AUE to be equated to Blue Whales: State Duma discusses the ban on propaganda about criminal lifestyle

Now the bill affects only communities in social networks and the media, but the author doesn’t exclude that Brigada and chanson can be censured

The State Duma can ban AUE – translated as ''prisoners have a common lot''. A bill that bans propaganda about criminal subculture has been brought up for discussion in the parliament. The author of the initiative, senator Anton Belyakov, thinks that AUE and death groups have many things in common – from romantisation of the corresponding topic to instructions how to commit a suicide or blackmail younger pupils. Now the bill affects only the online content and the media. But its author said to Realnoe Vremya that a ban on gangster films and chanson can be the next step. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.

AUE to be equated with death groups?

Senator Anton Belyakov decided to do the same thing that was done to death groups and the media that write about suicides to communities in social networks and posts that make the criminal lifestyle more attractive. He offered to make corresponding amendments to the ''Law On Mass Media'' and ''Law on Protection of Kids from Information Damaging Their Health and Development''.

''At the legislative level, Russia doesn't allow to propagate suicide, drugs, extremism as negative and socially dangerous phenomena. In addition, there hasn't been any ban on propaganda about criminal subculture until now, though popularisation of criminal lifestyle poses no less threat to the society, and the very criminal subculture is directly linked with extremism, racket and other breaches of legality and legal order,'' Belyakov writes in a explanatory note to the bill.

While speaking about the communities that propagate criminal subculture, Belyakov means AUE informal youth association (the abbreviation is translated as ''prisoners have a common lot'). Vk.com social network has tens of such communities, the biggest ones have 200-300,000 subscribers.

Senator Anton Belyakov, thinks that AUE and death groups have many things in common – from romantisation of the corresponding topic to instructions how to commit a suicide or blackmail younger pupils. Photo: sm-news.ru

''Schoolchildren are offered to smoke first, then steal several notes from their parents''

''The community members propagate prison concepts, ask to follow the ''thieves' code'', raise money for the so-called slash fund, establish a parallel power structure like in the criminal world of adults among minors,'' Belyakov comments on his initiative. According to him, teenagers from disadvantaged families who have problems with their parents, difficulties in communication with their peers and those who just want to get somebody's approval or support are influenced by youth criminal groups. ''Because the criminal community, first of all, is billed as fraternity whose members will always defend their mate in an uneasy situation.''

If death groups post ''books'' for suicides, AUE communities have video instructions about how to ''rob your neighbour's flat without making noise'', the author of the bill shares his observations. ''They offer schoolchildren to smoke first, then steal several notes from their parents and start blackmailing younger kids. The fact that a kid grows up in a favourable family and goes to a prestigious school is not an obstacle to joining the AUE community in social networks,'' Belyakov is sure.

There aren't any instructions that Belyakov is speaking about in the public domain in such communities. The newsfeed usually consists of photos of expensive cars, beautiful girls, quotes about the friendship of mates and gratitude to mums.

''As for my opinion, I would not screen Brigada series on TV,'' Belyakov says

''I would not screen Brigada series on TV''

A question arises – why does the initiative cover only the Internet and the media if the criminal lifestyle is praised in films, series and musical compositions? Anton Belyakov commented for Realnoe Vremya that ''it wasn't the last bill on this topic.''

''As for theatre stagings and full-length films, the discussion whether we should interfere in directors' work is taking place now. This is why we decided not to talk about this topic now. As for my opinion, I would not screen Brigada series on TV,'' Belyakov says.

In case the bill is adopted, certain criteria will be created – what is the propaganda about criminal lifestyle and what's not. Based on them, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media will be able to ban the content without court decision. A community's owners, in turn, will have to appeal against the service's actions in court. According to Belyakov, for instance, it won't lead to the ban on the whole playlist of Chanson radio.

''When we hear chanson songs where an unhappy boy who committed a crime by mistake when he was younger is in prison, he feels bad and his mother misses him, it is not a propaganda about criminal lifestyle. On the contrary, 80% of chanson consists of it. And if this composition is dedicated to how cool it's to rob, steal and everything will be great then – a beautiful wife, house, expensive car, it is completely different content, I would ban it,'' Belyakov says and specified that he is not going to encroach on Yesenin, Vysotsky and Rosenbaum's works.

In December 2016, designers from Kazan made T-shirts and hoodies with images of members of Kazan bands and names of organised crime groups of Tatarstan that used to be famous. Photo: Kate Ogurechkina, Inde

From T-shirts to music: how Tatarstan makes crime more romantic

However, the crime propaganda went beyond the Internet a long time ago. For instance, same AUE communities sell themed T-shirts, caps and phone cases.

In December 2016, designers from Kazan made T-shirts and hoodies with images of members of Kazan bands and names of organised crime groups of Tatarstan that used to be famous.

Author of the idea Anastasia Yarushkina who creates Dry River brand was accused of justification of gangsters who threatened not only Kazan but all Russia in the 1980-90s. Then the designers refused to participate in New Year's Open Space Market Kazan or, more precisely, the organisers of the exhibition told they did not want to see clothes with names of Kazan organised criminal groups in their event.

The topic of prison also bothers minds of Tatarstan artists and musicians. Singer from Naberezhnye Chelny Aygel Gaisina released a song named Tanya that tells about prison dates. We need to note that AYGEL's all songs are based on true stories: Gaisina's civil husband does his three-year time in prison for a fight. The group's album 1190 tells about his trial. In her interview with Realnoe Vremya, Gaisina told not only about Tatar cloud rap and poetry but also unfair trials.

By Daria Turtseva

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