A Russian politician has accused two American pop stars, Lady Gaga and Madonna of breaching Russian visa rules. Vitaly Milonov, a member of the St Petersburg assembly, claims that the two stars separately visited Russia with cultural visas which did not permit them to undertake paid work. They then both gave concerts for which they were paid.
Mr Milonov made a complaint against Madonna in April this year. Madonna, who has been a global superstar for thirty years, is famous for wearing outlandish clothes such as her infamous conical bras and for hits such as Vogue, Material Girl and Beautiful Stranger. She has sold over 300m records. Mr Milonov claimed that the singer made $1.1m from a concert in St Petersburg in August 2012 having visited Russia with a single entry, three month visa issued by Russia’s ministry of culture.
These visas allow their holders to visit Russia to engage in ‘cultural relations’ but do not allow them to work. In order to work, the singer would have required a work permit.
Milonov strikes again
Now Mr Milonov is making similar allegations against 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.
Like Madonna, Lady Gaga is famous for wearing outlandish clothes and once appeared on a magazine cover in a dress made out of meat. Among her hits are songs such as Poker Face, Bad Romance and Alejandro. Mr Milonov alleges that she gave a concert in St Petersburg in December 2012 while in Russia with a cultural visa.
A spokesman for the Russian Prosecutor General’s office told Contactmusic.com ‘The visas issued were of the basic cultural exchange sort, which do not grant their bearers the right to engage in any commercial activity’.
Milonov dislikes homosexual propaganda
Commentators believe that Mr Milonov may be motivated by something more than a desire to ensure that Russia’s visa system is not abused. 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.
She also spoke out in favour of the Russian female punk band Pussy Riot at her Moscow concert. The members of Pussy Riot were convicted of blasphemy and imprisoned in August 2012 after performing a ‘punk prayer’ in a Russian Orthodox church as a criticism of Russian president Vladimir Putin.