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Russian Rock Band Leningrad Praises State Defense Conglomerate in New Song

Sergei Shnurov. Sergei Kiselev / Moskva News Agency

The Russian ska-punk group Leningrad on Tuesday released a new song and music video praising the country’s state-owned defense conglomerate Rostec. 

“It’s a f****** no brainer — Rostec has the best weapons,” the band’s eccentric frontman and founder Sergei Shnurov sings in the new song, which is simply called “Rostec.” 

The music video accompanying the song features clips of Russian military helicopters launching rockets, fighter jets performing dramatic air maneuvers and warships at sea firing cannons.

It also briefly features Rostec head Sergei Chemezov, a former KGB agent and close associate of President Vladimir Putin who has faced multiple rounds of Western sanctions over the 2014 annexation of Crimea and 2022 invasion of Ukraine. 

Since its founding in St.Petersburg in the late 1990s, Leningrad has become one of Russia’s most popular bands, known for its obscene and raunchy lyrics as well as extravagant music videos. 

While the band’s lead singer Shnurov was once a vocal critic of Putin and his regime, he has gradually tempered his political views over the years, and in 2020 he became a member of the pro-business Party of Growth, which was founded by Putin’s business ombudsman Boris Titov.

In 2021, Shnurov composed the soundtrack for a movie about Wagner Group mercenaries who travel to Mozambique to fight Islamic militants. 

When asked last year about his stance on the war in Ukraine, the musician said: “F*** off. It’s my right whether I want to choose or don’t want to choose. They bring you a glass of vodka and a glass of whiskey, but you want wine.

“I don’t want to choose from these options. It’s a false choice,” he said.

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