Organizers of two scheduled Selena Gomez concerts in Russia said Thursday that the shows have been canceled after she was unable to obtain a Russian visa.
The English-language Russian newspaper The Moscow Times said the organizers told the news agency RIA Novosti that the government's refusal to issue a visa was the result of tightened conditions for foreign musicians. These arose, they said, following open support of Russia's gay community by Madonna and Lady Gaga in concerts in that country last year. While Gomez, 21, has not specifically crusaded for gay rights, she became the subject of a Change.org online petition that quickly garnered thousands of signatures and may have been noticed by Russian visa authorities.
The pop star had been scheduled to play St. Petersburg's Ice Palace Monday and Moscow's Olimpiysky stadium Wednesday. A representative for the singer confirmed to E! News she had canceled her trip.
While gay relationships were decriminalized in Russia in 1993, gays have no civil partnership or marriage rights, and no laws ban anti-gay discrimination. In June, Russia amended its child-protection law to forbid "the propagandizing of nontraditional sexual relations among minors." While the law avoids the words "gay" or "homosexual," critics say it is directed against the LGBT community.
No mention of Gomez or the concerts appeared on the RIA Novosti website Thursday, though the site contains many news stories covering recent gay issues. Gomez's spokeswoman did not immediately return Newsday's request for comment.