Famous Lithuanian ice skaters Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas, who performed at a show in Sochi causing a backlash in Lithuania, are set to perform in Russia again.
In August, Drobiazko and Vanagas caused outrage in Lithuania when they took part in the Swan Lake ice ballet in Sochi, hosted by Tatyana Navka, wife of Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.
Following their performance in Russia, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda decided to strip the couple of their state awards – Order of the 5th Degree of the Grand Duke Gediminas of Lithuania – that they received in 2000. “August 10, 2022: President Gitanas Nauseda on Wednesday removed ice dancers Margarita Drobiazko and Povilas Vanagas from the list of state awardees over their recent performance in Russia amid the latter’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.”
However, this did not change the couple’s position. According to Navka’s website, another ice show called Sleeping Beauty will take place in Moscow between December 2022 and January 2023. Drobiazko and Vanagas are listed among the show’s performers.
According to the President’s Office, the couple has not yet returned their state awards.
“The aforementioned persons who have been removed from the list of honoured persons have not returned their awards to the Chancellor as they are obliged to do,” the statement said.
Drobiazko and Vanagas “have nonetheless forfeited all rights attached to their awards”, the President’s Office said.
Margarita Drobiazko, originally a Russian national, and Povilas Vanagas represented Lithuania at five Olympic Games and ten international championships. Drobiazko acquired Lithuanian citizenship in 1993 by way of an exception.