Kanye West Is Reportedly Going to Russia to Meet Putin

He also plans on performing his Sunday Service

BY Kaelen BellPublished Jan 11, 2022

Kanye West has reached that rarified plain of celebrity where nothing he does anymore generates actual shock. At this point, ridiculous Kanye headlines are like the feeling of jeans against your leg or the gurgling of your radiator; near-imperceptible textures of everyday life. 

So, it's with glazed-over eyes and a steady pulse that we must report Kanye's apparent plans to travel to Russia, meet with Vladimir Putin, hold a Sunday Service and "expand his business ventures in the country." 

UPDATE (1/11 5:00 p.m. ET): Pierre Rougier, a PR rep for Kanye, told Rolling Stone in an email that the story presented by Ameer Sudan is "entirely fabricated. Work of fiction or wishful thinking from these Russian people."

Neither Sudan nor Scott Balber immediately returned the magazine's request for comment. However, according to Rolling Stone, Publicist Rob Goldstone — a rep for Emin Agalarov — said he could "confirm there are talks going on," but declined to comment further. 

As reported by Billboard, travel plans are already in the works to get Ye to Moscow by this spring or summer. The plans are reportedly being arranged with Ye's strategic advisor Ameer Sudan and attorney Scott Balber, who is the managing partner of Herbert Smith Freehills' New York office and is the law firm's US head of investigations and financial services litigation. Sudan and Balber are apparently acting as liaisons between Ye and Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire real estate developer Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov. 

Aras Agalarov is closely associated with Putin and is one of Russia's leading developers. He's sometimes called the "Trump of Russia," so, all things considered, Ye's interest in working with him makes some sense. Ye also allegedly has plans to collaborate with Emin Agalarov (who has been releasing albums since 2005 under the name EMIN) on music, and will make an effort to "raise Emin's profile in the US." 

Ye has reportedly wanted to meet with Putin for a while, even calling himself "young Putin" in November 2021 during an interview on the Drink Champs podcast. 

As Billboard notes, Ye shares his Christian faith with Putin, who has positioned himself as a defender of traditional morals. Putin has previously accused hip-hop music and Russia's local rappers of being a poison, telling his cultural advisors in 2018 that "if it is impossible to stop, then we must lead it and direct it," calling rap and hip-hop "a path to the degradation of the nation." 

According to Sudan, Russia is going to be Ye's "second home" and that he'll "be spending a lot of time out there." 

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