Top-15 Handsome Russian Men. Photo Gallery

The majority of Russian families bring up their sons in brutal manner, so the boys become strong, brave, and always ready to defend themselves and their nearest and dearest. Foreign woman like to apply to Russian men the phrase “behind the brick wall” and this is absolutely true for them. All men try to correspond to the features that the society imposes for them, as like to provide safety for their families (parents, wife and children) and to arrange their living in good financial condition. The men living in Russian federation prefer their wives to keep the house and bring up the children. At the same time, they try hard to earn as much money as possible to make their families happy.

But in spite of these rude tempers, the Russians still remain gentle and romantic. They can easily arrange a fabulous dating to their sweethearts that would print in the mind for years ahead.

22 Russians Who We Won’t Let Vladimir Putin Forget Were LGBT

22 Russians Who We Won’t Let Vladimir Putin Forget Were LGBT

Let’s remember all the great Russians we do love, and don’t throw the baby out with the vodka.

Are you boycotting the 2014 Olympics in Sochi? Are you pouring your Russian vodka down the loo? Another way to show your support for Russian LGBTs is by remembering these wonderfully talented, beautiful, and iconoclastic figures from the country’s history.

Ivan IV (The Terrible, 1530-1584, reigned from 1533)First off, when we say „terrible“ here, we imagine it more like: „Oh Muriel, you’re terrible!“ There is speculation that a more literal translation would be „formidable.“ A composer and a poet, Ivan was the first ruler to be crowned tsar of all Russia. In his final years as tsar he vaccilated between extremes. It was all party or all austerity. He married seven times, but what really seemed to keep his samovar brewing was men in female attire. One of the most viscious lieutenants of Ivan’s political police, Feodor Basmanov, rose to power by performing seductive dances in women’s clothes in Ivan’s court. (Sources: and Wikipedia)

Nikolai Gogol (1809-1852)Gogol is a Ukrainian-born Russian humorist, dramatist, and novelist, whose novel Dead Souls, and whose short story “The Overcoat,” are considered the foundations of the great 19th-century tradition of Russian realism. In The Sexual Labyrinth of Nikolai Gogol, author Simon Karlinsky posits that Gogol’s „emotional orientation“ was homosexual, and that understanding that is the key to much of his work. (Sources: New York Review of Books, Wikipedia)

Peter Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893)He wrote the most deleriously beautiful music ever: Romeo and Juliet, the 1812 Overture, his three ballets The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, among many others. The history of Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality was suppressed in Russia by the Soviets, and it has only recently become widely known in post-Soviet Russia. Tchaikovsky’s letters and diaries, as well as the letters of his brother Modest, who was also gay, make clear his orientation. But as so often is the case, letting the facts speak for themselves about orientation is often denied and countered by censoring views. Some historians still consider evidence scant or non-existent. Many of Tchaikovsky’s most intimate relationships were homosexual: Tchaikovsky’s servant Aleksey Sofronov and his nephew, Vladimir “Bob” Davydov. Gay author E.M. Forster referenced Tchaikovsky and Davydov in his love story Maurice, written in 1913-14 and published in 1971: “…Tchaikovsky had fallen in love with his own nephew, and dedicated his masterpiece [Symphonie pathetique] to him.” (Sources: )

Sergei Diaghilev (1872-1929)The legendary ballet impresario founded the Ballets Russes, a collaborative effort of the most talented artists, composers and dancers of the early 20th century. His orientation was fairly well known, as was his relationship with the dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. He moved dance away from the formal classicism of the 19th century to a modern freedom, and in doing so liberated the male dancer from his role as tripod for the ballerina to become a focus in his own right.

A stellar pantheon of collaborators included Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Michel Fokine, Leon Bakst, George Balanchine, Igor Stravinsky, Matisse, Marie Laurencin, Georges Braque, and Coco Chanel, as well as his lovers Boris Kochno, Léonide Massine, and Serge Lifar.

Doing away with the lugubrious romantic works of the previous century like Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, Diaghilev created a repertoire of works that were not only more natural and modern, but also experimental and controversial exploring gender identity, homosexuality, and incest.

Picasso created cubist sets for Parade. Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring caused riots with its challenging rhythms. Nijinsky’s masturbatory performance in L’après-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun) caused a scandal, as did his choreography for Jeux, a dance depicting a tennis game, that was a thinly veiled depiction of a three-way.

The Ballets Russes, ironically enough, never performed in Russia. They toured the globe attracting both the newly forming café society as well as the intellectual and bohemian crowd of the day. And of course, interspersed in all that strata were large numbers of gay men and women. The Ballets Russes became a symbol of the avant garde and international chic.

