Polish black metal band Behemoth deported from Russia

Polish black metal band Behemoth deported from Russia

22 May 2014
Text Nadia Beard

Blow Your Trumpet Gabriel, Behemoth (2013)

Controversial Polish black metal band Behemoth were deported from Russia earlier today during their Russian tour, with the Yekaterinburg district court authorising their expulsion, citing “visa violations”. Despite obtaining Russian visas in Warsaw in line with advice from Russian officials, eight members of the band and their touring group were fined 2,000 roubles ($60) each and ordered to leave the country immediately. “When we asked the officials about the paperwork, we were told that we should get a business visa. We did everything we were told, but now it turns out that we need a ‘humanitarian’ visa, not a business one”, said the group’s leader Adam Darski.

News of their arrest has sparked claims that Russian president Vladimir Putin is intensifying his clampdown on music bands that are deemed to be subversive, the most high profile being the arrest and imprisonment of two members from punk rock band Pussy Riot in 2012.

The court’s decision to deport the band comes only weeks after protests were staged by Krasnodar’s Orthodox Union, with members of the orthodox community urging the authorities to prevent Behemoth from playing their planned tour date in the southern city, citing the offensive nature of the band’s music. “Behemoth has an openly satanic, anti-Christian and occult character. At concerts they often perform kabbalistic and demonic rituals,” said leader of Orthodox Union Roman Pluta. He added: “We believe that such public action, expressing obvious disrespect for society and offending religious feelings, constitutes a criminal offence,” Pluta added.

This is not the first time that Behemoth’s tour has been disrupted in Russia: previous performances in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Tomsk and Novosibirsk have been disrupted either by local authorities or Orthodox activists. The provocative performances which have become one of the band’s trademarks have also been met with opposition in Poland, with the All-Polish Committee for Defence Against Sects requesting that Behemoth be banned from performing in Poland for promoting “Satanism and murder” in 2007.

Behemoth will be performing at the UK’s rock festival Download in June this year.