Moscow Slams the US for Denial of Visas for Bolshoi Theater Performers

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(— April 22, 2018) — As tension between the US and Russia tightens, new sanctions are introduced by Washington who denied visas for the most famous performers in the world, Russia Today reports.

The “visa wall” built by the US, to block Russia’s politicians and billionaires from entering the country now spread to the flagship of Russian culture the Bolshoi theatre dancers.

“Even during the Cold War it did not come to this,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Saturday, adding that the “influential forces” focused on trying to pressure Russia’s victimized art in their political games.

“They are trying to fence off Americans from Russians with a visa wall, as we’ve said before, making trips of our citizens to the USA practically impossible,” read the statement from the Russian Foreign Ministry.

Art has always been used for easing tension and “melting the ice of distrust,” but with a new package of sanctions it is US citizens who are at loss for they cannot enjoy the world class performances of what are officially recognized as the best ballet dancers in the world.

Prima ballerina at Russia’s famous Bolshoi Theater, Olga Smirnova, and another Bolshoi dancer, Jacopi Tissi, were scheduled to perform at the Lincoln Center on Monday, but they weren’t allowed to enter the US. The organizers of the event said they are disappointed, emphasizing that US artists were never denied entry to Russia.

“We are very disappointed with this decision which is the same type of visa we ask for and receive each time for our artistes,” event organizer Eve Hodgkinson after the US immigration department denied visas to the Russian performers.

“One interpretation is that it’s political. That’s my knee-jerk reaction, but I can’t figure out why — other than that they’re Russian. But it doesn’t make any sense,” said chair of Youth America Grand Prix Linda K. Morse.

The Bolshoi Theater, however, said it might not be political but rather technical issue, “Since the work visa was also not issued on time for Jacopo Tissi, an Italian national.”

“We would like to think that this was related to procedural formalities and not to the current political tensions,” the Bolshoi theatre representative told Reuters.

This comes after the US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley spoke of a new wave of sanctions to the Russian Federation since it was initially introduced in 2014.