Above: Nazimova in her production of Oscar Wilde’s Salome; Right: As Hedda Gabler; Bottom: Lady Gaga and Nazimova

Alla Nazimova (1879 – 1945)This revered Russian actress made it to the Great White Way, where she was discovered by Hollywood and became the prototype of the exotic screen vamp. After two husbands — one a “lavender” marriage — she converted her West Hollywood compound into a playground for the rich, famous, and sexually promiscuous. From then on it was women only. She bedded the famous, the powerful, and merely mercenary.

Brought to Hollywood by Lewis Selznik, she began writing and producing her own extremely stylized and often daring films. Most notable was her production of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé with art direction and costumes by Valentino’s wife, Natacha Rambova, with whom she is presumed to have had an affair. She had already bedded Valentino’s first wife Jean Acker.Nazimova’s mansion, the Garden of Alla, was a hot spot on the corner of Sunset and Crescent Heights that hosted many of the wilder parties for the 1920s film folk. There were a series of villas and cabins, and it is said that once inside the “Garden” all lips were sealed as to who spent the night in whose bed. It was converted to apartments and a hotel in 1927, and Nazimova continued to live there in one of the villas.

Of those others Nazimova is confirmed to have been involved with romantically, the list includes actress Eva Le Gallienne, director Dorothy Arzner, writer Mercedes de Acosta, Oscar Wilde’s niece Dolly Wilde, and actress Anna May Wong. Nazimova lived with her very patient, long-time companion Glesca Marshall from 1929 until her death in 1945.

(1886 – 1967)Yusupov’s life has three or four novels-worth of adventure. Duels, incarcerations, extreme wealth, and forced exile. He is also one of the two men who murdered Rasputin, the mystic who was an advisor the the Romanovs, the Imperial Russian family.

Yusupov was bisexual and led a flamboyant life. He describes in his autobiography often spending time with Gypsy bands and adopting female clothing. He married Princess Irina of Russia, the tsar’s niece, on February 22, 1914 in the Anichkov Palace in Saint Petersburg. The marriage was said to be extremely well matched and very happy. After murdering Rasputin, and after the breakout of WWI, Yusupov and his wife went into exile, but not without first stopping at their palace to grab some jewelry and a few Rembrandts to tide them over. (Sources: Wikipedia, )

Vaslav Nijinsky (1889-1950)Nijinsky was born into a dancing family. Both his parents were senior dancers with Setov opera company. At nine he joined the Imperial Ballet School in St. Petersburg, the most prestigious and powerful dance school in the world. In 1909 he joined the Ballets Russes, a new ballet company started by Sergei Diaghilev (see previous) which planned to present Russian ballets in Paris, where productions of the quality staged by the Imperial ballet simply did not exist.

Nijinsky became the company’s star male dancer and Diaghilev’s lover. Nijinsky’s astounding talent and Diaghelev’s star-making machine resulted in international fame for Nijinsky. His body was legendary, with short, powerful legs that performed amazing leaps, and long slender arms that captured a more feminine grace.

In 1912 Nijinsky began choreographing his own ballets, including L’après-midi d’un faune (1912) and Jeux (1913). At the premier of Le Sacre du Printemps (1913) fights broke out in the audience out of shock and dismay at both Nijinsky’s choreography and Igor Stravinsky’s music. His most enduring moment was the scandal created as he performed his role in L’après-midi d’un faune (The Afternoon of a Faun), which culminated in self-pleasure.

Nijinsky married Hungarian Romola de Pulszky in 1913 while on tour with the company in South America. She had stalked Nijinsky. The marriage was a surprise as neither spoke the same language, but Nijinsky was already showing signs of mental deterioration that was to continue. Diaghilev immediately dismissed Nijinsky from the company. He was interned in Hungary during World War I under house arrest until 1916, finally being allowed to leave after intervention by Diaghilev, who wanted him to perform in an American tour.

Nijinsky became increasingly mentally unstable. After a tour of South America in 1917 the family settled in Switzerland, where his mental condition continued to deteriorate. The rest of his life was spent suffering from mental illness which incapacitated him beyond the ability to dance again in public. For a close-up look at a mind gone mad, read his diary, written in the last six weeks before he was committed to an asylum.

Erté (1892 – 1990)Romain de Tirtoff was a Russian-born French artist and designer known by the pseudonym Erté, the French pronunciation of his initials, R.T. He was a diversely talented artist and designer who flourished in an array of fields, including fashion, jewelery, graphic arts, costume and set design for film, theater, and opera, and interior decor in a career that spanned nearly the entire century.

