The popular Russian rapper is under investigation for allegations that he insulted the history of World War II in Russia.
Alisher Morgenstern has angered Russian war veterans over comments about celebrating Victory Day in the country.

In a YouTube interview, Morgenstern said he “did not understand” why Russia was still celebrating the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany.

The 23-year-old rapper also questioned the amount of money spent on the May 9 commemoration.

“I honestly do not understand this celebration of victory, which took place 76 years ago,” Morgenstern said. “Every year we spend millions on it.”

The video of the interview was uploaded to YouTube on Monday and has since received more than 3 million views. His comments soon provoked a negative reaction, and an organization of Russian war veterans filed a complaint to the country’s Investigative Committee.

A group of veterans stated that Morgenstern’s remarks “offended the historical memory” of those who fought and died in World War II.
The committee said in a statement that they would investigate whether Morgenstern’s comments violated any Russian law.

On May 9, military parades are held in major Russian cities in memory of the 20 million people who died during World War II.
After coming to power, President Vladimir Putin emphasized Russia’s role during the war and accused Western opponents of downplaying Russian history.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Morgenstern was probably speaking “not out of anger, but out of ignorance.”

But Peskov added that the rapper must take “moral responsibility” for his statements.

If the rapper is found guilty of public insult and “rehabilitation of Nazism”, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison.
In a statement on Instagram, Morgenstern apologized to Russian war veterans and said his comments were “taken out of context.”
“I respect and am proud of our veterans, but, unfortunately, I can’t remember my thoughts correctly,” the rapper said, accusing the media of “distorting” his words.

“I did not want to downplay the importance of this event,” he said, adding that he also said in an interview that Russian veterans needed more subsidies.