Former Soviet pop-music star Alla Pugacheva, who criticized Russia’s war in Ukraine, has returned to her homeland. The closely watched event was reported by the Russian state agency RIA Novosti. The Orthodox Church there has already said that the 74-year-old singer should apologize for her criticism of the war in Ukraine.
According to the American agency AP, last year Pugacheva traveled with her husband and children from Russia to Israel a few weeks after the Russian war in Ukraine began. Then last September, the singer caused a stir when she said that Russian soldiers were dying for illusory goals, that the conflict was burdening ordinary Russians and making Russia a world pariah.
At the same time, the artist called on the Kremlin to label her as a foreign agent, just as it did in the case of her husband Maxim Galkin. In September 2022, the regime placed the television comedian and humorist on the list of so-called foreign agents, as well as other artists who opposed the war.
Galkin was one of the first to condemn her. Not long after, Russia passed the so-called Military Discredit Law, on the basis of which, for example, the popular writer Dmitry Glukhovsky was sentenced in absentia to eight years in prison. However, the regime did not indict Pugačová or Galkin, AP notes.
When the singer briefly flew from Israel to Russia this May for the funeral of Russian fashion designer Valentina Yudashkin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov kissed her hand.
Pugačová subsequently traveled to Israel again, after which she moved with her family to Cyprus after the attacks of the terrorist movement Hamas against Israel at the beginning of last month. However, she returned to Russia this week.
According to the Moscow newspaper RBK and tabloid channel Mash, which operates on the Telegram network, she arrived without her husband to her six-story castle in the village of Grjaz, which is a few tens of kilometers west of Moscow. It is not clear how long he will stay. Upon her arrival, Kremlin spokesman Peskov said only that Russian citizens have the option to leave and return freely from the country.
The spokesman of the Moscow Patriarchate, Vakhtang Kipshidze, on the other hand, told the state agency RIA Novosti that “Russians who connected their departure from the country in the context of a special military operation with insulting others or controversial statements should apologize, and this also applies to Alla Borisovna.” A special military operation is the regime’s official term for war. The Russian Orthodox Church has long supported the attack on Ukraine.
Pugačová, who sold over 250 million records and represented Russia at the Eurovision Song Contest in 1997, is one of the most famous pop stars there.
In 2016, she received the Order of Merit for the Motherland from President Vladimir Putin. Three years later, he congratulated her on her 70th birthday. “Talent and extraordinary singing abilities, a strong artistic temperament and hard work put you on the pop Olympus and really earned you universal fame,” Putin said at the time.
At one time, Pugačová also sang at the Czechoslovakian festival Bratislavská lyra, and her hit from that time also received a Czech version.
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