Moscow court orders ministry to review ban on Azerbaijani-born comedian



A Moscow court has ordered the Interior Ministry to reconsider a lifetime ban on a comedic stand-up of Azerbaijani origin that prohibits him from entering and residing in Russia.

Sergei Badamshin, lawyer for comedian Idrak Mirzalizade, told Telegram that Zamoskvorechye District Court “partially satisfied” his client’s call on October 5 and ordered the ministry to find “a reasonable blackout period” for the performer.

At the end of August, the Interior Ministry indicated that the presence in Russia of Mirzalizade, a Belarusian citizen who holds a permanent residence in Russia, was “unwanted” because of his statements which “incite hatred and enmity towards ethnic Russians”.

Zamoskvorechye District Court last month suspended the ministry’s decision.

Mirzalizade, who is a well-known comedian in Moscow, said the performance at the heart of the controversy was about the problems non-Russians face when they want to rent an apartment in the Russian capital.

In the performance, the comedian jokes about what would happen if the perception of Russians by others was based on various incidents, drawing a parallel with situations that shape prejudices about non-Russians living among Russians.

Mirzalizade served 10 days in prison in August for the show.

Although he maintained his innocence, he also made several public apologies to “anyone who felt insulted by parts of my performance, which were taken out of context.”

Earlier in June, the comic wrote on Instagram that two unknown men attacked him after receiving several threats due to his performance.

He also has placed a video on YouTube showing the time of the attack.

Mirzalizade is a Talysh ethnicity, which is a Persian speaking ethnic minority in Azerbaijan.


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