Russians are finding ever more creative ways to get around Vladimir Putin’s homophobic “gay propaganda” law, and the latest stunt in Moscow really raises the bar.
On Saturday night one defiant artist took his message of LGBT+ solidarity to the skies as he flew a giant Pride flag over Moscow with dozens of rainbow helium balloons.
Videos of the colourful protest show the flag being raised in in Manezhnaya Square and floating towards the Kremlin, no doubt infuriating those inside.
According to the Moscow Times, the protest was orchestrated by gay performance artist Alexander Donskoy – but just in case there was any doubt, a banner bearing Donskoy’s name was attached to the bottom of the flag.
Donskoy was the mayor of the Northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk between 2005 and 2008. He announced in 2006 that he intended to stand for the presidency of Russia, but was arrested in 2007 and accused of economic crimes and abuse of office.
He received a three-year probationary sentence, and his supporters claim the charges were politically motivated.
After his conviction he made a name for himself as a modern artist and gallery owner. He called his latest demonstration “LGBT Over The Kremlin”.
— МБХ Медиа (@MBKhMedia) August 15, 2020
He told the Novaya Gazeta that he took action in response to Russian officials’ criticism of foreign embassies flying the LGBT+ flag in Moscow.
Several embassies unfurled Pride flags throughout the month of June, including the US embassy, which did so in defiance of Donald Trump as well as Vladimir Putin.
The act outraged several Russian politicians, including one Ekaterina Lakhova, who likened it to a popular rainbow-striped ice cream which she worried was was “indirectly” promoting homosexuality in children.
Putin shrugged off the criticism, suggesting that the US embassy’s flag choice “revealed something about the people that work there,” but it was later revealed that the Russian foreign ministry issued formal complaints to the US, UK and Canadian embassies.
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