Andrei Makarevich performs in Sviatohirsk, Donetsk Oblast, to refugees from the warzone
Russian rock singer Andrei Makarevich, who is unwittingly becoming a political dissident after his trip to Ukraine, has again faced the fervoer of “patriotic” activists. This time his concert in Moscow, which was not cancelled, unlike in other cities, was disrupted for several hours by radicals with pepper sprays. TVRain channel reports that during Makarevich’s concert in the Music house they started shouting he was a “traitor” and after that pepper sprayed the audience.
The TV channel cites witnesses that had to leave the hall, unable to stay inside. “Frankly, it’s very shameful and unpleasant. We were in the hall, and after some 38 minutes of the concert a fourth of the first row in the so-called VIP zone stood up. There were five or six men, I think in their late 20s. They shouted “Makarevich is a traitor, he sold the Motherland” and, shouting “Shame!”, they threw a lot of leaflets around,” told a witness of the attack.
They also started spraying pepper spray. However, at first the audience didn’t feel that. Makarevich said: “Thank you, now, if you are finished, please let me continue the concert”. The audience started applauding, but after some time they started coughing.
The activists were neutralized by security. Despite that, the concert proved impossible to continue, because due to the sprayed substances people simply couldn’t stay inside. “Makarevich and the band also had to leave, and finally the whole audience left, because due to the pepper spray everyone felt pain in the throat and started coughing,” the witness told.
The concert continued later, Makarevich promised to perform at the Music house despite everything
After the audience left, the organizers decided to ventilate the hall and continue the concert. The witness noted that the organizers issued medical masks and announced that the concert was cancelled and the audience could get the ticket money back.
However, the concert did resume, Interfax reports. According to the law enforcement, only one man suspected to have taken part in the act of hooliganism was detained. When the incident happened, about 500 people were in the hall.
Andrei Makarevich himself told the radio station Echo Moskvy after the incident that his performance at the Music house would still take place. He claimed the actions of the young men were an attempt to sabotage the concert.
A witness believes the sabotage was planned and well organized as the perpetrators were seating at adjacent seats they’d probably bought in advance.
It should be noted that the police took their time to arrive at the site of the incident. It is also not known what happened to several activists who tried to sabotage Makarevich’s performance. There are questions towards the Music house’s security who checked bags and people’s belongings before the concert.
On August 12 Andrei Makarevich visited eastern Ukraine with a humanitarian mission on an invitation of the president of the Volunteer fund of Ukraine. The musician performed in Sviatohirsk to refugees from Donetsk and Luhansk. This prompted a sharp and negative reaction from several Russian politicians and media. Several members of the Russian parliament suggested to strip Makarevich of all state awards as a “traitor to the motherland”. “Opposing war means being a traitor. Russia, 2014” – @Fake_MIDRF, a humor blog on Twitter, noted sadly, adding a photo of Makarevich.
After Makarevich’s voyage the musician became the object of a bona fide harrassment campaing, becoming a character of a new “masterpiece” of “investigative journalism” by state channel NTV, titled “Junta’s 13”.
Andrei Makarevich wrote a letter to the Russian President Vladimir Putin, asking to stop the smear campaign. However, Putin gave no answer; his spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that Putin knew about the letter, but had no time to Makarevich’s letters, who, according to Peskov, was interpreting “public reaction” as harassment. This was probably seen as a “greenlight” to start cancelling the musician’s concerts.
For instance, Makarevich’s performance in Kirov with Kreol tango dancers, planned for December, was canceled because concert organizer Sergei Orlov refused the musician on ideological grounds, allegedly demonstrating his “civic stance”.
Earlier Makarevich’s concerts were canceled in several other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk and Samara (twice). The alleged reason was poor ticket sales.