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Why I have had to cancel my upcoming appearance at the Russian Hospitality Show.

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I would like to apologise to anybody who was hoping to see my Ten (Food) Commandments show at Russian Hospitality Week in Moscow, over October 17/18. I have had to cancel my trip for reasons breath-takingly beyond my control.

 

Although I was due to be paid for my work, the company that had booked me believed it would be entirely fine if I slipped in to the country on a tourist visa. As someone who has both written pieces critical of the Putin government, and expressed concerns in public over the current state of democracy in Russia, I considered it less than wise of me to enter the country on anything other than exactly the right visa. Lying to Russian border officials has never exactly been high on my bucket list. By doing so I would also have risked causing major problems for my journalist colleagues on the Guardian and Observer working within Russia. I tried  to get the organisers to deal with the issue, but they responded in an extremely half-hearted manner, and made scant effort to supply me with even the most basic information I needed to apply for the correct visa.

 

This is a long explanation for why I won’t be in Moscow, but I did not want anyone thinking it was a decision I took lightly. All I can say is that if you happen to be travelling from Russia to London at any point in the future do keep an eye on my Live Shows page where you’ll find details of my performances here in the UK.

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