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MOSCOW, April 27 (Itar-Tass) —— Russian Culture Minister Alexander Avdeyev declared on Friday that the U.S. denying a visa to People’s Artist of the Soviet Union Iosif Kobzon has insulted the whole Russian art, Avdeyev told Itar-Tass on Friday.
"Can one ever speak about normal cultural contacts between Russian and American people if the U.S. has insulted in such a manner not only our favorite singer, but the whole Russian art," Avdeyev stressed.
On April 16 Iosif Kobzon was once again denied a U.S. visa which had been first "frozen" 18 years before. The singer described his impression of the U.S. decision as “a spit in Russia’s direction”.
"I think that Iosif Davydovich was absolutely right. This is a disgrace," the Russian culture minister stressed. "The outstanding figure in Russian culture, one of the pillars of our national singing art has been insulted in such a manner," Avdeyev added. "I have no doubt that all the Russian public opinion workers of art and culture and the people who love Iosif Davydovich were outraged," the minister said.
Kobzon, who will celebrate his 75th jubilee on September 11, was planning to go on a farewell concert tour to sing in the United States in May-June, giving concerts in New York, Chicago and Boston.
Kobzon last visited the United States in 1994. A year later the U.S. State Department annulled his multiple entry visa, claiming that the singer might be involved in illegal transactions with substances subject to control. Since then the singer’s attempts to get a U.S. visa have yielded no result.
The organizers of Kobzon's concert tour in the United States are preparing to file an appeal against the decision made by the U.S. authorities.