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Chechnya bans all music deemed too fast or too slow

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (in blue suit) dances to folk music in Grozny, Chechnya on November 29, 2009.
S Dal/Reuters via CNN Newsource
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov (in blue suit) dances to folk music in Grozny, Chechnya on November 29, 2009.

By Jack Guy and Anna Chernova, CNN

(CNN) — Authorities in the Russian Republic of Chechnya have announced a ban on music that they consider too fast or slow.

Minister of Culture Musa Dadayev announced the decision to limit all musical, vocal and choreographic compositions to a tempo ranging from 80 to 116 beats per minute (BPM) at a meeting Friday, the Russian state new agency TASS reported.

“(I) have announced the final decision, agreed with the head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Akhmatovich Kadyrov, that from now on all musical, vocal and choreographic works must correspond to a tempo of 80 to 116 beats per minute,” Dadayev said, according to TASS.

Under Kadyrov’s directive, the region now ensures that Chechen musical and dance creations align with the “Chechen mentality and musical rhythm,” aiming to bring “to the people and to the future of our children the cultural heritage of the Chechen people,” Dadayev added.

The ban will mean that many songs in musical styles such as pop and techno will be banned.

Chechnya sits in the North Caucasus region between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.

It is an almost entirely Muslim republic, which includes part of Russia’s border with Georgia.

Kadyrov has been leader since 2007 and has used his time in office to stifle any form of dissent.

There have also been reports of waves of violence against gay men.

In early 2017, United Nations human rights experts urged authorities to investigate allegations that gay men were being targeted and detained, and local media reported that some had been murdered for their sexuality.

Another wave of anti-LGBT persecution was reported in January 2019, when activists said dozens of men and women were detained and at least two died in custody.

In response, Kadyrov said there were no gay people in his republic, and that if there were any they should be taken away from the region.

The pro-Kremlin leader has also subdued the Chechen separatist movement that fought for independence from Russia for almost two decades.

In July 2020, the US State Department sanctioned Kadyrov for his “involvement in gross violations of human rights.”

According to a statement from the then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the department has “extensive credible information” of Kadyrov’s responsibility “for numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings.”

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