Lively Pop Culture Flourishing in Russia

They're young. They're pretty. They're impossibly cool.

Meet Na Na, the latest pop phenomenon here.

You might say they're the Russian 'N Sync or Backstreet Boys, but it's a comparison that draws protests from the band.

"We're not a boy band," says one member of the group.

"We play instruments, you know," says another.

"Everybody wants to compare us with the boy bands," says the first member. "I don't know why."

Maybe it's all the gushing young fans.

Borrowed From the West

Pop culture in Russia today can look predictably Western.

In fact, the latest craze among young people has a sort of 1950s James Dean feel. It's drag racing, and it draws huge crowds until the cops come.

One thing the police won't stop them for is having a drink on the street. And, by the way, it's beer, not vodka, for the new generation.

Whatever you want to read these days can all be found at any Russian newsstand, especially gossip magazines. Tabloids are all the rage — highlighting sex shows, the sex tips of a popular Russian actor, or a story about how Ludmilla Putin, the wife of the president, gave birth.

Russian Spin

Then, there's pop culture of the homegrown variety. Russian fashion has gone Soviet chic, with popular T-shirts featuring red stars. And Russians also have discovered that the best fast food may be their own, such as a blini, or Russian pancake, on the run.

On the streets of Moscow, you find that old Russian tradition of glorifying the leaders still alive and well. You want a bust of Vladimir Putin? You can pick it up at a street-side vendor. In a more modern twist, how about a T-shirt with Putin on the front? Just 10 bucks.

The Russian obsession with psychics and the paranormal has gone mainstream. Healers, often government-sanctioned, are everywhere. Alina, a shaman, treats everyone from ordinary Russians to entire corporations to visiting reporters. She offers energy adjustments and advice on living a happier life.

ABCNEWS' Claire Shipman contributed to this report.

Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...