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Russian Rock Star Says Popular Song Not About Putin

Then-Russian President Vladimir Putin and musician Andrei Makarevich before a meeting of the Culture and Art Council in May 2007.
MOSCOW -- Legendary Russian rock singer Andrei Makarevich says a song of his that became very popular online this week is not about Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin but about "boot lickers," RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

The song, titled "Putin yedet v Kholuyovo" (Putin Travels To Bootlickerville), was posted online several days ago and is one of the most-viewed videos among Internet users in Russia and other former Soviet republics.

The lyrics are about an imaginary Russian town that Putin is scheduled to visit and how local officials, members of the clergy, and townspeople prepare to welcome him in a way that recalls the Stalin era.

Makarevich, 57, told RFE/RL today he wrote and recorded the song a year ago, and he does not understand why it has suddenly become so popular.

"I cannot say that I feel love or hatred for the Russian authorities, because it is not about a woman," he said. "If I do not like something about our current leadership, I try to express my attitude openly via the means available to me."

In late September, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a congress of the ruling United Russia party that Putin should become president again.

Makarevich told RFE/RL several days later that he will not perform in Putin's honor if he wins next year's presidential election.

"We have already been told who our president will be, and I do not like what is happening right now," Makarevich told RFE/RL on October 2.

Makarevich, who has said publicly several times in the past that he voted for Medvedev but also respects Putin, told RFE/RL "we are being deprived of the remnants of our right to elect, and this is not just about Putin."

Read more in Russian here and here