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Madonna, Lady Gaga Face Trouble in Russia; Violated Visas, Vocally Backed Pussy Riot

By Staff Writer | August 02, 2013 05:08 PM EDT

Madonna and Lady Gaga could be in trouble if they return to Russia. The Guardian is reporting that Russian officials said Madonna and Lady Gaga could face prosecution if they enter Russia. The two pop stars violated the terms of their respective visas to enter the country. Madonna and Lady Gaga were allowed to enter Russia on “cultural exchange” visas. Those visas don’t cover any money making activity like giving live performances. Madonna and Lady Gaga also publicly declared their support for the anti-Putin punk group Pussy Riot.

Madonna and Lady Gaga both performed concerts in the Russia without the proper papers, according to Russian authorities. Madonna performed in Russia in August 2012 and Lady Gaga gave a concert in December 2012. Both were issued cultural-exchange visas. Russian officials say those visas "do not grant their bearers the right to engage in any commercial activity."

Prosecutors are determining whether to ask the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Federal Migration Service to press charges against the two music superstars.

The original complaint came from Vitaly Milonov, the same St. Petersburg legislator who wrote that city's recent controversial anti-gay legislation. Madonna spoke out against the legislation during her August 2012 concert. Milonov accused Madonna of giving commercial performances without the right papers. Milonov brought the complaint to the office of Russia's prosecutor general, which began an investigation. Lady Gaga is publicly supported lesbian and gay rights. Both artists vocally supported the controversial performance artists/punk rock group Pussy Riot.

Yevgeny Finkelstein, head of the St. Petersburg-based PMI media holding, thinks that the prosecution might impact tourism at a time when the Winter Olumpics are scheduled to be played in Sochi next year. He is also worried that foreign artists might not avoid stops in Russia. Finkelstein told RIA Novosti, "Not one artist, circus or exhibition will come here if the prosecutor's office fines someone now.”

By Tony Sokol

Tagged :  world news, Madonna, Lady Gaga, Russia, Visas, lesbian, gay, pussy riot

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