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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Risque Pop Video Banned by MTV

Positioning itself as the arbiter of good taste in music videos, MTV Russia has banned a controversial video by one of the most popular Russian bands because, the company spokesman said, "It violates all the taboos."

"Our position is simple and it was many times made public: We don't charge any money from artists [to show their videos], but we have tough rules, which may be called censorship," MTV Russia spokesman Andrei Afanasyev said.

The decision, which was made about two weeks ago, concerned the video for the song "Ty Brosil Menya," or "You Dumped Me," by the group Strelki, or Arrows, one of the several Russian all-female groups modeled after the British group Spice Girls.

"It [the decision] is not linked with this particular group. It is concerned only with the theme of the song," Afanasyev said.

The video, which is shown by the music video program "DISC Channel" and was the subject of "Skandal Nedeli," or "Scandal of the Week," on TV-6 on Thursday, tells the story of a young girl who falls in love with an older man, who then leaves her.

"You dumped me, you dumped me, when you left, I was alone. You told me that you don't need me," goes the song's chorus.

The video graphically shows a girl - played by a model, not a member of Strelki - using drugs and having sex with her partner, played by the prominent Soviet actor, Latvian-born Ivars Kalnins, and then shooting him dead as he emerges from a casino with his new girlfriend.

Afanasyev said the graphic sex, violence and images of drug use led to the decision to ban the video. He added it was the first such ban since MTV Russia started broadcasting in the fall.

Strelki producers were not available for comment, but Moskovsky Komsomolets quoted an anonymous Strelki spokesman who said the decision to ban the video was made personally by MTV Russia director Boris Zosimov. The spokesman said he saw Zosimov's decision as an unfair one, adding that the video "Smack My Bitch Up" by Prodigy, which depicts drug use, has been shown many times on MTV Russia.

"It seems that officials of MTV always notice faults in others, but rarely notice their own," the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Afanasyev said the video by Prodigy, as well as a controversial video by the popular band Splin that shows a man throwing a baby carriage off a cliff, have been shown only at night and the questionable parts have been blacked out.

He said such limitations would not have worked with the Strelki video.

"We could have done that, but then nothing would have remained of the video. They put everything in there - drugs, weapons and nudity."

Music critic Artyom Troitsky said censorship of music videos happens quite often on Russian television. Troitsky used to have his own music program, "Oblomov's Cafe," where he often showed videos that other television companies refused to air.

"I am against censorship in any case, but in Russia it is mostly used to settle accounts," Troitsky said. "I can't rule out that Zosimov had a conflict [with Strelki]."

Strelki, which has achieved huge popularity among teenagers for their simple hits "New Russian Girls" and "At the Party," gained a boost in popularity when the group posed for the Russian version of Playboy last year.

The group was formed by a competition announced on the late-night variety show "Znak Kachestva" in which 4,000 young women took part. Like many similar groups, Strelki do not sing, but lip-synch their songs at their concerts.