Singer Jaromír Nohavica said that the cancellation of his concert had much in common with the cancellation of cultural events during the communist era in Czechoslovakia.
“Born in communism, I will die in communism,” Nohavica replied on his website to the event’s cancellation.
Nohavica’s concert was cancelled due to receiving a medal from Russian President Vladimir Putin in the past. However, Nohavica publicly spoke out against the war in Ukraine. On Mar. 2, he broadcasted a live concert from his apartment in which he explicitly condemned the war, sang in both Ukrainian and Russian, and claimed that he did not stand with Putin. Nevertheless, his concert was still canceled.
Nohavica mentioned several concert bans issued in the 1980s before the Velvet Revolution. The country’s communist leadership did not approve of his alleged anti-government texts, insults to socialist values, and a possible bad influence on the youth.
The musician compared the bans from 1984 and 1987 to the current cancellation of a concert in the Moravian town Uherský Brod. The event was sold out.
“The town council recommends that the cultural center’s director cancels Jaromír Nohavica’s concert due to the singer’s insufficient distance from the president of the Russian Federation,” local representatives stated in a resolution.
In 2018, the Russian president awarded the singer the Medal of Pushkin for Russian citizens and foreigners who significantly contributed to culture, literature, and other arts. Nohavica personally received the medal from Vladimir Putin in the Kremlin. Shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the singer said he would keep the award because he received it “for songs and not for warfare.”
It is not the first time the singer has encountered an unfavorable reaction to Putin’s medal. For example, Palacký University Olomouc has decided not to rent the local sports hall to Nohavica’s May concert. All his spring concerts in Poland were also canceled. People in Need NGO rejected money from the proceeds of Nohavica’s upcoming gig in Ostrava. It is not yet clear where the proceeds will go now.