She is a feminist, defends minorities in Russia, and is known through social media.with Her feminist number Russian woman She praised the strength of Russian women and urged them to be more independent. She used her lyrics to resist various stereotypes: “You are thirty years old, hello, where are your children? You are beautiful, but you have to lose weight.”
Tajikistan-born singer Manizja will represent Russia in the Eurovision Song Contest in Rotterdam next month. She won the preliminary round by a majority of votes. But her participation has now aroused great anger in Russia. The lyrics that angered her, but also angered her origin. She receives a storm of hate speech and death threats every day.
Correspondent Iris de Graaf visited her in her studio in Moscow:
Manizja came to Russia as a little girl. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union, a bloody war broke out in Tajikistan, and her parents fled to Moscow with her. “My mother left all our dreams to us and let us live a better life. She has five jobs, so I can study music,” Manija recalled her childhood.
From the age of 15, Manizja began to write songs and perform. But she is only truly famous through Instagram, where she shares her music and video clips. Participating in the Eurovision Song Contest is a dream come true. Although that dream was obscured by the conservative Russian xenophobia and the wave of misogyny.
“You are a gypsy with kebabs on your head. You are dirty. Even if Russia is just my home country, I have to go back to my own country.” Manija said, and read a lot of replies from the phone. “Some people even want me to die. They want my plane to Rotterdam to crash next month. That really exceeds all restrictions.”
She put away the phone. “You know, I don’t want to read too much of this kind of news. Therefore, I give those who react too much power. I now try to focus mainly on those who support me. My team, my friends, my fans.”
‘Insult a woman’
In addition to the news that Manizja received on social media, Russian official authorities also opposed her. The Russian Orthodox Women’s Union requested that the song be banned. It is said that the song is “offensive to women” and “threat to traditional Russian values”.
Now, her participation has also been questioned to a higher degree. The President of the Council of the Russian Federation Valentina Matvijenko (Valentina Matvijenko) requested that the selection process be reviewed at the parliamentary meeting last week.
Manizja admitted that she was worried. “When I read all these news, I just want to sit in the corner and cry. But that’s exactly what they want.”
Examples of young girls
She said that Manizja wanted to show fans that it was important to show that she did not succumb to pressure. Despite reports of hatred, official investigations and threats, she still participates in the Eurovision Song Contest at all costs. “I will not let myself be broken. I can imagine young girls all over the world watching the Eurovision Song Contest. I do it for them, and I want to set an example for them.”
She believes that this is an excellent opportunity to talk to the world about topics important to her and break the stereotypes of both parties. “I am a Tajik, but Russia has accepted and nurtured me. I want the world to see the country I know: generous, with many caring, strong and smart people. We are much more alike than we thought.”