The reason? Whoever was in charge of filing the band's visa paperwork wrote down the wrong dates. The US Department of State site notes that the Russian government "maintains a restrictive and complicated visa regime for foreign travelers," and mentions what might have caused the NIN snafu:
A Russia entry/exit visa has two dates written in the European style (day. month, year) as opposed to the American style (month/day/year). The first date indicates the earliest day a traveler may enter Russia; the second date indicates the date by which a traveler must leave Russia. A Russian visa is only valid for those exact dates.
The shows were reportedly canceled... but now it looks like someone out there in the Russian Federation is a Nine Inch Nails fan. As this photo of one of the guys in Moscow's Red Square (uploaded today to the band's website) attests, NIN are finally -- and for what is apparently the first time -- in the [former] USSR. You don't know how lucky you are, boys.
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