On 30 July, during a concert in Kiev band member Jared Hasselhoff was seen peeing on the blue and yellow flag of Ukraine, while on stage. A day later in Odessa club Hasselhoff insulted Russia, having shoved the country’s flag into his underpants.
Now the band is facing criminal charges of “hooliganism” in Ukraine after Hasselhoff urinated on the national flag, and on Friday last week Russia barred the Bloodhound Gang from performing at a festival in the Krasnodar region by the Black Sea as a result of their appearance in Odessa.
Moreover, leaving the airport of Anapa, Russia, the bass player was attacked by the unknown who tried to strangle him with American flag. The band managed to leave for U.S, but Russia authorities opened criminal proceedings against Hasselhoff for "outrage against national flag".
In turn, The UA Anonymous hacker organization has announced on Twitter that they attacked the Web site of the U.S. rock group Bloodhound Gang.
So, what will be the reaction of Ukrainian authorities on public outrage against the state symbol, and what position should Ukraine take regarding the incident? Ukrainians officials and experts speak...
Oleh Pokalchuk, social psychologist:
- There is reaction of certain people or groups, but not of whole society. Public or society opinion is a myth. However, remember that it was a concern of a punk rock band, for which pranks and insults are part of the genre. Taking their behavior personally is like to take offence at clowns with red nose, who allegedly discredit human image of Ukrainians.
Every move of the band was planed and developed by PR managers with certain reaction in mind. it was obvious that such countries like Ukraine and Russia will react by the book. It is part of punk counterculture and image of the group. Musicians do not give a damn about Ukraine, Russia or the whole world. They have no personal or political interest in it.
Clowns should be treated respectively. If something similar happened in the U.S., the offender would be arrested, fined may be imprisoned for several months, but media would not cover it nationwide and state authorities would not announce an official position. They have their own idiots, and nobody makes a problem of it.
Ihor Mykhalko, spokesman of Kyiv police department:
- The information is entered in the register under Part 1 of Article 338 "Outrage against state symbols" and Part 1 of Article 296 "Hooliganism". Outrage is fined with up to 50 tax-free minimum incomes, or arrest up to six months. The penalty for disorderly conduct is a fine of 500-1000 tax-free minimum incomes, or arrest for up to six months, or restraint of liberty for a term up to five year.
Pre-trial investigation is in progress. Then the materials will be sent to the court. Further, the Interpol and the U.S. government will be notified of the Ukrainian court’s decision.
Olena Vashchenko, deputy director of the information policy department of the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine:
- We believe the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine will consider the incident and take necessary measures. There are moral and ethical grounds to speak about the absolute unacceptability of actions performed by the American band in Odesa and Kyiv clubs. Such actions, related to the outrage against state symbols, cannot be justified by any so-called "epatage".
Volodymyr Ohryzko, former foreign minister of Ukraine, former first vice secretary of NSDC:
- Such people should be banned from entering the country once and for all. We speak about state symbols, and such outrage should not pass unnoticed and unpunished. Both the society and authorities should do something about it.
Why did the audience of the concert tolerate such insult? Either people do not understand what is going on or people have become that much indifferent. It is a shame, but apathy has reached its heights. They should have left the concert immediately and reported to the law enforcements.
Volodymyr Polishchuk, independent expert, former spokesman of Interior Ministry:
- Those present at the concert could have demonstrated their disgust somehow, registered the incident on video, called "102" and reported to the police for law enforcements to be able to react immediately. In other words, every concerned citizen must do something when a crime is being committed.
Vladyslav Lukianov, MP, Party of Regions faction:
- They've come to earn money, but what is with attitude? I believe it is immoral ad unacceptable. If someone humiliates Ukraine as a state and desecrates its symbols must be kicked out of the country and announced persona non-grata. Let them desecrate their local tombs.
Ihor Shvaika, MP, "Freedom" faction:
- I am mightily indignant with the situation, with total disrespect for our country and its values. No promotion action or extravagant behavior of punk groups can justify the incident. There must be certain limits, and what happened in Ukrainian clubs is not just overkill, but a criminal offense against the state. No surprise they have opened criminal proceedings.
However, I am surprised by the official reaction of the authorities. It seems they are ready to ignore and forget about it. How can one forget something similar. Moreover, the reaction of the audience looks even odder. Why did not anybody leave the concert or express his disgust in any way?
For my part, I can assure you that our political force will insist on banning the whole band from entering Ukraine and announcing them personas non-grata.
Oleh Lyashko, MP, non-factional:
- Outrage against national flag of any country is blasphemy and humiliation of people living in it. For urinating on the flag we should cut off that thing he peed with, or beat the shit out of his kidneys to make peeing more complicated next time. I don't know what the Foreign Ministry is doing, and why it has not taken any measures yet. In this case justice is above the law. The authorities should insist on bringing this bass player in Ukraine, and we will decide what to do with him.
Volodymyr Bondarenko, MP, "Motherland" faction:
- If our state had cared about its international image, protest notes and verbal appeals would have already been presented. There must be a reaction. Such things cannot and should not be ignored. Ukraine should defend its state and its national symbols. We must respect not only others, but ourselves first of all.
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