Serbian musician deported from Russia for drug ‘propaganda’

Serbian musician Petar Martic has been deported from Russia after a Moscow court ruled the drug references in his lyrics were tantamount to “narcotic propaganda”, the official Moscow court Telegram channel announced on Wednesday.

Martic’s song INSECT, released with rapper Boulevard Depo in June 2023, was deemed by the court to contain “propaganda” of drug use, Russia’s state-owned media agency TASS reported on Thursday. The song includes references to smoking marijuana, though it does not explicitly mention drugs. The intro to the song features an excerpt from Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown: “Goddamn, girl, you getting’ high already? It’s just 2 o’clock.”

On top of his deportation, Martic was also fined 20,000 rubles (€200).

“I have been informed of the court decision: we disagree with it, consider it unreasonably harsh, and plan to appeal against it … I am okay, I am safe, and I hope you are too,” Martic said in a post on his Instagram page.

Martic has been based in Belgrade since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022, but frequently returned to Russia to give concerts.

His case represents the latest in a series of investigations into musicians for their alleged “propaganda” of drug use, many of which have been initiated by the head of Russia’s “Safe Internet League” Yekaterina Mizulina. It is unclear if Mizulina had any role in the investigation against Martic.

Martic, who was born in Belgrade but moved to Moscow with his family as a child, rose to fame in Russia’s alternative music scene as frontman of the bands Pasosh and Prygai Kiska. Pasosh disbanded in 2021 following allegations of domestic abuse against Martic from his former partner, Ukrainian artist Ganna Zosimova.

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