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Russian Musicians Sing Against Putin In 'White Album'

The cover of the anti-Putin "White Album" put together to protest the Russian leader's 12 years in power.
The Russian opposition has announced a long summer break from large protest actions following its "March of Millions" rally in Moscow, with the next mass protest scheduled for October.

But that doesn't mean dissidents are going to be silent.

A collection of opposition songs was recently released in a bid to keep the protest flame burning throughout the summer months.

The "White Album," which brings together more than 230 songs critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin's regime, is available online free of charge.

Its cover features a white ribbon, the emblem of the ongoing opposition movement to denounce elections that gave the ruling United Russia party a parliamentary majority and saw Putin return to the Kremlin for a third presidential term.

Russian rock singer Yury Shevchuk performs at a protest rally in central Moscow.
Russian rock singer Yury Shevchuk performs at a protest rally in central Moscow.
While a number of prominent writers, artists, and poets have joined the protests, the project's authors, professional musicians Aleksandr Lipninsky and Vasily Shumov, say Russian singers have so far failed to make any meaningful contribution to the opposition movement.

"The 'White Album' will completely fill this gap, that's the aim," Lipninsky says. "Culture as a whole, especially music, is designed to render the social climate more healthy, to brings out lofty feelings in people."

Yury Shevchuk, the popular DDT band's lead singer and a seasoned opposition activist, is perhaps the most famous musician to have sent a song to Lipninsky and Shumov. He offered one of his latest compositions, titled "Svoboda," or freedom.

'Free Pussy Riot!'

Several songs on the album are dedicated to the all-female dissident punk band Pussy Riot, who drew the Kremlin's ire in February after staging a song critical of Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow's largest cathedral.

Three of its members, two of whom have young children, are currently in detention pending trial on charges of hooliganism that could land them in jail for up to seven years.

Rapper Syava contributed "Malyava," an ode to the jailed women:

For his part, Lipninsky says that he "would like to achieve fair elections as well as the release of the Pussy Riot members. I did not approve of their performance, but our country's Stalin-era practice of jailing people before trial -- people who are neither thieves nor murderers -- is an unacceptable leftover from this communist, Bolshevik, terrorist regime."

Anti-Kremlin punk songs have pride of place on the album, including "Vremya-X," an angry call on Russians to "wake up" and fight Putin's regime, by the punk-rock band Louna:
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The "White Album" features a handful of tunes by amateur singers, including TV presenter and opposition figure Ksenia Sobchak and Artemy Troitsky, a leading rock critic and another driving force behind the album.

The project's authors are now hoping to gather enough money from voluntary contributions online to release the songs on CD.