October 04, 2023

Where Is Polina Gagarina?


Where Is Polina Gagarina?
Pro-government rally "One Country, One Family, One Russia." Katerinich Jan, Twitter.

On September 29, the Russian government held a rally and concert on Red Square to commemorate the illegal annexation of Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk, and Lugansk following their capture in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. An independent journalist from Bereg infiltrated the event, called "One Country, One Family, One Russia," and shared his experience.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who regularly gives speeches at these rallies, was notably absent. Furthermore, TV channels mostly ignored the pro-government rally, including Channel One RussiaRussia 1, and NTV

Even though the event was only for state employees and students, security guards barely checked tickets and did not inspect bags despite constant beeps from metal detectors. Security inspections at other rallies can form lines lasting up to half an hour, but Bereg's journalist was able to access the square in a few minutes.

Most of the 65,000 attendees were young adults. Bereg's journalist overheard one girl say, "I prefer to be in school right now, God, I want to study algebra." Ostorozhno, Moskva (Attention, Moscow) reported that the Moscow State Medical and Dental University offered students extra credit in exchange for attending the rally as a "volunteer activity."

Advertisements for the event promised that Polina Gagarina, a singer and judge on The Voice (or Russia's version of it, at least), as well as performer Dima Bilan, among others. However, even as spectators asked, "Where is Polina Gagrina?" Moskva Online revealed that half of the artists mentioned in the Kremlin's roster would not be at the event. Instead of songs to dance to, the crowd received performances from pro-war "Z poets."

During the last song, the performance of the Russian national anthem, many attendees headed towards the exit before the song concluded. Yet, as Bereg points out, Nikolavskaya Street was flooded with the chants "I'm Russian! In spite of the whole world!"

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