Poland: Ukrainian band stopped at border due to local threats

ot vinta ukraine
Polish authorities did not let Ukrainian band Ot Vinta cross the border into Poland as local hard-core football fans known as Ultras threatened to stage mass riots and burn down the stage the band was set to perform on if they were let into the country. The band was scheduled to play in a festival on 2 July 2016 in the south-eastern town of Przemysl that borders Ukraine, reported Kyiv Post on 3 July 2016.

According to Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform on 4 July 2016, Polish interior minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the band’s performance would threaten public order and security:

Entry ban for Ot Vinta music band relates to securing public order. I believe that the organiser of the concert would venture to move it from Przemysl to Warsaw. In the context of the NATO Summit and the 73th anniversary of the genocide in Volyn committed by Ukrainian nationalists that we will mark next week, I do not agree to permit any violation of public order and security of our citizens, for which I am responsible.

The tension stems from the Ultras accusing the band of supporting Ukrainian nationalist entities, including the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, a paramilitary army that engaged in guerilla attacks during World War II against various groups, including Polish groups. In July 1943 Poland suffered one of its worst massacres by the army wherein nearly 100 villages were attacked in the Volyn province.

Earlier in April 2016, anti-Ukrainian activists attacked demonstrators in Przemysl who were celebrating the Ukrainian and Polish partnership on the anniversary of the signing of the Warsaw Treaty in 1920.

According to a Facebook post by the band’s vocalist Yuriy Zhuravel, the mayor of Przemysl asked festival organisers to cancel their invitation as police could not guarantee the audience’s safety. Zhuravel also said that a group in Warsaw invited them to play a show there, but that Polish border guards detained them and questioned them for nine hours:

Later Polish border guards explained [to] us that they received an order from Poland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ban us from entering the state. To make things worse, there were even threats to deport us and cancel our five-year Schengen visas.

The band was set to play its replacement Warsaw gig on 3 July 2016.

Photo from Yuriy Zhuravel’s Facebook page


» Ukrinform – 4 July 2016:
Polish Interior Ministry says Ukrainian music band Ot Vinta banned entry on grounds of security threat

» BBC Ukraine – 3 July 2016:
Why Ot Vinta was not allowed in Poland

» Kyiv Post – 3 July 2016:
Ukrainian music band Ot Vinta banned from Poland due to local ultras protest

More from Freemuse

» 22 January 2016: Ukraine: Italian opera singer cancels concerts in Crimea

» 20 October 2014: Russian and Ukraine: Musicians caught between conflict, bitter rhetoric and outright bans

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