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Israel cancels Russian comedian's concerts following US scandal and jokes about Ukrainian artist's anti-war performance

The four concerts of the famous Kazakh and Russian stand-up comedian Nurlan Saburov's that were scheduled to take place in Israel at the end of April have been canceled according to the information appearing on the official website of the comedian: tickets for the scheduled dates are unavailable, and the Postponements section states the shows will not take place.

The company Bezalel Events, which organized the artist's tour, reported that the concerts have been canceled.

«No one from our company supports and has never supported the unjust war unleashed by President Putin against Ukraine. We have relatives and close friends who have suffered from this terrible war, for whom we are extremely worried,» the organizers said in a statement.

According to company representatives, after the US scandal many opposed Nurlan's tour in Israel.

Although nearly 2,000 tickets were sold to Russian-speaking Israelis, Bezalel Events said they could not «stand idly by and watch the conflict caused by the comedian's arrival brew within the Israeli Russian-speaking community.»

Nurlan Saburov had been actively criticized for his lack of a clear position on the conflict in Ukraine. For example, during the April 8 performance in Los Angeles, several viewers immediately interrupted Saburov and asked why he had not spoken publicly about the events in Ukraine. At first the artist tried to joke, but then he explained, «I have a family, you have to understand. I also have my own fears. Who do you make me out to be?»

In Miami on April 14, security guards meticulously frisked the audience at Saburov's concert. Their phones and social media accounts were scrutinized. As a result, about 150 people who were found to maintain an anti-war stance on the Russian invasion of Ukraine were not allowed into the concert, activist Daniel Tonkopy wrote. According to him, «whole families were not allowed into the concert.»

In Chicago, Saburov's April 16 concert was postponed indefinitely after an appeal from members of the Ukrainian diaspora, said a spokesperson of the concert venue, North Shore Center. In particular, the Consul General of Ukraine in Chicago Sergey Koledov demanded that the concert be canceled.

The reason for the appeal was the comedian's reaction to the anti-war performance by the Ukrainian artist Julia Kosivchuk, who at one of his concerts ran out on stage in a dress stained with red paint. «Excuse me, is that a period? What's going on? I should have called my wife, of course,» Saburov joked as Kosivchuk was led away by security.

People with Ukrainian flags gathered near the concert venues where Saburov was performing, shouting «Shame!»

Saburov's colleagues on the show «What Happened Next» are also silent about the war unleashed by Russian President Vladimir Putin. Online community explains such behavior by the fact that the project's author Vyacheslav Dusmukhametov works for the TNT television channel which belongs to the state-owned Gazprom-Media holding company.

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