Originally Published at 17:17 on August 3
MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) – A stunt by US rock group Bloodhound Gang, when their bass player desecrated a Russian flag, was described as “disgusting” by US Ambassador Michael McFaul on Sunday, as Russian lawmakers said that the group’s actions could have consequences for other foreign musicians performing in Russia.
During a performance by Bloodhound Gang in the Ukrainian port of Odessa on Wednesday, Jared Hasselhoff crammed a Russian flag inside his pants and literally wiped his behind with it, according to a video posted on YouTube. Russian authorities subsequently cancelled the band’s scheduled appearance at the KUBANA festival near the southern Russian city of Anapa.
“I find the actions of Bloodhound Gang disgusting. I also condemn the act of violence against them,” McFaul tweeted, apparently referring to a subsequent incident in Anapa airport when band members were assaulted by local activists before boarding their flight.
In a poor quality video posted on YouTube entitled “the Americans got beaten up in Anapa,” purporting to show the incident, men dressed in Cossack uniforms and wielding whips are seen attacking band members, apparently trying to strangle them with a US flag. The attackers are then shown stamping on a US flag.
A series of high profile Russian lawmakers spoke out against Bloodhound Gang on Saturday and Sunday, calling for a harsh punishment and suggesting that banning them from performing in Russia could serve as a “precedent” for other foreign musicians.
“Any artist, who wants to come and visit us, should understand that it is not just appropriate to respect the laws of their own country when they are at home, but Russian laws when they are in Russia,” said State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Alexei Pushkov in a statement posted Sunday on the United Russia party website.
“Recently there have been too many attempts to influence Russia by famous performers and rock-singers," Pushkov added.
State Duma deputy speaker Sergei Neverov drew a comparison Sunday between Bloodhound Gang and Madonna, who openly expressed her support for jailed punk rockers Pussy Riot, and the rights of gay people, during recent concerts in Russia. “They are all links on one chain,” Neverov said, according to the United Russia party website.
The band apologized for their actions, according to Russian media reports. But that did not stop lawmakers calling for the group, who are known for such songs as "Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny?" and "You're Pretty When I'm Drunk," to be punished. Under Russian law, desecrating the national flag can earn a prison sentence of up to one year.
Lawmaker and member of United Russia, Andrei Isaev, said Sunday that “all the band members and their relatives” should be banned from coming to Russia, according to United Russia’s website.
Russia’s top investigative body said it will start an investigation into Bloodhound Gang if they get a request from prosecutors, Investigative Committee’s spokesman Vladimir Markin said Saturday. Bloodhound Gang bassist Hasselhoff was questioned by police on Saturday, local police representatives in Anapa told RIA Novosti.
“If there is a chance to prosecute this group, then Bloodhound Gang absolutely must be punished,” deputy head of United Russia in the Duma, Nikolai Bulayev, told RIA Novosti on Sunday.
Re-cast throughout, with new headline and new quotes from lawmakers and McFaul
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- AKInexcusable Act.05:33, 04/08/2013This is not only unforgivable, this is unpardonable and inexcusable criminal act. You've not only breached our Russian laws but insulted our Russian people (worldwide) and offended our Glorious Motherland. YOU are the Enemy of the State, and the Enemy of the State deserves no mercy, YOU despicable disease.
- moistAfter the band arrived to Russia....07:47, 04/08/2013"....they discovered that their participation in a fest was canceled. So they headed back to airport to go to Moscow but while in the airport waiting hall they were attacked.
Later, their Russian visas were canceled and they were ordered to leave the country till midnight same day, as reported by Russian media.
It is not clear why and what all this happened, but it is known for sure people shouldn’t resort to messing with the flags of any great country as a lot of heroic events happened under those flags and those great symbols should be used with care and respect."
They got beat up in other words. Good show! Russia certainly don't need these inbreed American idiots...
- Wolfgang9Obviously13:15, 05/08/2013in the same category of "Artists" as the "Pussy Riot".
- arsanlupinI concur in this completely!07:58, 06/08/2013I’m sure you all find it astonishing that I am actually AGREEING with a ‘Moist’ post. But here I am, agreeing with every word he said – except one: ‘inbreed’. While certainly very possible, it isn’t immediately verifiable, and as such should be questioned. Every other word I agree with 100%!
This group acted despicably, as is apparently their normal behavior. While the attack on them in the Anapa airport was also illegal, it was certainly not unexpected. The band members were idiots for entering Russia after so grave an insult, not thinking anyone would attempt retribution – legal or otherwise. I also agree that Pussy Riot’s demonstrations are almost as bad.
Unfortunately, there are a few such repulsive people in all such countries, and I am sure almost all Americans find their behavior equally horrible. Ambassador McFaul made it plain that such behavior is NOT acceptable in the USA any more than it is in Russia.
That being said, Russian courts have no jurisdiction over actions taken in another country – which in this case is a pity. Also, and the righteous indignation voiced by Russian Duma members is obviously political rhetoric. Lastly, Duma member Andrei Isaev was completely wrong in demanding that not only the band members, but also all their relatives should be banned from ever entering Russia. I thought the concept of making family members suffer for the crimes of one person died with the Soviet Union. If not, the concept must die – NOW.
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Some people are trying to make the reality in Russia at least a bit more humane. The amnesty should apply not only to persons involved in high-profile cases, but also to individuals who are not as well-known. It is better to set free at least some of the individuals who deserve to be released than no one at all.