It ain’t easy being gay in Russia. The law isn’t exactly on your side.
That’s why some were surprised to see Russia’s most prominent anti-gay rights campaigner sidelined by cops last Friday after he tried to break up a May Day march of liberal activists — including LGBT supporters — in St. Petersburg.
Vitaly Milonov, a conservative local lawmaker who authored one of Russia’s first gay “propaganda” bans, is known for his many public anti-gay stunts. Late last year, with the help of police, he raided a gay club in his hometown in search of what he claimed were underage partygoers. More recently, he called on Apple to remove gay emoticons from its latest operating system.
And thanks partly to widespread anti-gay sentiment in Russia, Milonov is rarely rebuffed.
Not this time, though.
In the first few minutes of the following video, the bespectacled Milonov is shown ranting to police about a column of demonstrators promoting peace in Ukraine. Then, as the pro-LGBT column approaches, he demands the cops arrest them for what he believed was a violation of the law.
The police don’t budge. They actually appear intent on holding him back. And so the demonstrators roll right on by, cheering, clapping and chanting. Milonov, for his part, is left hurling homophobic obscenities at the crowd from the margins. The police protection was a rare moment of tolerance in a country where publicly “promoting nontraditional sexual relations” can get you prison time.
It wasn’t the first time gay activists have managed to get the best of Milonov, however. There was also that one time he was photographed between two women kissing on an airplane.
Милонов, целующиеся лесбиянки и зига. Вся Россия в одной фотографии. pic.twitter.com/4wZFVYqgc7
— Лентач (@oldLentach) February 1, 2015
Reality check, though: just two days after that photo was taken, police raided a popular St. Petersburg lesbian club owned by one of the women in the image.
By Dan Peleschuk, GlobalPost
This article is syndicated from GlobalPost.
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