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Russian power couple Alla Pugacheva and Maxim Galkin flee to Israel — reports

Country’s most successful pop diva and her TV host husband said to be living in Caesarea with two children; unclear if family, with Jewish ties, plans to immigrate

Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian pop singer Alla Pugacheva pose for a photo during an awards ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on December 22, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)
Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, and Russian pop singer Alla Pugacheva pose for a photo during an awards ceremony in Moscow's Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, on December 22, 2014. (AP Photo/RIA-Novosti, Alexei Druzhinin, Presidential Press Service)

One of Russia’s most famous power couples, pop diva Alla Pugacheva and television host Maxim Galkin, have fled to Israel, according to Russian and Israeli media reports.

Pugacheva, 73, is considered to be Russia’s, and the former Soviet Union’s, most successful performer in terms of record sales and popularity.

She is known as the “grandmother” of Russian pop for her greatest hits “Millions of Scarlet Roses” and “Love Like a Dream.”

Her husband Galkin, 46 — whose mother is Jewish — is a comedian, impressionist, and renowned TV presenter, hosting the Russian version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” among other shows.

In early March, Russian media reported the two had left Russia for Israel, along with their nine-year-old twins — Liza and Garry — born to a surrogate.

Two sources told the Haaretz daily on Thursday that Pugacheva and Galkin are in Israel. Channel 12 news reported the couple may be living in the upscale coastal town of Caesarea.

It was not immediately clear if the couple was in Israel on holiday, or were planning on permanently moving amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

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Galkin came out against the war in an Instagram post on February 24, saying: “I cannot describe what I am feeling right now. How is this all possible! There is no justification for war! No to war!”

Galkin is not the only Russian celebrity to publicly speak out against the war on Ukraine. Popular late-night talk show host, Ivan Urgant, who has been dubbed Russia’s version of American television host Jimmy Kimmel, reportedly fled to Israel after criticizing the war in Ukraine.

Still, according to Haaretz, Galkin has six performances scheduled around the country in June.

Pugacheva meanwhile posted a video on Instagram showing famous Russian Orthodox priest Andrei Tkachev, who is originally from Ukraine, attacking her for leaving the country.

“We’re living in a satanic nightmare,” he said in the video according to Haaretz. “Have you paid attention to how the air has been cleansed? Pugacheva has left Russia forever! God, how long have I waited for this!”

Pugacheva responds in the clip: “Your joy comes too early,” she said. “A vacation and medical care aren’t considered emigration. I’ll return and we’ll clarify things. I’ll go to your church and pray for you, blasphemer.”

Shortly after Moscow invaded Ukraine, Russian officials threatened journalists and independent media with severe consequences, including imprisonment, if their statements or coverage of the invasion deviated from the official narrative dictated by the Kremlin.

Violating these terms could lead to anywhere between 3-15 years in prison, depending on the consequences of the shared information.

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