Spotify Removes Russian Artists Who Support Ukraine War

Posted by

In March of 2022, Spotify announced that they’d be fully suspending their service in Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Now, the streamer is cracking down on the songs and profiles of pro-war Russian artists by removing their music entirely from the platform.

The Moscow Times reports that the Russian artists affected include the band Lyube as well as singers Grigory Leps, Oleg Gazmanov, Polina Gagarina, and Shaman, among others. “Platform Rules clearly state that we take action when we identify content which explicitly violates our content policies or local laws,” reads a statement from Spotify. “Upon review, these artists met the threshold for removal.”

Though Spotify didn’t cite exactly which content violated their policies, a few of the affected artists have been under EU sanctions since the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Gagarina and Shaman, however, appeared on Brussels’ most recent sanctions package last week. The listing says Shaman “repeatedly participated in Kremlin-organized concerts, including the Kremlin’s anniversary event for that war, and given concerts in the illegally occupied regions of Ukraine,” while Gagarina allegedly “generated significant revenue” from state-sponsored events celebrating annexation of Ukranian regions under Moscow’s partial control. Sanctioned individuals are subject to restrictive measures such as asset freezes and travel bans.

Spotify similarly announced a hate content and hateful conduct policy back in 2018, which resulted in the removal of R. Kelly and XXXTentacion’s music from Spotify-curated playlists and other editorial promotions. However, they walked back that policy a few weeks later after critics said it disproportionately affected artists of color.