In Brief

Robbie Williams upsets Russia with 'offensive' new video

Former Take That singer comes under attack for stereotype-laden song Party like a Russian

161005_robbie_williams_russia.jpg

Russia has come under fire from around the world for its military ventures, but it is a Robbie Williams song that appears to have broken the camel's back, sparking a furious response in the country.

Russian media say the video for Williams's new song Party like a Russian, which features the singer in a Soviet-style military uniform surrounded by ballerinas, is "borderline racist", The Guardian reports.

Vesti, the state TV channel, described it as an attempt to grab attention by a musician whose popularity "in recent years was becoming a memory rather than a reality".

Moscow-based concert impresario Sergey Knyazev told Life magazine that while home-grown artists might be forgiven for digs at the national culture, foreign artists could expect to see their music and ticket sales take a hit for lampooning Russia.

It is certainly true that few Russian stereotypes escape mention in the song, which references Rasputin, oligarchs, nesting dolls and, of course, vodka.

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Perhaps more controversially, lyrics analysis website Genius suggests the song's first verse is a veiled attack on President Vladimir Putin.

The opening lines reference "a certain kind of man with a certain reputation" draining the nation's economy while acting "highfalutin while my boys put the boots in".

Not everyone has been so outraged. Anti-Putin political activist Maria Baronova applauded the lyrics as "fierce satire" of the Russian leader and the country's elite.

However, in a tweet to The Sun's Dan Wootton, Williams denied the lyrics were political.

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