According to The New York Times, A major turning point in his career came in 1965, when he met Eric and Salome Estorick of Seven Arts Ltd. Seven Arts remained the exclusive agent for Erte’s work until his death. When the Estoricks organized an exhibition of 170 of his works in New York in 1967, the Metropolitan Museum of Art bought the entire collection.

If you lived through the ’70s and ’80s, you saw an incredible revival of a still-living artist whose control over his meticulously rendered images never wavered. He worked up until the last two weeks of his life at 97. He was fond of the pubilicty he had from his revival, and made many appearances in his celery- and lavender-colored suits with scarves and hats adding extra glamour.

Of his hallucinatory and decadent imagination he said, „I’m in a different world, a dream world that invites oblivion. People take drugs to achieve such freedom from their daily cares. I’ve never taken drugs. I’ve never needed them.“

Léonide Massine (1896 – 1979)This bisexual superstar became the next big thing after Nijinsky’s emotional defection from Daighilev and the Ballet Russe. Not only was he immediately filling all the major roles, but he was Diaghilev’s bedmate as well. Massine was undisputably Europe’s leading dancer and choreographer of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Massine choreographed over 100 ballets, among them works that are landmarks in 20th century left: Massine by Léon Bakst

Massine’s collaborators list reads like a compendium of all arts and culture in the first half of the 20th Century: Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Bakst, Gontcharova, Larionov, Derain, the Delaunays, Chagall, Miro, Dali, Stravinsky, Satie, Prokofiev, Cocteau, Noel Coward, Martha Graham, and Moira Shearer in the cult ballet classic film The Red Shoes.

In his youth, Massine was the protégé and lover of Diaghilev, and in later life he enjoyed numerous love affairs with beautiful women, and had four wives. His first two wives, Vera Savina (née Vera Clark) and Eugenia Delarova, were both ballet dancers. With his third wife, Tatiana Orlova, he had two children — a son, Lorca, and a daughter, Tatiania. He and Orlova divorced in 1968. He subsequently married Hannelore Holtwick, with whom he had two sons, Peter and Theodor, and made his home in Borken, Germany, where he died in 1979.

Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948)Though he only made seven films in his career, his groundbreaking use of montage and symbolism has influenced generations of filmmakers since. He began as a stage-set designer, then director. He moved film away from a static Victorian linear narrative to a spontaneous explosion of images, utilizing radical angles and relationships in the picture frame, often so chaotic that the audience was baffled.

Eisenstein’s personal life was also chaotic. He married twice in response to political pressure, but his marriages were never consummated. His unexpurgated diaries, published as Immortal Memories, are filled with accounts of his infatuations with many young men, including his assistant, Grigori Alexandrov.

Often his infatuations were with young heterosexual men whom he would mentor (as in the case of Alexandrov). His drawings, exhibited during the centenary of his birth, include many illustrations of homosexual activity.

Pavel Tchelitchew (1898 – 1957)Surrealist artist Pavel Tchelitchew was favored by the social set. His chic artwork was of the moment, but elegant. His young lover Charles Henri Ford (pictured, top, with Tchelitchew at left, by Cecil Beaton) was a poet and one of the editors of the surrealist magazine View. His most significant work is the painting Hide and Seek, painted in 1940–42, and currently owned by the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.

His crowd included avant-garde siblings the Sitwells, Cecil Beaton, Gertrude Stein, and many other iconic culture movers of the century. As his art moved toward neo-romaticism, he expanded his craft into stage design for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe and some delightfully NSFW artwork (a sample above right), check out David Leddick’s wonderful book The Homoerotic Art of Pavel Tchelitchev.

(1899 – 1969)Deineka was a Soviet Russian painter, graphic artist, and sculptor, regarded as one of the most important Russian modernist figurative painters of the first half of the 20th century. Gay? Bisexual? Who is to say? We include his art here for its idealistic view of the male athletic form, and as an homage to the athletes that intend to compete in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

Deineka was born in Kursk to a railroader family. He was educated at Kharkov Art College. His youth was spent — as was many of his contemporaries — devoted to events around the revolution. In 1918 he worked as the photographer in Criminal Investigation Department, managed a section of the Art of Regional Educational Department, designed campaigns, and became involved in the defense of Kursk. In 1919-1920, Deineka was in the army where he managed an art studio in Kursk Political Department.

