Russia plans to create a media group focused on promoting local "patriotic" artists, making sure that they communicate messages in line with official ideology.
The Russian business daily Vedomosti reported that a letter was sent to President Vladimir Putin by Vladimir Kiselev, head of the Federation Fund, and Olga Plaksina, chairman of the board of the Russian Media Group (RMG), in which the two called for the creation of a company that would become an "incubator for local superstars."
According to the letter, due to the sour relations between Russia and the West, it is important that local artists be promoted over those of the West, while the new organization would also make sure that the artists convery the right "patriotic" messages.
Vedomosti reported that Putin ordered Vyacheslav Volodin, First Deputy Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration, to look into the issue.
The initiative, which just a few years ago would have been nothing except bizarre, has good chances of being executed, given the current ideological and political climate in Russia.
For the last few years, the idea of promoting "patriotic" values, as opposed to "degenerate" values coming from the West, has been on the rise.
Last year's annexation of the Crimean peninsular region from Ukraine and support for pro-Russian separatists in Eastern Ukraine led to the division of the Russian music community along ideological lines, with government officials and politicians' condemning those artists who didn't support Russia's policies towards Ukraine.
Meanwhile, several major foreign artists, including The Black Keys, Pulp and Mark Knopfler publicly refused to perform in Russia out of protest against the government's actions. Other artists more quietly canceled their Russian dates.
In this environment, the call for a "patriotic artist incubator" is more likely to be heard than at any other time, especially as it comes from Kiselyov, who reportedly has connections to the Kremlin.
A former member of the Soviet-era pop act Zemlyane, he made the headlines again back in 2010, when his foundation organized a charity event attended by Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner and Putin, who crooned Fats Domino hit "Blueberry Hill."
RMG runs the country's largest FM radio station Russkoye Radio, the music TV channel Ru.TV and a few more radio stations. In accordance with the proposal, the state-run show promoter Goskontsert would also be involved in the new media group.