April 09, 2024

Recent developments suggest that Chechnya has instituted a sweeping directive, purportedly outlawing any musical compositions falling outside the narrow tempo spectrum of 80 to 116 beats per minute (BPM), thereby effectively proscribing a multitude of genres, notably including techno and various dance music genres, within the confines of the Russian republic.

According to a report aired by Sky News, the Ministry of Culture in the region disseminated a formal statement last week, articulating an unequivocal mandate stipulating that “all manifestations of musical, vocal, and choreographic artistry must meticulously adhere to a tempo continuum ranging exclusively between 80 to 116 BPM.”

The decree, attributed to the directive of Ramzan Kadyrov, the incumbent leader of Chechnya, underscores a determined effort to assert a distinctive Chechen cultural ethos, denouncing any musical expression deemed incompatible with the prescribed “Chechen mentality.” Notably, Musa Dadayev, Chechnya’s Minister of Culture, underscored the importance of safeguarding indigenous musical heritage, firmly rebuffing any semblance of cultural appropriation.

This edict comes on the heels of a deliberative assembly between the Ministry of Culture and representatives of the local and regional artistic community, culminating in the implementation of stringent regulations that are poised to fundamentally reshape the cultural landscape of the region. Consequently, a wide swath of popular musical genres, including but not limited to techno, characterized by tempos that frequently surpass the delineated 120 BPM threshold, is poised to confront formidable restrictions.

In light of this mandate, artists have been afforded a grace period until the 1st of June to meticulously recalibrate any compositions failing to conform to the newly established tempo parameters. Failure to adhere to this directive will culminate in the prohibition of public performances of non-compliant musical works.

This development warrants attention against the backdrop of Chechnya’s recurrent engagement with human rights issues. Notably, the region garnered international scrutiny in 2017 and 2019 amidst documented instances of what Human Rights Watch has described as “anti-gay purges,” characterized by severe human rights violations, including fatalities, physical assaults, and alleged acts of torture targeting individuals perceived to identify as LGBTQ+.

The imposition of such sweeping musical regulations within Chechnya underscores a broader discourse surrounding the intersection of cultural expression and governmental authority, evoking pertinent questions regarding artistic freedom and cultural preservation within the region.

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