(1904 — 1990)In 1920, Kochno became Sergei Diaghilev’s secretary, librettist, and eventually, his main collaborator. They were also lovers until Diaghilev’s death in 1929 at 57. Kochno was there to witness the collaboration of many of the great artists of the 20th century, as well as befriend them and bed them, including an affair with Cole Porter in 1925, with whom he carried on a lengthy Diaghilev, at left.

After Diaghilev’s death he and dancer/choreographer Serge Lifar tried to continue the Ballets Russes, but to no avail. Later he worked as the Monte Carlo ballet director, where he became an influential figure in post-WWII French ballet. At the end of WWII, Kochno entered into collaboration with Roland Petit and Christian Berard, and they formed the Ballets des Champs-Élysé books about Diaghilev and his good friend Berard are full of art and gossip of the European bohemian crowd as well as its upper crust.

Serge Lifar (1905 – 1986)By now, in popular dance culture, it could be assumed that the road to stardom involved a trek across the sheets of Sergei Diaghilev’s bed. The very ambitious Lifar was only too happy to exploit his own good looks and charm on Diaghilev, Misia Sert, and Coco Chanel to mention but a few.

In 1924, his strategies came to fruition as he became one of Diaghilev’s favorites. As a result, he was cast in attention-getting roles and was groomed as a premier dancer and choreographer.

In a frenzy of fame and acclaim, Lifar kept taking so much that even the self-promoting Diaghilev hit his limit. But Lifar’s talent had now begun to match his persistence, and he became indispensable as a featured dancer.

His brush with scandal: His open socializing with the German High Command during the Occupation of Paris, he claimed, was related to his work as an undercover agent. Although the appearance of collaboration led to Lifar’s „banishment for life“ from the Paris Opera Ballet in 1944, he was welcomed back by

Rudolf Nureyev (1938-1993)And finally, a ballet dancer who did not find stardom in Diaghilev’s bed! The Russian defector and dance megastar’s life has had an enormous effect on 20th century dance and branches out into other arts and media as well. How many people can say they danced with Dame Margot Fonteyn and Miss Piggy?

Within a week after Nureyev defected while on tour in France, he was signed up by the Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, and was performing The Sleeping Beauty. On a tour of Denmark he met Erik Bruhn, soloist at the Royal Danish Ballet, who became his lover in a volatile long-term partnership until Bruhn’s death in 1986.

In 1983, Nureyev was appointed director of the Paris Opera Ballet, where, as well as directing, he continued to dance and to promote younger dancers. 

He socialized with Gore Vidal, Freddie Mercury, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, Andy Warhol, and Lee Radziwill — while maintaining he had no patience for celebrities.

Stories of Nureyev’s adventurous sex life were rife. He was spotted at the Anvil, the infamous New York bar and sex venue, and soon stories popped up everywhere regarding his exploits. The dancer tested positive for HIV in 1984. In the summer of 1991, he began to decline and entered the final phase of the disease in the spring of 1992. He worked almost up to the very end in November of 1992, conducting, choreographing and making appearances to receive awards, including France’s highest cultural award, the Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Born in Moscow, he was raised in a secular Jewish family. In 1994, after earning a law degree from Moscow State Law Academy, Lucas briefly owned and operated a travel agency until 1995. He left Russia for Munich, Germany, then settled in France for the next two years. In 1997, Lucas moved to New York City.

He started his porn career in Germany with straight films, but while in France, he worked with the influential director Jean-Daniel Cadinot in his first gay films, and then went on to become a Falcon exclusive. He now has his own successful production company in New York.

As a columnist for Out, The Advocate, Huffington Post and Pink News, his reputation is controversial and his writing outspoken. Speaking regularly at universities such as Stanford, Yale, and Oxford, he discusses social, political, and sexual issues. He has been on the cover of hundreds of magazines worldwide and has been profiled in many mainstream publications ranging from New York Magazine to The New Republic.

In 2009, he became a citizen of Israel, denouncing his Russian citizenship in 2010 over Russian homophobia and anti-Semitism. (Sources: , Wikipedia)

