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Polish Satanist Rockers Kicked Out of Russia

Behemoth members have been accused of offending religious believers.

A group of occult-loving metalheads from Poland had to cut their Russian tour short after a run-in with migration authorities that followed protests by Christian fundamentalists.

A Yekaterinburg court fined musicians and crew members touring with black/death metal band Behemoth 2,000 rubles ($58) each and ordered their deportation from Russia, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

Migration authorities accused the band of having entered the country on the wrong type of visa, band frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski wrote on Facebook. Show promoters told Russian music news website Zvuki.ru that Russia has no consistent policy on visas for musicians.

Behemoth were detained ahead of a show in Yekaterinburg on Wednesday. The cult band had been scheduled to play four more cities as part of their "Russian Satanist" tour.

Previously, concerts in Khabarovsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk and Krasnodar were canceled following a string of protests by Christian activists.

Unidentified thugs prevented the musicians from taking the stage in Novosibirsk and beat up concertgoers, local media reported.

An ultraconservative protester in Krasnodar complained to police that the band had violated legislation passed last year criminalizing offenses against "religious sentiment." Behemoth's anti-Christian lyrics and Satanist leanings violate the 2013 law by default, as well as Russia's anti-extremist legislation, the protester said, Interfax reported.

Such accusations could have landed the musicians in jail for up to four years, but they managed to escape with just one night in an "excrement-stained cell," according to Darski's Facebook page.

The Polish band has been active since 1991 and has 10 albums under its belt, three of which landed on the Billboard charts.

Russia has seen a rise in conservative Christian activity in recent years, with the government ramping up religious rhetoric and activists picketing museum exhibits, theater performances, and film screenings deemed to be "un-Christian."

Pop star Madonna was sued over her concert in St. Petersburg in 2012, when she endorsed the Russian LGBT community, potentially an administrative offense in Russia. The lawsuit was tossed out.

Christian radicals in Novosibirsk have already vowed to boycott an upcoming performance by U.S. shock rocker Marilyn Manson, Komsomolskaya Pravda reported.

Contact the author at a.eremenko@imedia.ru

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