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Rock Bands, Music Promoters Feel Fallout of Ukraine-Russia Crisis

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A popular band that had played in Independence Square is no longer welcome in St. Petersburg.

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Ukrainian musicians are having a tough go of things in the current political climate, industry insiders say.

In December 2013, the popular Ukrainian band Okean Elzy performed in Kiev's Independence Square (known as Maidan Nezalezhnosti or just Maidan) in support of Ukrainian protests against President Viktor Yanukovych's government. In turn, according to the Moscow Times, Vitaly Milonov, a Saint Petersburg Deputy for Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party, has now canceled an Okean Elzy concert planned for his city this month.

According a story in the KyivPost, Milonov and another politician, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the far-right Russian Liberal Democratic Party, had earlier last month proposed not allowing "the Russian tour of any Ukrainian bands whose members include individuals who have taken an explicitly anti-Russian stance."

Milonov isn't a big fan of popular music -- in the past, he sued a promoter who put on Madonna and Lady Gaga concerts for "promotion of homosexuality."

Politics within Russia have also prompted some Western acts to cancel shows in protest.

"When Pussy Riot were sent to jail, quite a lot of artists [refused to visit Russia]," one Russian promoter told the Moscow News. "Personally, I experienced this three times. People said that as long as artists, and people in general, were being treated like this, they would not come. It cost me a lot of effort to persuade Dead Can Dance to visit and perform a concert [in Oct. 2012] because they just said, 'We will not go.'"

Here's a video of Okean Elzy playing live in Kiev during the Maidan protests:



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