Addressing the rapid popularity of rap music among the youth of his country, Russian president Vladimir Putin has said that he wants cultural leaders to devise strategies that control the output and access to the genre, rather than banning it completely.

“If it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it, the leader said Saturday at a St. Petersburg meeting with his cultural advisers. According to his logic, attempts to ban artists from performing only has an adverse effect and increases the popularity of hip-hop.

He added that rap is based on three pillars: sex, drugs and protest,” voicing his concern with the “drugs” aspect, citing such themes as a “path to the degradation of the nation.”

This new revelation arrives on the heels of a recent string of events in which contemporary artists were targetted in Russia. Last month, popular rapper Husky was jailed after launching a pop-up performance when his official show was shut down in the Russian city of Krasnodar. With lyrics that focus on poverty, police brutality, and corruption, local prosecutors told the venue that Husky’s music had elements of “extremism.”

Following that instance, rapper Gone.Fludd had to cancel two concerts, citing pressure from government agencies while artist Allj was forced to cancel a show after receiving violent threats. In addition to hip-hop, pop artists in the country have also faced shutdowns at the hands of authorities with viral sensation Monetchochka’s own show being shut down last month.

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