Alla Pugacheva: In a move that is sure to enrage the Kremlin and might signal a sea change in popular opinion regarding the “special military operation,” Soviet-Russian pop music diva Alla Pugacheva has spoken out against the war in Ukraine.
The 73-year-old Pugacheva shared her thoughts with her 3.5 million Instagram followers on Sunday. Close to 800,000 people have liked her post, and over 100,000 people have left comments.
This comes as President Putin of Russia is under increasing scrutiny from both war supporters and opponents alike, after the recent success of a Ukrainian attack that defeated Russian soldiers in the northern Kharkiv area.
Russian pop star Alla Pugacheva’s war criticism stirs vigorous debate
Alla Pugacheva has spoken out against the seven-month conflict in Ukraine more forcefully than any other celebrity.
Alla Pugacheva has been performing professionally since the mid-1960s, and throughout that time she has sold over 250 million recordings. The greatest accolade bestowed to a Soviet singer was bestowed upon her in 1991 when she was named “People’s Artist of the USSR.” The Russian Federation also bestowed upon her their highest accolades.
Pugacheva is “as adored as America’s darling Dolly Parton, as omnipresent as Madonna, and as carefully followed as a Kardashian,” according to Politico.
Maxim Galkin, Alla Pugacheva’s spouse and a Russian comedian, musician, and TV host, was added to Russia’s registration of “foreign agents” on Friday. Odesa-born 46-year-old Galkin was accused of using Ukrainian government funds for his own political activities. He said they were false.
This is why, on Sunday, Pugacheva posted on Instagram, requesting that her name be added to the Ministry of Justice’s list of foreign agents.
Alla Pugacheva, the legendary Russian crooner, speaks out against "the death of our boys for illusory goals that are making our country a pariah and weighing down on the lives of our citizens."
Losing the faith of nationalist bloggers is one thing. But losing Alla Borisovna… pic.twitter.com/wXycVbA5nl
— max seddon (@maxseddon) September 18, 2022
An unidentified law enforcement source told the official RIA Novosti news agency on Tuesday that Pugacheva was being investigated for smearing the reputation of the Russian armed forces. A Russian lady had reportedly filed a complaint against Pugacheva with the Moscow police, according to the source, who did not say whether or not an inquiry had been launched.
Those who have been labeled “foreign agents” are required to identify themselves as such in all public communications. Their funds, in particular, are subject to heightened government scrutiny. Criminal penalties may be imposed for any infraction of the stringent rules.
Protests over Putin’s reelection in the 2012 elections prompted the first introduction of the bill. Those given this label are those who oppose the policies of the Kremlin.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and in response, Ukrainian authorities have instituted new, more severe measures to silence critics, including the imposition of fines and jail terms. Putin signed a bill into law at the beginning of March that increased the maximum term for spreading false information about the military to 15 years in jail.
Galkin has been a vocal opponent of the conflict, denouncing the atrocities perpetrated by Russian forces and arguing that Russia had no right to invade Ukraine.
In March, Galkin and Pugacheva took their newborn twins and moved from Russia to Israel (through a surrogate mother). Pugacheva is no longer active in the entertainment industry, but Galkin has taken his stand-up performance, which included an imitation of Putin, on the road.
While Galkin stayed abroad, Alla Pugacheva came back to Russia last month to get her kids registered at a new school. She attended a funeral for the late Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and later posted about it on Instagram, saying, “I haven’t sobbed like this in a long time.” Her comment was a subtle jab at Putinism.
While Gorbachev “rejected violence as a tool of politics and retaining his own power,” Pugacheva observed, “the EPOCH in which we earned freedom, ceased to be the ‘Empire of Evil’ for the entire World,” and “the worry for the future of our children has evaporated.”
Alla Pugacheva’s remarks condemning the conflict in Ukraine are an open slap in the face of the Kremlin. Putin has hosted her at his home on several occasions, although she has never declared her support for him.
Alla Pugacheva was one of the most famous singers of the USSR. She remains an icon in 🇷🇺 and has > 3.400.000 Instagram followers.
But, today she came out against the war in Ukraine🇺🇦. The more that established icons/influencers reject the war, the harder things are for Putin. pic.twitter.com/Yh45eYaTGL
— Jason Jay Smart (@officejjsmart) September 18, 2022
The issue now is whether or not her remarks will sway Russian public opinion on the conflict.
An influential person in Russian music, Artemy Troitsky, who fled the country in 2014 due to his opposition to Putin, told the BBC that her involvement was crucial.
When questioned about Pugacheva’s remarks on Monday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov dodged the question. ‘I’m not going to comment on that matter at all,’ he told the press. To my knowledge, the Kremlin has nothing to do with this matter.
A watershed moment may have been reached if her voice breaks through the propaganda wall in Russia since her condemnation of the conflict in Ukraine has sparked passionate responses on social media.
Meduza, a Russian-language news website located in Latvia and officially recognized as a foreign agency, compiled responses to Pugacheva’s Instagram post.
The video below features Alla Pugacheva singing “Millions of Scarlet Roses,” one of her most well-known songs.