Representing Cultural Diversity in Russia. The Eurovision contest and Manizha's "Russian Woman" Performance

manizha, russia, music, culture, women

The nomination of Manizha Sangin, a Russian singer of Tajik origin, as Russia’s representative in the Eurovision Song Contest seems to have come as a surprise to everyone. On the one hand, conservative segments of Russian society are trying to mobilize, condemning Manizha as an insult to the image of a Russian woman. On the other hand, this decision has contributed to the solidarity of new social and cultural agents advocating the value of diversity and the freedom of self-identification in Russia. In his presentation, Mark Simon will discuss why Manizha's performance has been perceived by a significant part of the Russian public as a violation of the canon of representing “Russianness." Whom does Manizha herself seek to represent in her public activities? Can it be argued that the singer's stage image meets the demand for public visibility emanating from migrant communities in Russia? What is the new discourse of diversity in Russia and which social actors are transmitting this discourse in the public sphere?