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© AFP 2013 / Robyn Beck

'Strong enough?' Cher asks for extra body armor in Dagestan

by R-Sport at 18/07/2013 13:50

Singing legend Cher asked for extra body armor before taking to the stage to perform at the opening of Anzhi Makhachkala's new football stadium in Russia's volatile Dagestan province, a club official has said.

Anzhi chairman Konstantin Remchukov said that the star's fears had been prompted by US news coverage of the Russian republic of Dagestan, where the authorities are fighting an Islamist-led insurgency.

“Cher was supposed to be coming for the Anzhi-Arena opening,” Remchukov told the Rossiya 2 TV network. “I know her and her lawyer personally. A few days before, I got a load of sms messages – ‘what’s going on there?’”

“CNN was showing news about a string of terror attacks in the region,” Remchukov explained.

“They asked ‘Could we have a couple of extra bulletproof vests? Are there metal detectors for the fans entering the stadium? Has this event been heavily promoted?’” Remchukov said, adding that they were worried that a well-attended event could become a prime target for terrorist attacks.

After reassuring them, Remchukov said he got a phone call from the club’s owner, tycoon Suleiman Kerimov, asking him to accompany Cher from the airport for the June 1 event.

The security concerns mean Anzhi are banned from hosting European games in Dagestan or anywhere across the North Caucasus, where many Western governments advise against travel.

Cher father’s family has roots in Armenia, south of the Caucasus mountain range.

With over 40 years in show business, the singer and actress has an avidly loyal fan base across the globe, and has also been dubbed a “gay icon” by US media.

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