VILNIUS – Vilnius Regional Administrative Court on Monday dismissed an appeal filed by Russian pop star Philipp Kirkorov against the migration authority's decision to ban him from entering Lithuania for five years.
“Having heard the administrative case, the court stated that the Migration Department had banned a foreign national to enter the Republic of Lithuania in view of the information provided by a competent authority – the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – that the foreign national poses a threat to national security,” the court said in a statement released on Monday.
Having assessed the available information, the court concluded that the Migration Department had a reason to admit that the nature of the applicant‘s actions provided the basis for acknowledging the threat posed by him to national security.
“The case offers no evidence that would negate the legality of this finding. The court has also pointed out that the applicant’s argument that the remedy imposed against him is disproportionate and discriminatory, is legally unfounded. An appeal against this decision can be lodged with the Supreme Administrative Court of Lithuania within 14 days,” the court said.
According to the court, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a letter to the Migration Department that Kirkorov was a popular Russian pop star and producer who made an impact on various layers of society in Russia and other countries of the former Soviet Union due to his active performance and organizational activities.
Moreover, Russia’s officials openly described Kirkorov’s performance activity in foreign countries as a tool for spreading that country’s ‘soft power’, the court pointed out adding that the pop star regularly visited and performed in the Crimean Peninsula annexed illegally by Russia thus deliberately denying the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and indirectly justifying the aggressive actions of the Kremlin.
“He has been blacklisted in Ukraine and denied entry to this country due to these actions. In the ministry’s view, Kirkorov’s visits to Lithuania may pose a threat to the security of the Republic of Lithuania,” the court stated.
The Migration Department imposed the five-year entry ban on the singer at the Foreign Ministry's request on January 19.
Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis then said that the well-known performer, during his multiple visits to the annexed Crimean Peninsula, "deliberately denied the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and thus indirectly justified the aggressive actions of the Russian Federation".
Kirkorov's participation in concerts in Crimea "significantly harms the national security of Lithuania", the minister added.