When I was in the Ukraine I had a wee bit of free time to watch Ukrainian tele, in between nearly being set on fire and eating borsch with pampushka and I observed a strange phenomenon...
Yes, Russia makes rap music, which struck me as odd because Russia doesn't contain many black people. I sat and watched the Russian rap music videos, which to all intents and purposes, resembled modern rap music videos but with one crucial element missing: black people.
To be clear, I have no problem with white people rapping, nor do I see rap as a preserve of black people but there is no doubt that rap and hip-hop has it's roots firmly in black American culture and is the key contemporary musical form of black America and indeed, blackness.
That's why Russian rap surprised me, an inherently black form presented with no black people.
The other stark paradox is that Russia is wracked with racism and bigotry, not just the long tradition Russia has of anti-Semitism and anti-Polonism but of hatred towards anyone deemed non-Russian.
Russia is suffering an epidemic of racially motivated killing and violence, with some 85,000 neo-Nazi's and a casual but pernicious racism being entrenched in Russian culture, which finds an easy target in the easily differentiated matter of skin colour.
People of African or Afro-Carribean decent in Russia are so often abused, either violently or verbally, that they have ceased to report it and assaults are merely part of their existence.
Which is why I have a problem with Russian rap, it must be popular, otherwise the music videos wouldn't be in rotation but it exists in a country where blackness, the very root of the musical formula they are exploiting, is despised.
What an awful dis-connect, typical of small-minded racists. Bigotry makes the lives of black people awful in Russia, whilst a fundamentally black music form is paraded on television by white rappers and is clearly popular.
I know white people have been stealing black culture for some time but this really stretches the very limits of belief.