scroll to top arrow or icon

Russia kills the mood at The Killers concert

Brandon Flowers of The Killers performs at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, Maryland

Brandon Flowers of The Killers performs at the Virgin Festival in Baltimore, Maryland


Somebody told me you had a boyfriend ... but, apparently, not that Georgia is a former Soviet state!

Those could be new lyrics to The Killers song after the band invited a Russian fan on stage at a concert in Georgia and encouraged the audience to embrace him as a brother. Yep, you read that right.

Frontman Brandon Flowers introduced the audience member as Russian during their ritual of inviting a fan to play the drums on stage. When the crowd responded with boos, Flowers responded, "You can't recognize if someone's your brother? We all separate on the borders of our countries? Am I not your brother, being from America?"

What Flowers overlooked: Calling for Russian brotherhood in Georgia brings back memories of the 2008 Russo-Georgian war. Russia invaded the former Soviet state 15 years ago and has occupied 20% of its territory ever since. Fears of Russian aggression have skyrocketed among Georgians since the invasion of Ukraine, and tensions have been exacerbated by thousands of Russians entering the country to flee the draft.

“Inviting a Russian drummer to serenade a crowd of Georgians on their soil amid a crawling Russian occupation was a mind-blowing oversight,” says Tinatin Japaridze, a Eurasian political risk analyst at Eurasia Group and native Georgian. “While we cannot expect every rockstar to have an in-house geopolitical risk analyst on speed dial, I find it hard to believe that The Killers had not been at least casually informed that the place where they were about to perform had spent 70 years under Soviet occupation, and relations with Russia — a northern neighbor that invaded my country in 2008 — continue to be tumultuous, to say the least.”

“Hopefully, The Killers will spread the word among their colleagues in entertainment and make it public knowledge in the West that for as long as Moscow continues to occupy our sovereign territory, Russians cannot and will not be our siblings,” she adds.

Flowers has since apologized, but we’re skeptical he’ll be invited to bring “Mr. Brightside” back to Georgia anytime soon.


Subscribe to GZERO's daily newsletter