Chechnya Reportedly Bans All Music Outside of 80-116 BPM Range

The Chechen capital of Grozny.

The Russian republic of Chechnya has reportedly banned all music outside of a range of 80-116 beats per minute (BPM), effectively prohibiting Western techno and rave music in the conservative Muslim-majority region, among other genres like pop music, samba and waltz.

“From now on all musical, vocal and choreographic works should correspond to a tempo of 80 to 116 beats per minute,” reads a statement from Chechnya’s Culture Ministry obtained by CNN.

The tempo ruling, which is slower than most Western pop music and nearly all electronic dance music (house, techno and dubstep all typically exceed a pace of 120 BPM), was announced following Chechen Culture Minister Musa Dadyev’s meeting with local musicians, according to the Moscow Times.

The ban is a directive from Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov to make the republic’s music “conform to the Chechen mentality and musical rhythm,” according to the statement.

Dadayev added that the ban aims to bring “to the people and to the future of our children the cultural heritage of the Chechen people,” according to CNN.

“Borrowing musical culture from other peoples is inadmissible,” he continued, according to the Moscow Times.

Chechen artists are said to have until June 1 to “rewrite” any music that doesn’t align with the tempo requirement. “Otherwise they would not be allowed for public performance,” the Culture Ministry wrote, according to the Moscow Times.

Kadyrov has been the leader of Chechnya—located in the North Caucasus region of Russia between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea—since 2007. 

His time in office has included stifling a decades-old Chechen separatist movement and propagating institutionalized violence against LGBTQ+ men. Kadyrov has also been a vocal supporter of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Sky News.

In 2017 and 2019, the pro-Kremlin leader’s security officials performed “anti-gay purges,” according to Human Rights Watch and United Nations experts, resulting in the death of at least two individuals and the reported torture of over 100 more because of their perceived sexual orientation.

In 2020, the U.S. State Department sanctioned Kadyrov for his “involvement in gross violations of human rights,” for which the department said they have “extensive credible information” indicating “numerous gross violations of human rights dating back more than a decade, including torture and extrajudicial killings,” according to CNN.

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Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University with a passion for culture and fat basslines.

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