BEHEMOTH Forced To Leave Russia For Violating Visa Regulations

Thursday, 22nd May 2014

One day after being detained in Yekaterinburg for violating Russia’s visa regulations, Polish extreme metallers BEHEMOTH have been ordered to leave the country. The band’s concert in the city was canceled and the musicians spent the night in Russian Federal Migration Service custody.

Znak.com, a news and opinion web site run by Aksana Panova, a longtime critic of the local authorities, spoke with BEHEMOTH frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski, who stated about the conditions under which he and his bandmates were kept overnight: “It was a very small room and the walls were smeared with feces. At night, we asked to be taken to the toilet but our request was denied for some reason. So we had to use plastic bottles instead.”

Regarding the allegations that the band had entered Russia improperly, Darski said: “We received the visas at the Russian consulate in Warsaw. When we asked how to fill out the paperwork, we were told that it was necessary to obtain a business visa. We did everything we were told. Now it turned out that it was necessary to get some kind of a ‘humanitarian’ visa, not a business one.”

A humanitarian visa is required visitors wishing to enter Russia for cultural purposes, science, sports, religion, etc. A humanitarian visa can be valid for up to 90 days and can be issued for single or double entry. It can also be issued for multiple entries and can be valid for up to one year.

The BEHEMOTH members were arrested at the entrance of the club where they were supposed to perform last night and transferred to the Russian Federal Migration Service. They attempted to contact the Polish Embassy, but nobody answered, Nergal wrote on the band’s Facebook page.

The musicians appeared in court earlier today (Thursday, May 22) and were told to leave the country “within a reasonable time.” They were also fined 2,000 rubles ($60) each.

“It seemed like we actually got a really nice judge. And wise, because this was a humane decision… It felt like she sympathized with us,” Darski told the Polish TV channel Polsat News.

“We actually received the minimal fine with a recommendation for how to leave Russia as quickly as possible.”

In the Znak.com interview, Nergal said BEHEMOTH was unlikely to continue its “Russian Satanist” tour of Russia, which kicked off on May 10 and was slated to run through May 28. The musicians, who were able to play four out of 13 of their scheduled concerts in Russia, were expected to go back to their hotel and make their way back to Poland shortly thereafter.

Darski expressed hope that BEHEMOTH would be able to return to Russia at a later date.

BEHEMOTH’s concerts in Khabarovsk, Tomsk, Novosibirsk and Krasnodar were previously canceled following a string of protests by Christian activists. According to The Moscow Times, unidentified thugs prevented the musicians from taking the stage in Novosibirsk and beat up concertgoers, local media reported.