One of the most popular singers in Russia has condemned the invasion of Ukraine.
Alla Pugacheva, who has been one of the country’s best-known pop stars since the 1960s, took to social media to demand that Russian authorities declare her a “foreign agent”.
Her husband, the comedian, TV presenter and singer Maxim Galkin, was already well-known for his staunch opposition to the conflict. Now, his wife has joined him, praising him as “a true incorruptible Russian patriot, who wants…and end to our lads dying for illusory aims.”
These goals, she added, “make our country a pariah and the lives of our citizens extremely difficult.” Her husband wants “prosperity for his motherland, peace, free speech,” she went on.
The Kremlin continues to refer its invasion of Ukraine, which began in February, as a “special military operation” designed to rid its neighbour of neo-Nazis in government, a claim widely discredited.
The scale of Pugacheva’s fame in Russia means her comments will hit the headlines, at a time when the country’s offensive is in disarray; a lightning-fast counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops in the north-east of the country has seen it retake thousands of square miles of territory, with the Russians in retreat.
Galkin was himself added to the foreign agents’ register by the authorities in Russia last Friday (September 16). As well as having arduous financial and bureaucratic implications, being labelled a foreign agent is something that comes with a negative symbolism that dates back to the Soviet era.
He had already lost his prime-time TV show back in April, after speaking out in the wake of a missile strike that killed a three-year-old Ukrainian, and had been dropped from a number of advertising contracts.
Per the BBC, Pugacheva’s intervention represents her first real political statement in a glittering showbiz career that dates back decades. “She’s not the only one who may turn the public opinion,” said Artemy Troitsky, a musician and Kremlin critic living in exile in Estonia. “The obvious wrongdoings of the Russian army and the offensive of the Ukrainian army and the worsening economic situation and so on, all those factors work against Putin and against the war.”
However, he did not downplay the importance of Pugacheva’s words. “I think that morally and emotionally this statement of Alla Pugacheva is maybe one of the most strong efforts in these directions.”