Kanye West travels to Russia to meet Putin and perform Sunday service – Billboard

Kanye West looks east, towards Russia. The artist and entrepreneur, now known as Ye, is planning a trip to Moscow later this year, and he plans to meet President Vladimir Putin, organize performances of the Sunday service as his very first shows in Russia and expand his business ventures in the country, his business partner said. Billboard.

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Travel plans are currently in the works for spring or summer, depending on Ye’s schedule, according to his confidant and strategic advisor. Ameer Sudan, who helps coordinate arrangements with the lawyer Scott balber. Balber is the managing partner in the New York office of Herbert Smith Freehills and is the law firm’s US head of financial services investigations and litigation. Sudan says he and Balber act as liaison between Ye and clients of Balber, an Azerbaijani and Russian billionaire real estate developer Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov. Balber declined to comment.

Russia is going to be “a second home” for Ye, says Sudan: “He will be spending a lot of time there. “

Aras Agalarov, a close associate of Putin and, as chairman of the Crocus Group, one of Russia’s top developers, is sometimes referred to as “Russia’s Trump” because of how he often self-marks his buildings. . He and his son and business partner Emin Agalarov worked with Donald Trump to bring the 2013 Miss Universe pageant to Moscow and were in talks about a project to develop the Trump Tower in the country that did not materialize. The Agalarovs later helped coordinate the infamous 2016 Trump Tower reunion, in which senior members of Trump’s election campaign met Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who expects to hear about Hillary Clinton.

Ye is also working on new trade deals with the Agalarovs, according to the Sudan, and while he cannot disclose details of those talks, he predicted that they would increase West’s wealth to more than $ 10 billion. Last March, Bloomberg reported that Ye was worth $ 6.6 billion thanks to his lucrative deals with Adidas and Gap, but Sudan claims that figure was conservative. Agalarov’s Crocus Group is responsible for more than 4 million square meters of developed properties in Russia, according to the company’s website, and its business portfolio includes shopping malls, big box stores, fashion brands, department stores, boutiques and more.

Kanye West, Ameer Sudan
Kanye West and Ameer Sudan
Courtesy photo

Ye also plans to collaborate musically with Emin Agalarov in an effort to raise Emin’s profile in the United States. Emin Agalarov is a musician trained by the late singer Muslim Magomayev, a beloved Russian artist often referred to as the Soviet Sinatra. Under the name EMIN, he has released more than a dozen albums since the start of his career in 2005 and has embarked on numerous international tours.

The Sunday Service shows will be Ye’s first performances in Russia in his 25-year career, and according to Sudan, the concerts and meeting with Putin is something Ye has wanted to do since he started Project Sunday. Service in 2019. The Sunday Service performances will likely take place at the Crocus City Hall theater, which seats over 7,300 people, or the Grand Sports Arena at the Luzhniki Olympic Complex of 81,000 people, Russia’s national stadium. held much of the 1980 Olympics. Ye plans to invite Putin to attend the gospel performance as a special guest.

The Christian faith has played an important cultural role in the Putin regime, which has positioned itself as a defender of traditional morals and invoked the Russian Orthodox Church in his speeches. After waging a cultural war on hip-hop and accusing local rappers of poisoning youth culture with immoral lyrics, Putin changed his stance on the genre in 2018, saying it should be controlled instead. “If it’s impossible to stop, then we have to lead it and lead it,” he told cultural advisers at the time, expressing particular concern about songs about illegal drugs, saying it ‘was “a path to the degradation of the nation”.

In November, West actually compared himself to Putin, calling himself “Young Poutine” during an interview on the popular Drink Champs podcast, telling hosts NORE and DJ EFN: “Culture is oil. Culture is energy, and I have been the king of culture for 20 years and the next 2000 years. The artist, who vocally supported Trump during his presidency, led his own presidential campaign in 2020 but ultimately only qualified for ballot access in 12 states.

Russia is currently a center of conflict, having amassed around 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border for a possible invasion, although Russian officials have said there are no such plans. The Russian military maneuver, officials said, is a response to NATO’s eastward expansion, and Moscow has called on NATO to withdraw its troops from its member countries bordering Russia. The conflict has worsened the already strained relations between Washington and the Kremlin, while threatening to destabilize the region and redraw the borders of post-Cold War Europe. If Russia invaded Ukraine, the United States and its allies threatened new sanctions that would exceed those imposed in 2014 after Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Putin warned that such sanctions would lead to a “complete breakdown” of US-Russian relations. On Monday, U.S. and Russian diplomats held talks in Geneva, marking the first in a series of talks between NATO and Russian officials scheduled to take place across Europe this week.

While new US sanctions against Russia could prevent travel between countries, US citizens are currently allowed to travel to Russia under certain conditions. The US State Department currently lists Russia with a Level 4 “do not travel” advisory, due to terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist US citizens in Russia and the arbitrary application of local law.

“It’s Ye, Ye is going to get there anyway. What are they going to say? He’s going to be the special guest of the Agalarovs,” Sudan said. “Kanye knows what’s going on more than the average human being. , he’s well aware of things. And it’s nothing against the US or to provoke conflict, but Ye is Ye, he can’t be controlled.

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