‘Doors Closed’: Russian Military Choir Barred From Cultural Festival in Norway

Europe

The choir representing the Russian Northern Fleet were greeted as guests of honour during the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Finnmark in October. Now, the Russian artists were barred from performing at a cultural festival in the town of Kirkenes by the very same Norwegian authorities.

The Northern Fleet Choir and Dance Ensemble has been been denied entry to Norway to perform at Barents Spectacle, a local festival held in the town of Kirkenes to promote bilateral relations through art and culture, national broadcaster NRK reported.

According to Barents Spectacle director Luba Kuzovnikova, this is the first time in 16 years that the cultural cooperation has been influenced by the political tensions between Russia and Norway. Kuzovnikova stressed that the rationale was “limited military cooperation between Russia and Norway”, partly because of Crimea’s re-unification with Russia, which the Norwegian authorities see as an annexation.

It was Norway’s Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Defence who issued the ultimate no to the choir’s visit. Formally, the invitation had to go through them, because the choir is affiliated with the Russian military.

A communication advisor with the Foreign Ministry, Wera Helstrøm, described last year’s anniversary performance of the Northern Fleet’s Choir and Dance Ensemble as a success.

“We see that this would have been a good element to the Barents Spectacle as well. Unfortunately, in practice,…

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