Slava Mogutin (b. 1974)Mogutin’s brash, sexy, and gritty art and photography are at the core of the Downtown scene in New York. Born Yaroslav Yurievich Mogutin in the industrial city of Kemerovo, Siberia, he left his family at age 14 and moved to Moscow, where he began working as a journalist and editor. Mogutin dealt in controversy and defied authority so vehemently that by age 21, he was charged with “open and deliberate contempt for generally accepted moral norms,” “malicious hooliganism with exceptional cynicism and extreme insolence,” “inflaming social, national, and religious division,” “propaganda of brutal violence, psychic pathology, and sexual perversions.” So, yes. A bad 1995, Mogutin was granted political asylum in the U.S. with the support of Amnesty International and PEN American Center. Mogutin’s photography and multimedia work have been exhibited internationally, including MoMA PS1 and Museum of Arts and Design in New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco; The Pacific Design Center in L.A.; Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston; Moscow Museum of Modern Art; Australian Centre for Photography in Sydney; Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam; Overgaden Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen; Estonian KUMU Art Museum in Tallinn; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León (MUSAC) in Spain; and The Haifa Museum of Art in Israel. His work has been featured in a wide range of publications, including i-D, Flash Art, Modern Painters, Visionaire, L’Uomo Vogue, Stern, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. He is a regular contributor to Whitewall, Vice, Flaunt, and The Stranger.

Mogutin is the author of two hardcover monographs of photography, Lost Boys and NYC Go-Go. In 2004, together with his partner and collaborator Brian Kenny, Mogutin co-founded SUPERM, a collaborative art project responsible for site-specific gallery and museum shows in the U.S. and across Europe. (Source: )

The latest wave of Russians on the cutting edge are making their statements — in spite of oppression from the mother country — in photography, publishing and music, all with a focus on activism.

Alexander KargaltsevAlexander Kargaltsev’s photographic project “Asylum” explores the lives of gay men who fled Russia for the United States due to the violence and hatred they have encountered in their motherland.

Kargaltsev’s portraits expose the dire situation of the LGBT community in Russia. They contain a poignant message of hope for a life free of fear in the New World. The models, in their nakedness, reveal their courage in shedding many layers of fear, emerging from their harrowing past, bare and vulnerable, yet proud.

For more on this previous exhibit: editor Milena ChernyavskayaAgens, which translates from Latin to mean „driving force,“ describes itself as „A Magazine About Women for Women,“ and carries a disclaimer warning that the magazine is only for those aged 18 and older. RIA Novosti reports the magazine’s claim that it is the only printed, glossy publication for lesbians in the country, and the magazine’s editor in chief says it intends to help balance the lack of information available to Russia’s LGBT community.“The LGBT community has to deal with an information blackout,“ said Milena Chernyavska, the editor in chief and a graduate of Moscow State University’s journalism program. „Russian gay men and lesbians don’t know each other and think that they cannot be happy, because everyone around them abuses them.“

Pussy RiotPussy Riot is a Russian feminist punk rock protest group based in Moscow. Founded in August 2011, it has a variable membership of approximately 11, women ranging in age from about 20 to 33, who wear brightly colored balaclavas and use only nicknames during interviews. They stage unauthorized, provocative guerrilla performances in unusual public locations, which are edited into music videos and posted on the Internet. Their lyrical themes include feminism, LGBT rights, opposition to the policies of Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they regard as a dictator, and links between the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church and Putin.

 22 Russians Who We Won't Let Vladimir Putin Forget Were LGBT

Russia gay travel: is it safe for LGBTQ travellers?

My “coming out” song back in February 2003 was “All The Things You Said”, a pop hit by Russian girl band t.A.T.u, who was marketed as a lesbian couple. For the video of this song, the two band members, Lena Katina and Julia Volkova, were running around in the rain dressed in schoolgirl outfits and kissing, making out in the rain.

Obviously the band were (quite successfully!) targeting a very specific heterosexual male demographic! But despite this, the very fact that such a public homosexual image was being shown and accepted across Russian society in the early 2000s speaks volumes about attitudes to LGBTQ in Russian society…

In this gay travel guide to Russia, we discuss the situation in relation to LGBTQ rights, how it has evolved over the past decade, and where it stands today for the gay Russian community. We also write about our first-hand experience exploring the country as a gay couple together with all our safety tips for fellow LGBTQ travelers who plan to visit Russia.

Over the past few years, the Russian government has been monitoring and censoring online use more and more. For your peace of mind, make sure you get a VPN so that you can use all your favourite gay dating apps and surf the web anonymously whilst in Russia.

Russia gay travel: is it safe for LGBTQ travellers?

‚Homosexual Propaganda‘ New Law Increases Risks for Russian Gays

„Russia is a country of traditional values,“ says Sergei Zheleznyak, the deputy speaker of Russia’s parliament, the Duma, and a member of President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. And of this he is quite sure. „More than 90 percent of the population supports the ban on homosexual propaganda among minors,“ he asserts.

The figure he cites is only slightly exaggerated and comes close to the sad reality in present-day Russia. Indeed, animosity toward gays in the country is immense. The federal law against „propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations,“ which was approved on Tuesday in the Duma’s lower house, is the manifestation of a long-rampant culture of homophobia fueled by the state-controlled media.

