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Last Updated: Friday, 5 November, 2004, 18:36 GMT
Russian city bans 'immoral' DJs
By Steve Rosenberg
BBC Moscow correspondent

Dancers in a Moscow nightclub (archive)
Western-style discos have become popular in post-Soviet Russia
Officials in a south Russian city are to impose restrictions on discos and attempt to "educate" DJs in an effort to improve public morality.

The new decree in Belgorod, 700km (400 miles) from Moscow, limits the kind of music which can be played as well as the kind of DJs permitted to play it.

Most Russians view discos simply as innocent fun.

But officials in Belgorod consider them to be a potential danger to society, hotbeds of drugs, drink and debauchery.

Now the regional governor has ordered DJs to face the music and clean up their acts.

He has imposed heavy restrictions on local discos or, as they are described in the decree, "mass cultural youth events".

From now on, only music which is considered to be of a moral nature can be played.

Measured steps

Recommended works include folk music, Russian and western classics.

Disc jockeys must have completed secondary education and they must know Russia's law on culture.

Special courses will be organised to help DJs improve their qualifications.

As for the audience, from now on anyone boogieing in Belgorod would be well advised to take along a tape measure and a watch.

According to the decree, there can be no more than two people dancing on one square metre and the music has to stop at 10pm.

It all smacks of Soviet-era control. Under communism, censors usually decided which songs could be played and which were too ideologically unsound.

This is not the first time that officials in Belgorod have tried to raise the moral standing of society.

Early this year they launched a campaign to stop people swearing and encouraged police to fine anyone heard using "four-letter" words.

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