Russians, still in shock at the Beslan tragedy, have reacted angrily to a music producer’s plans for what he calls a "terror concert", with a female singer dressed as a suicide bomber on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The singer, called n.A.T.o. in a spin-off of the "lesbian schoolgirl" t.A.T.u. duo that took the West by storm, wears a long black dress, a veil, and sings in Arabic. Producer Ivan Shapovalov, who launched both groups, does not deny that the resemblance to a suicide bomber is intentional.
Tickets to Saturday’s show have also been made to look like plane tickets.
"Shapovalov is exploiting the topical theme of terrorism ... The tragedy in Beslan did little to stop his creative drive," the Izvestia daily wrote.
Shapovalov, meanwhile, does not rule out that there may be problems holding the concert. "Because everyone’s so scared I feel some doubts on their part," he told MosNews, speaking of the organizers.
The concert will feature the latest news footage from the Middle East, and references to al Qaeda and Iraq.
An official from the Ministry of Culture also spoke out against holding the event. "The coming concert is absolutely politically incorrect in form," Interfax quoted the official as saying.
He added that while he has indicated this to Shapovalov’s representatives, the Ministry of Culture does not have any legal means of canceling the concert.
"This is sick. That man is sick. The producer should be jailed for doing that after so many people died across Russia in the past weeks," Reuters quoted a Muscovite as saying. "I am sure the concert will be cancelled."
But while he admits that his protegee is supposed to look like a suicide bomber, Shapovalov doesn’t see why people are upset. "If people are scared by a woman wearing a black headscarf, that means they are sick themselves," Izvestia quoted him as saying.
When MosNews asked him about his use of terror imagery in his ad campaign for n.A.T.o., he says, "I’m not leading a campaign. I like her songs and I like it when others listen to things I like."
Meanwhile, a member of Shapovalov’s creative team, who chose to remain anonymous, told MosNews the producer has already discussed n.A.T.o. with a London music company and that the company is interested, "because nothing is getting blown up in England".