Under the new law, it is punishable by fine to speak openly about gays and lesbians among young people, which effectively outlaws gay-pride marches, speeches and the like. The law passed 436-0, with only one abstention, according to the Interfax news agency.

As usual, the Moscow police came down hard on gay-rights activists who demonstrated against the controversial law in front of the parliament on Tuesday morning. But this time they were also joined by ultra-Orthodox counter-protesters who clashed fiercely with the demonstrators. Jeering young people threw rotten eggs and kicked a demonstrator who had already fallen to the ground.

According to the Levada Center, a respected Russian opinion research institute, 42 percent of Russians favor either supression or isolation of gays and lesbians. Five percent say they would have nothing against a „liquidation“ of sexual minorities.

The bill does not outlaw same-sex relationships as such, emphasized Duma speaker Zheleznyak. Rather, it’s about protecting children and young adults from influence, Interfax reported him as saying. Minors are not capable of dealing objectively and critically with information „that could be harmful to the psyche and give them a distorted idea of interpersonal relationships,“ Zheleznyak siad.

Critics see the law differently. „We take the protection of minors just as seriously as the government. We condemn any form of sexual interference,“ says Vladimir Voloshin, the editor of Russian gay magazine . „But we don’t dispense propaganda. We don’t go to schools or kindergarten in order to convert young people.“ he says, „That is absurd.“

Voloshin is directly affected by the new legislation. Shortly after a similar provision was entered into law in St. Petersburg, he says he lost a quarter of his readership in the city because local kiosks refused to carry the publication. „No one bought advertising, no one wanted to give us any more credit. We ultimately had to shut down our print edition,“ says Voloshin. Since then, has only appeared online.

„The only ones pushing propaganda are the makers of this new law,“ argues the journalist. Gays and lesbians are discredited as second-class citizens who cause harm to the populace. „When the state takes action against homosexuals,“ Voloshin says, „it means that our civil society is in poor shape.“

Homosexuals in Russia are repeatedly the targets of brutal and even fatal violence. Just this month, the deputy director of an airport on the Pacific peninsula of Kamchatka was killed and his corpse was set on fire, allegedly because he was gay. „It is one of the perverse consequences of the new law that criminals claim to have acted out of aversion to gays, because their lawyers assume that it will be considered as a mitigating factor during sentencing,“ said Voloshin. „The worst part is, it works.“

Young gays and lesbians in Russia are as angry as they are afraid: How will the new legal requirements ultimately be enforced? Is it forbidden to hang a rainbow flag? What will this mean for AIDS prevention or psychological counseling for LGBT adolescents? The bill provides for heavy fines: Violations call for amounts between €100 ($133) and €11,700, an enormous sum that corresponds approximately to an average annual salary.

Vladimir Lukin, Russia’s commissioner of human rights, warned that the ban could lead to „human victims and human tragedy.“ Journalist and activist Yelena Kostychenko assumes that the suicide rate among gay teenagers will continue to rise. Internet sites could now be blocked without a court order. „We will no longer be allowed to report on homosexuality — like in Iran,“ said Kostychenko.

On the Internet, an initiative called „The Children-404,“ organized by journalist Lena Klimova, calls for understanding and tolerance of LGBT youth in Russia — but, above all, it asks for recognition. In a series of photos, young gay Russians face hold posters in front of their faces. „I refuse to be invisible! Love is stronger than hate,“ reads the sign of one pictured participant in Moscow.

As of yesterday, such an action will carry a fine. Like the one St. Petersburg resident Nikolai Alexeyev had to pay in May — the equivalent of €130 because he held up a sign reading: „Homosexuality is not a perversion.“

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On Tuesday, Russia’s parliament, the Duma, passed a controversial law making it a crime to publically discuss „non-traditional sexual relations.“ Here, Moscow police detain a gay-rights activist protesting outside the parliament building on Tuesday.

Members of Russia’s LGBT community assembled in front of the parliament to protest the bill. At least 20 were arrested.

Ultra-Orthodox activists also came to demonstrate in front of the parliament and clashed fiercely with the protesters.

Jeering young people threw rotten eggs and kicked a demonstrator who had already fallen to the ground.

The demonstrator, a gay-rights activist, was injured in the attack.

Under the new law, it is punishable by fine to speak openly about gays and lesbians among young people. Violations call for amounts between €100 ($133) and €11,700, an enormous sum that corresponds approximately to an average annual salary.

