EU adds ‘Rus­sian Sinatra’ to sanc­tion list

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

The EU pub­lished a new batch of names and en­ti­ties on Mon­day who are sub­ject to re­stric­tive mea­sures for their “ac­tions un­der­min­ing or threat­en­ing the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity” of Ukraine. Among them is Iosif Kob­zon, Rus­sia’s most dec­o­rated artist, a crooner of­ten de­scribed as the ‘Rus­sian Sinatra’, ac­cord­ing to the EU pol­icy and news site EurAc­

Kob­zon, 77, is in­cluded in an ad­di­tional list of 19 peo­ple and 9 en­ti­ties sub­ject to visa ban and frozen bank ac­counts.

The to­tal num­ber so far of peo­ple un­der EU sanc­tions stem­ming from the Ukraine cri­sis is 151 and the full num­ber of en­ti­ties is 37.

The Of­fi­cial Jour­nal of the EU where the new names are pub­lished men­tions that Kob­zon, who is also mem­ber of the Duma, the lower house of the Rus­sian par­lia­ment, “vis­ited the so-called Donetsk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic and dur­ing his visit made state­ments sup­port­ing sep­a­ratists. He was also ap­pointed Hon­orary Con­sul of the so­called ‘Donetsk Peo­ple’s Repub­lic’ in the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion”.

It also re­called that on March 20, 2014, Kob­zon voted in favour of the draft Fed­eral Con­sti­tu­tional Law ‘on the ac­cep­tance into the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion of the Repub­lic of Crimea and the for­ma­tion within the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion of new fed­eral sub­jects- the repub­lic of Crimea and the City of Fed­eral Sta­tus Sev­astopol’.

Iosif (or Joseph) Kob­zon was born to Jewish par­ents in the min­ing town of Cha­siv Yar, in the Don­bass re­gion of Ukraine.

As a boy, he demon­strated a tal­ent for singing, win­ning nu­mer­ous re­gional singing con­tests. He reached the na­tional fi­nals on two sep­a­rate oc­ca­sions, ap­pear­ing in con­certs ded­i­cated to Joseph Stalin - a sig­nif­i­cant hon­our at the time.

His ca­reer peaked in 1984 when Kob­zon re­ceived the USSR State Prize. He was one of the rare artists in the USSR to per­form in in­ter­na­tional con­certs around the world, on oc­ca­sions shar­ing the stage with world stars such as Liza Min­nelli and Julio Igle­sias. Kob­zon be­came ac­tive in Rus­sian pol­i­tics in 1989, hav­ing be­come prob­a­bly the most ex­pe­ri­enced Rus­sian MP, and has scored land­slide vic­to­ries at the polls.

In 2003, a mon­u­ment to Kob­zon was erected near his birth­place, in Donetsk, Ukraine. In 2007, his name was en­tered into the Rus­sian Edi­tion of the Guin­ness Book of Records as the most dec­o­rated artist in Rus­sia’s his­tory. In 2014, Kob­zon vis­ited Bul­garia and gave five con­certs in dif­fer­ent cities, in­clud­ing a con­cert in Stara Zagora or­gan­ised by the ex­trem­ist and na­tion­al­ist party Ataka. In re­cent months, Ataka has cam­paigned for a ref­er­en­dum for the coun­try to exit NATO and openly sup­ports Rus­sia over the Ukraine cri­sis.

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