Vladimir Putin Warns Young Russians about Substance Abuse at Hip-Hop Awards Show

Vladimir Putin Warns Young Russians about Substance Abuse at Hip-Hop Awards Show

At a Russian hip-hop awards show Friday night, young fans were praising their prime minister by chanting “Respect, Vladimir Vladimirovich.” Putin took the stage after a rapper’s performance to warn Russia’s youth about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, which are both major problems across the nation.

“Street rap may be a little bit rough but it contains social meaning, raising social problems,” Putin told the crowd at the “Fight for Respect” show on Muz-TV that also featured break dancers and graffiti artists.

“Graffiti has become a real elegant art, break dance is something special. It is really a promotion of a healthy lifestyle. It is hard to imagine break dance being combined with alcohol or drugs,” he added.

ABC News reports that Putin stood stiffly in the front row as the audience waved their hands in the air to Russian rapper Zhigan, who later said, “It would be cool to record a joint track with Mr. Putin because this man is a legend, he’s our icon.” The crowd roared in approval.

Putin’s spokesman denied that the prime minister’s Muz-TV appearance had anything to do with sagging approval ratings after the newspaper Kommersant called the appearance “a desperate move.”

According to the Moscow-based Levada Center, Putin’s approval rating have declined slightly in the last few months, but he still remains the most popular political figure in the country.

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