Russian rock star Andrei Makarevich, frontman of the decades-old band Mashina Vremeni (Time Machine), is facing a barrage of criticism from Russian parliament members over his condemnation of the country's actions in Ukraine.
Yevgeny Fyodorov of the ruling United Russia party said that by opposing the takeover of Crimea and criticizing Moscow's supposed attempts to protect Russian speakers in Ukraine, Makarevich has "taken the side of the enemies of the Russian Federation," Izvestia report Monday.
He said that the artist should be treated as a traitor and should lose all of his awards — including the order for distinguished service to the fatherland that had been conferred for his contribution to music, the report said.
A member of the State Duma's Culture Committee Dmitry Litvintsev added that if Makarevich does not like Russia's policies, perhaps Moscow should boot him from the country, the way the Soviet Union dealt with some of its dissidents, Izvestia reported.Makarevich, one of Russia's best-known rock musicians, is among the few dissenting voices in the country who openly speak against Russia's meddling in Ukraine.
In an online essay titled "About Monstrosity" earlier this year, Makarevich denounced the "unbridled propaganda" and "lies" of Moscow's statements about Ukraine, saying that the kind of rhetoric had not existed in the country since the Soviet era. He also sought to remind Russians that Ukrainians were their closely related neighbors.
Another pro-Kremlin legislator, St. Petersburg regional lawmaker Vitaly Milonov said that Makarevich has "definitely taken the side of the enemy" and should be banned from giving concerts in Russia, Izvestia reported.
State Duma lawmaker Vadim Dengin said that "condemnation from society and colleagues" against Makarevich would suffice, because it would "hit the artist much harder than stripping him of state awards," the report said.
But the Kremlin's human rights ombudsman, Ella Pamfilova, stood up for the rock star on Monday, saying that "state mechanisms should not be used to fight dissent," Interfax reported.
"Makarevich received his awards for past services. Whatever his current position may be, Russian society is by itself able to determine its attitude toward his actions," she added.