Three popular Russian singers have been blacklisted from entering Latvia for their support of President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine, Latvian news portal Delfi.lv has reported. Latvian Foreign Affairs Minister Edgar Rinkevich blacklisted Oleg Gazmanov, Joseph Kobzon and Alla Perfilova, also known by her stage name Valeriya, for their “aggressive support” for the annexation of Crimea and “for repeatedly and publicly speaking disparagingly about the actions of Ukraine”.
In March this year, Gazmanov, Kobzon and Perfilova added their names to an open letter in support of Putin’s policies on Ukraine. The 84 signatories included director Fedor Bondarchuk and musical maestro Valery Gergiev.
Both Gazmanov and Kobzon were due to star in New Wave, a six-day international pop music contest in the Latvian city of Jūrmala from the 22 to 27 July, while Valeriya was expected to sit on the jury. In March this year, Rinkevich banned a number of officials from the government of ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich from entering Latvia.
- Text: Nadia Beard