Russian officials urge festival organizers to switch venue to Crimea amid musician ban

  • 2014-07-23
  • From wire reports, RIGA

The New Wave festival is popular for attracting Russian musicians to the seaside resort of Jurmala, Latvia

Russian State Duma members have urged organizers of the popular New Wave music festival in Latvia to relocate to Crimea in response to Latvia's decision to ban three Russian singers from traveling to Latvia.

Valery Rashkin and Sergei Obukhov, representatives of the Communist Party, said relocating the popular music festival that attracts many Russian singers to Jurmala every year, would be a right move. 

"If the ban remains in effect, we request that you consider the possibility to organize the festival not in Jurmala, but in one of the coastal cities of the Russian Federation, for example Crimea, where artists will not have to face humiliating prohibitions and discrimination due to their political beliefs," the deputies' announcement indicates.

The comments come after the Latvian foreign ministry blacklisted three Russian singers, Oleg Gazmanov, Joseph Kobzon and Alla Perfilova, also known as Valeriya. for their pro Russia stance in the Ukraine conflict.

Crimea's Culture Minister Arina Novoselskaya said that the region's authorities are ready to offer concert venues for the organizers.

"Concerning the organization of ‘New Wave’ in Crimea, we are ready to cooperate and will gladly host any creative project in Crimea," Novoselskaya said.

Governor of Krasnodar Region Aleksandr Tkachov previously suggested that New Wave be relocated to Sochi, while Governor of Kaliningrad Nikolai Cukanov suggested organizing it in Svetlogorsk.

Meanwhile, up to 60 motorcyclists rallied outside the Dzintaru concert hall in Jurmala yesterday in protest against the Ukraine crisis.

State Police spokeswoman Sigita Pildava told LETA that initially, about 40 motorcyclists gathered for the rally, while the police made sure that traffic rules were followed and kept the peace.

The Latvian Ukrainians' Congress representative Tatjana Lazda was also present, carrying the Ukrainian flag.

The brief protest lasted only 5-10 minutes, and was supervised by the police. It was organized by the non-governmental organization "Dieva suni" (God's Dogs).