Civil War A Show-Stopper

Newsreel pictures indicate that Ukraine may be on the brink of a bloody civil war, so it’s no surprise that Depeche Mode pulled its Feb. 26 show at the International Exhibition Centre in Kiev, the country’s capital and so far the scene of the worst violence. 

Photo: AP Photo / Marko Drobnjakovic
Anti-Yanukovych protesters detain a suspected thief in Kiev's Independence Square.

Tanya Kovalevskaya from show promoter Anshlag Concerts says the company was notified of the cancellation by email late Feb. 24.

The text said: “Depeche Mode regretfully announce that due to the current civil unrest and instability in Kiev and the whole of Ukraine, the concert scheduled for Wednesday February 26 at the International Exhibition Center in Kiev has been cancelled.”

It went on to say the band’s thoughts are with the Ukrainians during this challenging period and the members sincerely look forward to the next time they can perform for the fans in Kiev and Ukraine.

At press time, Best City Festival in Dnipropetrovsk (June 27-29) still intended to go ahead.

Oksana Dudko from festival organizer Concert Agency Konstantin told Pollstar that many shows in Kiev have been canceled “because of the difficult political situation in Ukraine,” but the event expects conditions to stabilize before midsummer.

The festival website is listing HIM as one of the headliners.

So far the protests in Dnipropetrovsk haven’t been as shocking as those in Kiev, where at least 70 people have died.

On Feb. 22 several hundred demonstrators smashed a monument to former Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin and tried to storm a local administration building.

Dnipropetrovsk is southeast of Kiev in the country’s industrial belt, a region that historically has much closer ties to Russia.

In Kiev, the protesters want to loosen ties with Russia and move more toward the European Union.

One interviewee from the area told the UK’s Daily Telegraph that the country didn’t want to be ruled by the “bandits and fascists” trying to set up a pro-European government in Kiev.

Many political analysts think it may be the issue that splits Ukraine in two.

Viktor Yanukovych, the country’s president, has disappeared and is believed to have gone to Russia.

Former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has been released from jail, where she was serving a seven-year sentence for embezzlement and abuse of power, but it’s not clear how much support she enjoys among the electorate.