Russian politician accuses Lady Gaga and Madonna for breaking visa rules

A famous Russian politician has accused two American pop stars – Lady Gaga and Madonna for breaking the Russian visa rules. Vitaly Milonov, a member of the St Petersburg assembly, has stated that both of them have visited Russia with a cultural visa which does not allow them to participate in paid activities but they have given concerts, which is a paid activity. The first of those complaints came in April when Madonna had a concert in St Petersburg.

Now Mr Milonov is also complaining against the American pop singer Lady Gaga. Lady Gaga is the stage name of US performer Stefani Germanotta. Her first album, The Fame, was released in 2008. Since then she has sold 23m albums and 64m singles. According to him, her visa is of the basic cultural exchange sort. It does not allow her to participate in any commercial activities.

Some political commentators believe that Milonov may be motivated by something other than a desire to enforce the Russian visa requirements. Both the singers have supported gay rights, whereas Mr Milonov is a vehement opponent of such rights and, in fact, introduced legislation in the St Petersburg assembly which criminalised the dissemination of ‘homosexual propaganda’.

Lady Gaga is accused of breaching this law in 2012 at her St Petersburg concert after allegedly advocating gay rights on stage. Madonna also allegedly spoke in favour of gay rights at her 2012 St Petersburg concert. In addition to that, she supports the Russian punk group Pussy Riot, who were convicted of blasphemy after they performed “Punk Prayer” in a Russian Orthodox Church as a criticism of the current president of Russian Vladimir Putin.

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