Russia Is Getting Ready To Outlaw Teenagers’ Acting Out

noah | July 24, 2008 10:15 am

Over in Russia, there’s concern about the future of the country, thanks to the kids who are doing crazy things like growing their bangs long and piercing their eyebrows and listening to the Used. The adults are alarmed: Who will rule the country in 2020 if the adolescents of today are too busy rebelling through their teenage years? These tendencies are, after all, so abnormal–especially when they involve black nail polish and studded belts. The only way to fix this problem, some Russian politicians are saying, is to legislate against it! Which is why there’s a bill that’s trying to outlaw the “negative ideology” of emo, a term that apparently has one of those “I know it when I see it” definitions among the brainiacs who drafted the bill.

With Keds borrowed from the skaters, piercings from punks and a love of all things black from goths, emo style in Russia has become at once indefinable and everywhere.

The lawmakers who drafted the proposed legislation, however, have spelled out their own definition.

Emos, according to the bill, are from 12 to 16 years old and wear black and pink clothing. They have black hair with long bangs that “cover half the face,” black fingernails, black belts peppered with studs and pins, and ear and eyebrow piercings, the bill says.

The “negative ideology” of emo culture may push young people toward depression and social withdrawal, and the movement carries a significant risk of suicide, especially for young girls, according to the bill. …

The bill also outlines what it calls a “spiritual and ethical crisis” facing Russian youth, including the high rate of alcohol abuse, teen abortions and “negative youth movements.”

Emo ideology encourages and justifies drug use and sexual relations among minors, according to the bill, which also lumps emos and goths together with skinheads.

“The point of the bill is so that by 2020, Moscow will have someone to rule its government,” said Alexander Grishunin, an adviser to Public Chamber member Yevgeny Yuryev, one of the bill’s three coordinators. “This is the first step in the public discourse.”

The bill’s sponsors hope that it will be passed into law by the end of the year.

What subcultures, exactly, were these legislators involved in when they were in high school, I’d like to know.

Also: it’s emo and goth and skinhead culture that are being “outlawed” with one fell swoop here, in order to prevent the smoking and the drinking and the sexing. And it’s I guess the sort of “emo” that goes for guyliner and white pancake makeup as opposed to the sort that looks all bookish. Right? Anyone? This bill might be a bit less confusing if the Russian pols just said “anyone who looks like they shop at Hot Topic’s Russian equivalent will get charged with some nebulous crime… for the children, of course.”

Of course, it might all be a moot point, since the glacial pace of government has given people enough time to move on to other fads:

But the emo movement may fade into obscurity before the proposed bill ever becomes law. The anti-emo backlash is almost as prevalent as the culture itself.

Many bands who were formally identified as emo are quick to distance themselves from their “earlier” emo period.

Sergei Vel, the lead vocalist in rock band Radio Cambodia, which is heavily featured on, says he no longer listens to emo music.

“Even those who play emo music will not admit that it’s emo, because it’s not in style anymore,” Vel said. “It used to be honest and real. Now it all faded and merged into the mainstream. I can identify with emo culture, but not the kind that is now being offered in Russia.”

Black bangs, piercings raise eyes in Duma [The Moscow Times via Blabbermouth]