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Prapaganda: Putin uses Russia’s most popular hip-hop TV show as a PR vehicle

Vladimir Putin saunters onstage. His smile is insincere. Wearing a blue zip-up jumper over a beige turtleneck, he looks like he’s come straight from the gym. The tune from MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This” announces him; a crowd of teenagers clap and scream as he makes his entrance on the country’s most popular hip-hop show, The Battle for Respect. Standing in front of a giant screen, Putin extols the martial values of rap. For viewers across Russia’s 11 time zones the sight is as striking as…

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