D.he pop singer Manizha from Tajikistan will represent Russia with her song “Russian Woman” at the upcoming Eurovision song competition and is heating up the country’s minds. Manizha, whose parents fled the civil war from Dushanbe to Moscow in 1994 when she was two years old, completed a psychology degree, became a pop star and also writes songs and lyrics herself. She is also the first Russian UN ambassador on refugee issues and sits down for victims of domestic violence.
Her song, which amalgamates elements of Russian pop, rap, soul singing and Russian folklore, is a pick-me-up for people from incomplete families and, above all, women, whom she tells in Russian and English that they are strong enough to break through any wall. “Russian Woman” was chosen by viewers of the 1st channel of Russian state television, viewed more than three million times and received 132,000 likes – but also 77,000 dislikes.
A hate campaign against Manizha is raging online. The 29-year-old artist, who studied gospel singing in London, culturally locates herself as half Slavic, half Tajik.She has reported that she was insulted by xenophobia as a child, but also recently again, but that she is not intimidated by it. She shows her solidarity with that third of all women, including many Uzbek women, Tajik women and Kyrgyz women who, according to their findings, have experienced domestic violence, as well as with the Russian LGBTQ community.
The feminist artist Darja Serenko calls “Russian Woman” a great song of female self-empowerment. The imperial political clown Vladimir Zhirinovsky, on the other hand, thinks that the verses that ironically ask where the children of a thirty-year-old woman are, in no way promoted the reputation of Russian women. And the Kremlin-loyal war reporter Juri Kotenok reviled Manizha as a migrant who made a career with the LGBTQ issue.
Many are bothered by their supposed feminism. Manizha emphasizes that she does not see herself as a feminist, but defends humanity and, above all, the rights of others. As the offspring of a generation of strong women in Tajikistan, she also praises the “beauty” of traditional family values, which, in her opinion, should not be consolidated through aggressiveness, but through self-respect. The actor Alexej Agranowitsch, who has recently headed Serebrennikov’s Gogol Center, warns his compatriots, who believe Russia’s victory in World War II over the fascists, downright desperate, that their attacks on Manizha speak of completely banal fascism.
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