Choose 'money, girls' over politics, Russian pop star tells protesters
The Putin administration has come under fire after it allegedly paid Russian pop star Alisa Vox to release a song shaming political protesters.
The song, entitled 'Baby Boy', was posted on YouTube with an accompanying music video two weeks ago - but it has only recently been alleged that the track was thought up by Russia's ruling party.
A source close to Vox told Meduza the Putin administration paid her two million rubles ($50,000) and asked for a song that would "take to task the anti-Kremlin opposition" - which would explain some of the lyrical content, which attempts to bring political activism into disrepute.
"Freedom, money, girls - you'll get it all, even power. So, kid, stay out of politics, and give your brain a shower," one line says, with the song earlier telling the tale of a young protester who fails at school and is used as "a puppet" for the opposition.
"At two o'clock on a sunny day, he heads out for a protest. His weak hands grip a poster closely to his chest. There are errors in his sentences, typos - I count four - but his heart is pounding thunderously, in his eyes he thirsts for war.
"Learn from your mistakes, it's not too late to start. You want a change, baby boy? Change yourself, sweetheart."
The song has been widely panned for its anti-protest message - with the YouTube music video getting 94 percent downvotes - but Vox has defended the track, saying she has been "driven nuts" by suggestions the Kremlin is behind it.
In a recent interview, Vox told a local TV station that the song was written because she was worried "for the fate of those who are being deceived and misled", before adding that "at the very least, climbing up lampposts is dangerous, because what if you fall from there".
The origin of the track remains a mystery; Vox has not been able to name anyone in the production team for the music video, and her normal co-writer has denied penning nor even knowing about 'Baby Boy'.
The music video comes just weeks after the Kremlin was alleged to be behind a video that compared opposition leader Alexei Navalny to Adolf Hitler, and a chemical attack that has left him with impaired vision.