the Napoleonic plans of our Caesar”. These remarks did not go unnoticed by the authorities.
Accused of “discrediting the use of the armed forces”
A court in Ufa, central Russia, told Russian news agency Ria Novosti on Thursday that the singer was being prosecuted for “public action intended to discredit the use of Russian armed forces” and that the file would be sent to a court in Saint Petersburg, his city of residence. Yuri Chevtchouk risks a fine in the current case, but Russian criminal law provides for such offenses penalties of up to five years in prison in the event of recidivism and aggravating circumstances.
Leader of the rock group DDT, very famous in the former USSR, Yuri Chevtchouk has denounced over the years the influence of Vladimir Putin, even calling out to him in 2010 during a meeting broadcast on television. He also led a vast protest movement in Russia in 2011-2012, which was severely repressed by the Kremlin.
Before the Putin era, Yuri Shevtchouk distinguished himself through his campaign against the first Chechen war, between 1994 and 1996. He began his career in the 1980s, the last decade of the USSR, gaining popularity thanks to his anti-system songs in this crisis-ridden empire. The fall of the USSR in 1991, however, had not dethroned Yuri Chevtchouk, already a figure of Russian rock.