Young gays and lesbians in Russia are as angry as they are afraid: How will the new legal requirements ultimately be enforced? Is it forbidden to hang a rainbow flag? What will this mean for AIDS prevention or psychological counseling for LGBT adolescents?

Homosexuals in Russia are repeatedly the targets of brutal and even fatal violence. Just this month, the deputy director of an airport on the Pacific peninsula of Kamchatka was killed and his corpse was set on fire, allegedly because he was gay.

 'Homosexual Propaganda' New Law Increases Risks for Russian Gays

Gay rights in Russia

Let’s not beat about the bush. If you’re openly gay in Russia, you’re going to face major problems, whether you’re a local or a tourist. It’s tough, it’s hard and it pays to stay in the closet for your own safety! More about this below. In terms of LGBTQ rights in Russia, it’s obviously not great, but we’ll start this section with the good news!

In fact, it has been fully legal since 1993 – a whole decade before the USA Supreme Court fully decriminalised homosexuality across the entire country in the Lawrence v. Texas ruling. Other positive LGBTQ rights and laws in Russia that we found include:

Gay rights in Russia

Why Russia has a bad reputation?

Up until the late 2000s Russia had the sort of LGBTQ standing you’d expect from an Eastern European country, namely that the situation for the local gay community was not great, but ripe for positive change. Sadly, over the past decade, this positive change went the opposite direction completely, particularly in June 2013 when the awful anti-gay propaganda law was introduced.

Under the banner of “protecting children from being exposed to homonormativity”, the anti-gay propaganda law outlaws anything that promotes “non-traditional relationships” among minors. However, as it’s so widely drafted, this has effectively re-introduced an anti-gay law in Russia because anything that is seen to promote homosexuality can arguably be said to contravene this law, and therefore lead to arrest, deportation and/or fines. 

Worst of all, this law has led to a surge in LGBTQ hate crime in Russia, along with state-sponsored violence such as the gay concentration camps in Chechnya, which you can find out more about in the 2020 BBC documentary, “Welcome to Chechnya”.

To get an idea of the level of homophobia and outright stupidity prevalent amongst Russian politicians, check out this interview from October 2013 between Stephen Fry and Vitaly Milonov.

Milonov is one of the most prominent politicians in Putin’s “United Russia” party and he was also the principal sponsor of the awful 2013 anti-gay propaganda law:

Is Russia safe for LGBTQ travelers?

The short answer is, yes, it is safe, but… if you’re prepared to stay in the closet throughout your visit, especially in public.

Just before travelling on the in 2014, we were nervous! After all, we all know Russia has a terrible reputation for LGBTQ rights, particularly in light of the awful anti-gay propaganda law passed in 2013. All our friends and family warned us:

“you better be careful in Russia boys, probably best avoid going altogether!”

Top experiences for gay travelers in Russia

There are a lot of pretty impressive bucket list items to check out in Russia. Having studied Russian history at length at school, we both had a huge curiosity to see more of a country that is so greatly vilified by our Western media – think Bond Villains, Russian interference in elections etc etc

Whatever your thoughts are about the government and its politics, remember that there are everyday people living in this country who are just like you and me, around 6% of who are LGBTQ!

This is our lowdown of some of our not-to-miss highlights in Russia:

Gay tours in Russia

If you’d feel more comfortable visiting Russia as part of a group don’t worry, there are some gay tour operators organising gay group tours you can join! You’ll be able to relax and feel perfectly at ease with other gay travellers while you explore the sights of this magnificent country.

Can I use Grindr in Russia?

Grindr is allowed in Russia, but use your common sense for your personal safety at all times. Over the the last 5 years, the Russian government has been tightening control over online activity and has also demanded apps hand over information about its users or face being banned in Russia. It has to date done this to Telegram, LinkedIn and Tinder.

As far as we know Grindr and Hornet are not yet blocked in Russia, but regardless of this, we strongly recommend using a VPN to access your gay dating apps. This will allow you to hide your location and browse the web anonymously.

We used Grindr and Hornet extensively during our trip to Russia and at no stage did we ever encounter any issues, but we were always careful. We found it to be super useful for connecting with the local gay Russian community, particularly when traveling to smaller cities like Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, etc where there is absolutely no gay scene at all.

Beware of Catfishing whilst travelling in Russia as there have been reports of violent homophobic gangs targetting gay guys on the dating apps, so please take care! Always meet the other person in a public area, ask for pictures first, cross-check their name on Google as well as on other social media channels to see if things add up.

Gay pride in Russia

The sad reality is that due to the anti-gay propaganda law, you’d be hard-pressed to find any gay events taking place in Russia.

