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Russian Investigators to Probe Feminist Eurovision Pick for ‘Inciting Hatred’ – Reports

Manizha's “Russian Woman” has sparked controversy with conservative groups for its lyrics that promote rejecting sexist stereotypes. Valery Sharifulin / TASS

Moscow investigators have launched an inspection into “Russian Woman,” the country’s entry to this year’s Eurovision song contest, after a veteran’s newspaper accused it of inciting hatred, the state-run TASS news agency reported Tuesday. 

Written and performed by Tajik-born artist Manizha, “Russian Woman” has sparked controversy among conservative groups for its lyrics promoting female empowerment and rejection of sexist stereotypes.

The Veteranskiye Vesti newspaper asked Russia’s Investigative Committee to launch a probe into the song, accusing Manizha of extremism and calling her performance “a gross insult and humiliation of Russian women’s dignity."

Moscow's Ostankino District Investigative Committee will check the song “for signs of incitement to hatred or enmity” following the newspaper's request, an anonymous law enforcement source told TASS. 

The TASS source said that the Investigative Committee would consider the newspaper's appeal, “but in this case, it is hardly possible to conduct an inspection since there are obviously no signs of illegal activity.”

Manizha, 29, has said her song is meant to reflect the transformation of Russian women’s identity across generations. She will perform the song at the Eurovision ceremony in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, in May after being selected to represent Russia in a nationwide vote.

Last week, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko slammed the song’s lyrics as “a bunch of nonsense” and called for an explanation into how the song was chosen as Russia’s Eurovision selection.

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