Russian actor added to entry blacklist

Take note – story published 9 years ago

Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin is the latest cultural figure to be banned from entering Latvia as a result of his outspoken political views.

Writing on his Twitter account, Latvian Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics said: "I've decided to declare Ivan Okhlobystin persona non grata as a result of statements which can be classed as incitement to ethnic hatred."

Responding to tweets questioning why he had taken the decision, Rinkevics said it was because of statements made by Okhlobystin saying "death to Ukrianians" and that "gays should be burned in ovens," both of which gave grounds for the actor's exclusion, Rinkevics argued.

Okhlobystin - who dropped out of acting for a while to become an Orthodix priest - made his most notorious anti-gay comments in 2013, and earlier this year wrote to Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for homosexuality to be made illegal.

He is a popular actor in Russia, most recently playing a leading role in the Russian version of the popular US comedy show Scrubs in which he plays a weedy doctor.

Earlier this year Latvia banned three Russian singers from entering the country as a result of their outspoken support for the annexation of Crimea by Russia.

Russia responded by putting three prominent Latvians including theatre director Alvis Hermanis on their own entry blacklist, making it very likely that Russia will again respond in tit-for-tat fashion to the bar on Okhlobystin .


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