Kanye West is setting his sights on Russia, planning a major trip there this year which will include a meeting with
President Vladimir Putin and a series of Sunday Service concerts marking his first-ever concerts in the country.
An associate of the superstar rapper confirmed to Billboard that West is in the midst of planning a trip to Russia, with the timeframe for it set for later on in the year. Ameer Sudan, West’s strategic advisor, stated that he’s coordinating the details with Scott Balber, an attorney from the New York law firm Herbert, Smith, and Freehills. He also went on to say that they are liaisons between West and Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov and his son, Emin Agalarov who is a well-known musician in the country.
“He will be spending a lot of time out there.”, Sudan said of the potential trip. West, an avid admirer of President Vladimir Putin is reportedly working to meet with the politician and also wants to hold his Sunday Service concerts while there. The gospel/Hip-Hop shows would be his first-ever concerts to be held in Russia with Putin as a guest of honor. The entertainer will also collaborate with Emin Agalarov while there on musical projects to help raise his profile in the U.S. and seek to expand his business opportunities.
The news does come under a cloud of uncertainty. The Agalarovs have a controversial history of involvement with former President Donald Trump dating back to 2013, including the infamous 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Russia is also currently in the midst of tensions with the U.S. over its aggressive behavior including military force towards Ukraine, which has prompted new sanctions to be levied against them.
The U.S. State Department has placed Russia on a level 4 “do not travel” advisory list but allows citizens to go with a visa – under certain conditions. Sudan scoffed at the restrictions. “Kanye knows what’s going on more than the average human being, he’s well aware of things. And it’s nothing against the United States or to cause conflicts, but Ye is Ye — he can’t be controlled.”, he said. Lastly, outside of Sudan’s statements and a rep for the Agalarovs saying they “confirm there are talks going on,” reps for both Ye’s camp and Barber have declined to comment on any of these plans.