Iconic Russian singer condemns war on Ukraine after Jewish husband declared 'foreign agent'

Published date20 September 2022
Publication titleJerusalem Post, The: Web Edition Articles (Israel)
Russian authorities last week added Galkin to a growing list of "foreign agents," a label they often apply to people and groups seen as critical of the government. The Russian Ministry of Justice claims that Galkin serves and receives support from Ukraine, according to the Russian-language news organization Meduza

Galkin, a satirist and former TV game show host who is Jewish, said on the first day of the war that he had spoken with family and friends in Ukraine, where his mother was born in Odesa. "Words cannot express how am feeling! How is this even possible!" he wrote on Instagram at the time. "There can be no excuse for war! No to war!" His comments and subsequent ones, including in song, earned him condemnation from a top Russian official earlier this month.

"Words cannot express how am feeling! How is this even possible! ... There can be no excuse for war! No to war!"

Maksim Galkin

"I won't abandon humor and satire to suit the political climate," Galkin said in response. "I joked about our politicians before, and I'll keep joking."

On Sunday, shortly after Galkin's official designation as a foreign agent, Pugacheva asked to join her husband on the list, saying that the war is causing "the death of our guys for illusory goals" and that Russian citizens' lives are growing worse because their country has become a global pariah.

It was a notable statement given the risk of speaking out against the war – or even identifying Russia's action in Ukraine as a war, which Pugacheva did not do — amid laws cracking down on dissent in Russia. But if anyone can be heard within Russia, it is Pugacheva, who at 73 has been a household name and beloved voice across the country for more than four decades.

Pugacheva and Galkin's relationship

Until recently, Pugacheva and Galkin's relationship was most notable for their wide age gap — she is 27 years older than he is — and the fact that Galkin is Pugacheva's fifth husband, and soon to be longest-lasting. A couple since 2001, the pair married in 2011 and welcomed twins via a surrogate in 2013.

Shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine, the family relocated to Israel, where Galkin's mother was treated for and died of cancer, joining the tens of thousands of...

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