The New York Times reports:
REVERENCE for Russia’s leaders, be they czars, general secretaries or presidents, has never come easily to Yuri Shevchuk. A bespectacled, slightly graying rock star, Mr. Shevchuk has spent much of the last three decades growling into a microphone in an effort, he says, to awaken in his compatriots a passion to break from their long history of bowing to heavy-handed authority.
These days, at 53, Mr. Shevchuk remains a guttural voice of defiance, just as he was when he began dodging Soviet censors by holding secret concerts in apartments throughout Russia in the early 1980s. But now he rails against Vladimir V. Putin’s government in his packed shows and openly scorns other musicians he accuses of selling out.
Last month, he put his preaching into practice, stunning Russians by making an off-the-cuff speech against official abuses during a meeting with Mr. Putin himself.
“I have questions, honestly speaking,” Mr. Shevchuk told the prime minister at the meeting. “They’ve accumulated for some time, and I will use this opportunity.”