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Izvestia to pay rock musician Makarevich compensation for defamation

Izvestia to pay rock musician Makarevich compensation for defamation

19 November 2014

A Moscow court has ordered pro-Kremlin newspaper Izvestia and journalist Alexander Prokhanov to pay rock musician Andrei Makarevich 500,000 roubles ($10,650) — half of the sum the guitarist sought in damages — following the publication of a defamatory article on 17 August.

In the article, entitled “Singers and Scoundrels”, Prokhanov wrote that “the blood of the Russian people are on Makarevich’s hands”. Makarevich, known for his public criticism of Moscow’s role in the conflict in Ukraine, came under a hail of criticism after he travelled there this year to give concerts for refugees in the eastern part of the country, where pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military were fighting.

Prokhanov’s article accuses Makarevich’s music as being “inspired by Ukrainian gunners”, adding that “the lives of Russians were exterminated in Donbass to the music of Makarevich”.

Makarevich’s legal representative insisted that the allegation that her client gave a concert at a Ukrainian military unit in Slavyansk, a focal point of the crisis in eastern Ukraine, was false and requested the court to order the newspaper to print a retraction. She added that Makaverich had played at a concert in a refugee camp in Svetlogorsk in Russia.

Makarevich has publically stated that he intends to donate the money won from the lawsuit to medical treatment for children affected by the violence in eastern Ukraine, telling Interfax: “I will give this money … to those children for whom I sang in Svetlagorsk.”

A series of Makarevich concerts scheduled to go ahead in venues across Russia were unexpectedly cancelled in recent months, sparking fears that the musician’s vocal anti-Kremlin politics has caused Russian authorities to launch an official campaign to end his career. Last month, following the cancellation of a lecture by Makarevich in St Petersburg’s Mayakovsky Library, lawmaker Vitaly Milonov told radio station Govorit Moskva: “Makarevich is not welcome in St Petersburg … Maybe he can give a lecture in the US consulate instead. I’m sure he’ll be very happy there. The question here is not about prohibition, but rather about who gave him the right to carry out his lecture. We will make sure that it is not allowed.”