Madonna and Lady Gaga could face prosecution in Russia for violating the terms of their visa to enter the country, officials there say. The singers were each allowed in to Russia on “cultural exchange” visas, The Guardian reports, which don’t permit commercial activity like performing concerts.
Russian authorities say Madonna, who performed there in August 2012, and Gaga, who played there in December, arrived on cultural-exchange visas, which “do not grant their bearers the right to engage in any commercial activity.” Prosecutors are considering their options in asking the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or Federal Migration Service to press charges against Madonna and Gaga.
The office of Russia’s prosecutor general began an investigation after a complaint from Vitaly Milonov, a St. Petersburg legislator who authored the city’s controversial anti-gay legislation, which Madonna spoke out against during a performance there last August. Milonov later accused her of performing without the proper paperwork. Lady Gaga is also a vocal ally for LGBT causes.
Russian promoters are now on edge regarding future tours from foreign artists and tourism around the upcoming Winter Olympics in Sochi next year. “Not one artist, circus or exhibition will come here if the prosecutor’s office fines someone now,” Yevgeny Finkelstein, head of the St. Petersburg-based PMI media holding, told RIA Novosti.