Performances in Olsztyn, Rzesz‹w, Krak‹w, and Lublin were cancelled after audiences returned tickets in protest against the celebration of the 60th anniversary of VE-Day in Moscow. The fate of a Bialystok performance is still uncertain.
Wojciech Wojtanowski, who organized the tour, told Reuters that "Ticket sales dropped faster and faster as the date of the Victory Day celebrations in Moscow approached. Even though Poles love the Bolshoi Theatre, they decided to boycott the show."
According to tour organizers, only 20 percent of the guests invited by the Russian embassy attended Monday's performance in Warsaw.
Different reasons for the protests are cited. The News cites mixed feelings about the Russian victory in World War II, and quotes Polish president Aleksandr Kwasniewski saying, "This historic moment does not have the same meaning for everyone. For some people and for the Baltic states, [it] is connected to the loss of independence, and for others like the Poles, a significant loss of sovereignty and Stalinist repression."
The BBC News adds that Poles felt slighted about not being mentioned for their country's role in the war at the Moscow parade, where Russian president Vladimir Putin mentioned the United States, the United Kingdom, France, and "other nations of the anti-Hitler coalition and German and Italian anti-fascists."
Here, Kwasniewski said that there was "no reason to think that Poland and Polish veterans were presented badly or falsely," and called for Poles to keep from making "irresponsible statements or actions," lest it affect Poland's already strained relationship with Russia.