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Moldova grants citizenship to members of anti-war rock Band Bi2 of Russia

Moldova has granted citizenship to several members of the Russian-Belarusian rock band Bi-2, the government in Chisinau announced late Monday. This follows the group’s detainment in Thailand and potential deportation to Russia.

President Maia Sandu signed a decree awarding Moldovan passports to “certain members of Bi-2,” according to her office chief Adrian Balutel, who announced the decision on social media.

“Our country protects human dignity, freedom of expression, and shows solidarity with those who are in danger,” Balutel stated.

Bi-2, formed in the 1980s in Belarus during the Soviet era, left Russia in protest against the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Since then, they have toured in countries with significant Russian-speaking communities.

A spokesperson for the band revealed that nine members, including a guitarist, the group’s artistic director, and an engineer, along with their families, have received Moldovan citizenship.

The band relocated to the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, last month but is currently on tour.

Bi-2’s spokesperson noted that the band met with President Sandu after a concert last year, expressing their gratitude towards her and those who assisted them.

In addition to their new Moldovan citizenship, some band members hold Australian, Israeli, and Russian citizenship.

In January, Bi-2 made headlines when they were detained in Thailand for a week due to purportedly incorrect immigration paperwork, raising concerns about potential deportation to Russia where they might face persecution.

After their release, the band traveled to Israel and resumed touring in March.

Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Moscow, Bi-2 has been performing outside Russia. They made a significant statement by refusing to play in front of the pro-war symbol “Z” at an April 2022 concert, leading to multiple venue cancellations across Russia.

In May 2023, Russia’s Justice Ministry designated lead singer Yegor Bortnik, known by his stage name Lyova Bi-2, as a “foreign agent.”

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I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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