Both Madonna and Lady Gaga could be in big trouble with the Russian government over a visa issue. While both singers have already raised suspicions among some Russian officials, these latest charges could be even more serious.
Vitaly Milonov, an official with the Prosecutor General’s Office in St. Petersburg, formally requested an assessment of whether or not the singers violated the terms of their visas when on tour in Russia in 2012. Specifically, Milonov charges that both Lady Gaga and Madonna entered the country on “cultural exchange” visas that do not allow the bearer to make a profit.
Obviously, singers like Madonna and Lady Gaga would make a profit with concerts.
This may seem like a trumped-up charge from a homophobic lawmaker — in December, Milonov filed charges against Lady Gaga for promoting homosexuality among children and for slandering Russia — but the government is taking them seriously.
An official statement from the Prosecutor General says: “The visas issued were of the basic cultural exchange sort, which does not grant their bearers the right to engage in any commercial activity.”
Should these charges stick, the artists would lose all profits from Russian performances and would be liable for fines and even jail time. The country’s Foreign Ministry and Federal Migration Service would need to follow-up on the charges before any penalties could be made.
Practically speaking, the main result would be no more Lady Gaga or Madonna in Russia.