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Belarus declares Rammstein an enemy of the state

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An archive picture of Rammstein singer Till Lindemann. Photo: DPA
10:29 CET+01:00
Not content to oppress the country's democratic opposition or rail against Western imperialism, the autocratic regime of Belarus has declared the German industrial rock band Rammstein to be an enemy of the state.

The country's Morality Council announced on Monday that the Berlin-based group's songs were propaganda for “violence, masochism, homosexuality and other perversions” that could “destroy the Belarusian state order.” The official opprobrium calls into question a planned concert in the capital Minsk on March 7.

The Belarusian moral authorities said “permission for a Rammstein concert is a mistake that can cost us greatly” and that the band would have to have its set list approved ahead of time in order to prevent “extremism” and to ensure the “dignity” the venue.

Belarusian critics of the Morality Commission say it has been used to limit freedom of expression since it was set up in 2009. President Alexander Lukaschenko's regime in the former Soviet republic has also been dubbed “Europe's last dictatorship” and Minsk frequently rages against alleged Western meddling in its affairs.

Members of Rammstein did not immediately comment on the official disapproval from Belarus, but the band is no stranger to controversy.

Rammstein's latest album was banned from sale to minors in Germany in November due to its sexually charged lyrics and artwork allegedly inciting sadomasochistic violence.

The country's youth media watchdog the BPjM expressed particular concern over the song “Ich tu dir weh,” or “I'll Hurt You,” and a picture in the album booklet showing a seated man about to hit a naked woman. According to deputy BPjM chairwoman Petra Meier, the album promotes unsafe sex and portrays sexuality and power in a sadomasochistic manner.

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The video for Rammstein's first single on the album, “Pussy,” featured fully pornographic scenes of band members having sex. However, the musicians say their provocative material is meant to have a cartoonish satiric edge.

For example, the lyrics “Blitzkrieg mit dem Fleischgewehr,” or “Blitzkrieg with the meat-gun,” in “Pussy” are meant to be a thinly veiled criticism of German sex tourism.

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