Forum Karlín cancels concerts of Russian singers for supporting the war in Ukraine

Petr Horník

Prague’s Forum Karlín has canceled the performances of two Russian singers scheduled for next year. Criticism had previously emerged on social media as to why these artists, who openly support the war against Ukraine, should perform in the Czech Republic. Representatives of the concert hall said on Monday that they had repeatedly urged the German agency to cancel the concerts for this reason but eventually decided to cancel the shows themselves.

Grigory Leps and Stas Mikhailov’s concerts are canceled. “We will leave only the concert of Svetlana Loboda, who openly speaks out against Russian aggression, in the program,” the hall’s operators wrote on Twitter.

Former Ukrainian ambassador to the Czech Republic and current deputy Ukrainian foreign minister Yevhen Perebyjnis was among those who criticized the planned concert of Russian artists in Prague.

Grigory Leps is a famous Russian singer in his country, a Distinguished Artist of the Russian Federation, and a recipient of the 2017 Medal for Participant in the Military Operation in Syria. Also, Stas Mikhailov is a famous Russian singer and composer and the winner of various national music awards.

The Czech Republic has been a strong supporter of Ukraine since the start of the Russian invasion in late February, with the government and NGOs sending humanitarian and military aid to the country. The Czech Republic was the first EU Member State to suspend visa issuance for Russian citizens across the board the day after the Russian invasion. Later, the Czech Republic also imposed it on Belarusian citizens, except in humanitarian cases.

The government also decided that Russians with a valid Schengen visa issued by any EU member state traveling for tourism, sport, or cultural purposes cannot enter the Czech Republic as of October 25.