VILNIUS – Lithuanian Culture Minister Simonas Kairys plans to invite executives of companies organizing concerts to discuss how foreign performers are picked to perform in Lithuania.
The minister announced the plan in response to a remark by MP Remigijus Zemaitaitis during the Government Hour in the Seimas that Russian pianist Nikolay Lugansky is scheduled to perform at the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society in Vilnius in October.
"Last week, I was looking for a ticket to the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Society for October 3. And guess what? I found a person named Lugansky. If you know, he's a well-known pianist, a true virtuoso and things like that. But the most important thing is that this person regularly performs in Donbas, the Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine. So, how can it be, you tell me," Zemaitaitis said.
The culture minister said Lugansky could not be compared to Russian singer Philipp Kirkorov who is banned from coming to Lithuania for five years for his numerous visits to Russian-annexed Crimea, denial of Ukraine's territorial integrity and justification of Russia's aggressive actions.
"We wouldn’t want to have a situation in Lithuania when only those performers who go through checks by the special services and things like that could go on stage. How would that make us look? But how to resolve this issue? I plan to invite executives of companies organizing concerts and have a comprehensive discussion," the minister said.
The last time Lugansky performed in Donetsk was in August.
Now in Lithuania, under the Law on the Legal Status of Aliens, persons are put on the list of persons declared persona non grata for voicing in public their support to a country's aggressive policy that runs counter to international law.
On January 19, Lithuania's Migration Department, in response to the Foreign Ministry's request, put Kirkorov on the persona non grata list for his justification of Crimea's occupation.