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21 Aug, 2023 16:16

Musician Goran Bregovic banned by EU hopeful over stance on Russia

Moldova’s Ministry of Internal Affairs cited the world-famous Serb’s pro-Russian views as the reason for denying him entry
Musician Goran Bregovic banned by EU hopeful over stance on Russia

Serbian musician and composer Goran Bregovic has been banned from entering Moldova over his pro-Russian views, the head of the country’s Ministry of Internal Affairs Adrian Efros has announced.

Bregovic and his band were scheduled to play at the annual Gustar Festival on Sunday but were denied entry into the country by Moldovan Border Police at Chisinau International Airport. 

Authorities cited a “risk analysis” as well as “information” obtained from the Intelligence and Security Services and “international partners,” as the reason for the decision.

The news sparked outrage from Serbia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which demanded an explanation for the ban, stating that it “does not correspond to the traditional friendly relations between Serbia and Moldova.”

On Monday, Efros explained during a government meeting that Bregovic had featured on the national list of undesirable persons since 2022 due to his alleged support for Russia. He performed in Crimea after it voted to join Russia, and in Moscow after the hostilities between Russia and Ukraine broke out last year.

“After the start of the war in Ukraine, Bregovic demonstrated pro-Russian views,” the minister said, adding that there were also “other motives for the ban on entry into the territory of Moldova,” which were taken into account by the security authorities.

Efros also stated that it was unclear whether Bregovic had been aware of his undesirable status in Moldova, but claimed that the organizers of the Gustar Festival, who had invited the musician to perform, were informed of his ban.

Bregovic himself responded to the move by stating that he was disappointed by the Moldovan authorities’ decision and stressed that he had previously done “many tours with many musicians all over Europe and never had any difficulties anywhere.”

Former Moldovan president and leader of the opposition Party Of Socialists Igor Dodon also reacted to the ban by claiming that the country’s current pro-EU leader Maia Sandu was personally responsible for the ban.

Under Sandu’s leadership, Moldova’s government has grown increasingly critical of Russia and has been cracking down on pro-Russian sentiments within the country, recently banning the Sor Party, which authorities accused of being a tool of “oligarchs.” Sandu has also accused Moscow of plotting to topple her government and destabilize the situation in Moldova. Moscow has vehemently rejected those claims.