Kremlin responds after skaters punished for Russian show
Lithuania has crossed the “boundaries of reason” by stripping former Olympic ice dancers Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas of a state award after they performed at a show in Russia, according to Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.
Drobiazko and Vanagas – who appeared at five editions of the Winter Olympics and won World Championship bronze for Lithuania during their competition days – are featuring in the ‘Swan Lake’ spectacle organized by Russian former Olympic champion Tatiana Navka in Sochi.
Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda announced this week that, in response, he was removing the ‘Order of Gediminas’ which was bestowed on the duo back in 2000. The threat of stripping the Russian-born Drobiazko of her Lithuanian citizenship has also been raised.
Kremlin spokesman Peskov – who is married to show organizer Navka – claimed that efforts to ‘cancel’ Russia and punish anyone who associates with the country were ultimately futile.
“We see that so many countries are crossing some boundaries of reason,” Peskov told Russian state television, according to TASS.
“Is it possible to deny Tchaikovsky? It is impossible. Is it possible to deny Russia? It’s not
“Whether you like it or not, it’s simply not possible. Is it possible to deny the awards that were earned by athletes… who ensured that the flag of Lithuania was hoisted? It’s also impossible,” added Peskov.
RIA Novosti reported that Peskov was personally on hand at the performance of ‘Swan Lake’ at Sochi’s Iceberg Skating Palace on Wednesday to present Drobiazko and fellow performer Victoria Sinitsina with flowers.
Former Olympic ice dance champion Navka has vowed support to Drobiazko, 50, and her 52-year-old partner Vanagas.
“I am ashamed of those people who do this. I am sure that they will become ashamed over time,” Navka said of the decision by the Lithuanian authorities.
“For Rita and Povilas, this is their life, they’ve skated their whole lives, they defended the honor of the country [Lithuania], they are favorites not only of Lithuanian spectators of figure skating, but of the whole world.
“No matter what awards are taken away from them now, no one will take away the orders of people’s love that they have in their hearts,” Navka added.
Organizers of the ‘Swan Lake’ ice spectacle have said that the threats from Lithuania will not deter Drobiazko and Vanagas from continuing to appear as planned, with the show set to run until September 18. The ice dance pair, who are also husband and wife, currently reside in Russia.