KIEV, September 3. /TASS/. A bill on stripping Russian pop singers Joseph Kobzon and Nikolay Baskov of the honorary title of People’s Artist of Ukraine was registered in the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday, the parliamentary press service said.
The report described the two singers as "pro-Russian".
Joseph Kobzon, a household name for generations of listeners and spectators all across the former Soviet Union, was born into a Jewish family in the Donetsk region of Ukraine but has lived and worked since the end of the 1950’s in Moscow and is known for his strongly patriotic position. He has performed at concerts in his native Donbas after the outbreak of the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Nikolay Baskov who is half-Ukrainian has passed critical notes on some Ukrainian show biz professionals who supported the coup in February 2014 and the events that followed it.
The bill was initiated by Ivan Melnichuk, a deputy representing the Petro Poroshenko bloc.
Apart from Kobzon and Baskov, he also proposes to revoke the titles of People’s Artist of Ukraine from two purely Ukrainian performers and entertainers, Ani Lorak and Taissiya Povaliy.
Kobzon’s offered an explicit reaction to the reports from Kiev.
"I myself said quite some time ago I don’t want to be a people’s artist of a marionette, pro-American Ukraine," he told TASS. "I was a People’s Artist of a free Ukraine and took pride in the fact."
"And while they’re revoking my title in Ukraine, I’ve received it in the Donetsk and Luhanks republics and I’m proud of it because it’s my native land," Kobzon said.