The word шансон [shun-sohncomes from the French chansonHowever, in Russian, the term describes a different musical genre: шансон or sometimes русский шансон [roos-kie shun-sohn] is considered a low-brow, though very popular, song genre, ranging from city romance songs to the songs of the urban underclass and the criminal underworld.

This latter category amounts to a significantly bigger portion of the Russian chanson and even has its own name (the two terms are pretty much interchangeable though): блатняк [blaht-nyak] or блатная песня [blaht-nah-yah pyehs-nyah]. Блатная is slang for “criminal.”

Блатняк is traditionally very popular among taxi drivers. All the songs featured in the clip above are шансон.

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