While the Russian government has found it in its heart to grant temporary asylum for whistleblower Edward Snowden, it is bringing the hammer down on American pop stars Lady Gaga and Madonna.
Russian newspaper RIA Novosti reports that the Prosecutor General's office has accused the two singers of breaking Russian visa laws when they performed in the country last year. The Prosecutor General says Gaga's and Madonna's concerts in Russia violated the terms of their cultural exchange visas, as officials claim the pop stars used their visas "with the aim of conducting commercial concert activities."
The investigation comes as a response to an inquiry submitted by politician Vitaly Milonov, the father of the anti-LGBT laws that recently passed in the country.
Gaga and Madonna have both been outspoken in support of the LGBT community. Madonna was unsuccessfully sued for her August performances in St. Petersburg and Moscow, during which she touted her alliance with Russia's gay community. Gaga, meanwhile, was accused of breaking the law by Milonov, who said her December shows in Russia included "direct calls for 12-year-old citizens to support the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community." Gaga has also spoken out against Russia's ban on "homosexual propaganda," a law shepherded by Milonov.
The accusations come as Russian-U.S. relations appear to be increasingly strained. The government's anti-LGBT laws have caused concerns for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi. Though the International Olympic Committee says it received "assurances" from Russia that the laws would not apply to athletes or other foreigners in Russia for the games, Milonov this week contradicted that claim.
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