The local gay Russian communities of Moscow and St Petersburg have tried to organize a and a St Petersburg Pride in the past. Sadly, they always get shut down by the government, risking violence if they do go ahead. In June 2012, the Moscow City Hall even went as far as enacting a 100-year ban on gay pride parades taking place in the city!

We recommend watching this brief video to you an idea of the different attitudes prevalent across different sections of Russian society towards the LGBTQ community and Gay Pride events. It’s interesting and inspiring to see more positive reactions by the younger generation:

Plan your trip to Russia

We’ve put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Russia. Read on to find out everything the gay traveller should know before they go.

How to get there: There are three major airports near Moscow and one by St. Petersburg, so it’s relatively easy to travel to Russia by plane. You can also travel to the country by train from most of the surrounding countries and even as far away as Beijing.

Visa requirements: Nationals of some countries don’t need a visa to visit Russia for certain periods, but if you are coming from the United States, Canada, Australia or the United Kingdom then you will need to apply for a Russian visa well in advance of your travels. Citizens of countries within the EU can get an e-visa but make sure you always check your personal visa requirements before booking anything.

Getting around: Russia is big, so if you’re looking to travel within the country you can fly, although it’s a lot more affordable to use trains. As well as the famous Trans-Siberian Express there are high-speed trains like the Sapsan, which travels between Moscow and St. Petersburg. There are also good metro systems in the main cities, the Moscow and St. Petersburg metros are both renowned for having the most gorgeous metro stations many people have ever seen!

Power Plugs: Russia uses power plug types C and F which are common throughout Europe. If you’re travelling from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia or many other countries then you will need to bring a travel adaptor with you.

Travel insurance: We never travel without making sure we have travel insurance to cover us in case of emergency. Anything from cancelled flights to illness can derail your plans, so it’s good to know you’re protected when visiting Russia. We recommend World Nomads Travel Insurance as we’ve been using them for years and know they will look after us. Their cover is comprehensive and affordable, plus it’s easy to make a claim online if you need to.

Vaccinations: All travellers to Russia should be up to date with routine vaccinations for things like measles and chickenpox. Most travellers are advised to also be vaccinated against hepatitis A. Depending on where in the country you’re planning to visit and what you may be doing you might also need vaccinations against hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis or rabies. Make sure you check the CDC website and speak with your doctor before your trip.

Currency: The currency used in Russia is called the Russian ruble. The code for it is RUB and the symbol is ₽. Generally, US$1 will convert to around ₽73.97, €1 is worth about ₽80.47 and £1 will give you around ₽91.97.

Tipping culture: Tipping in Russia is a relatively new custom brought in by western visitors so it’s not usually expected but probably appreciated, especially in the big cities. Generally, about 10% of a restaurant bill (only if the service is good), rounding up the change for taxi drivers or bartenders is enough. You can read more about tipping in Russia here.

Internet access: Free WiFi is available in many public places in Russia, including airports, the metro, big chain restaurants and even some parks. If you don’t want to be hunting for WiFi then you could bring a portable WiFi device with you or to use in your phone.

Online privacy: While gay dating apps aren’t blocked in Russia at the moment, the government is exerting more control over online activities. We recommend getting a reliable VPN such as Express VPN while you’re in Russia so that you can use the internet with complete anonymity and protect your privacy.

Accommodation: We always use to find accommodation in Russia as they have so many excellent choices! It’s easy to book online and many listings offer free cancellation as well. They also have online customer support available 24/7 to help you out if needed.

Sightseeing and adventure: For more fun activities and excursions in Russia make sure you check out . They have an easy to use booking system and excellent 24/7 online customer support – so you’re bound to find something you’ll love!

When to visit: You can visit Russia at any time of year, basically just choose if you’d rather experience hot, warm or cold weather and plan your trip accordingly. It can be quite magical to see Russia in the snow during winter and the cities can get quite hot in the middle of summer. June is particularly good for visiting St. Petersburg, as there are many events held during the continuous daylight hours!

Safety tips

Russia is a safe country in general but be cautious about being out of the closet or engaging in PDAs unless you’re in a safe queer space. Most of the time you’ll need to “go back into the closet” while travelling in Russia, and if travelling as a couple, perhaps allow people to assume you’re just friends or brothers. Also, ensure you do your due diligence if meeting up with someone online as some groups target gay guys (see the section on catfishing earlier).

Conclusion

We conclude this article with this interview with Putin by the BBC ahead of the Sochi Olympics in 2014 in which he tries to defend the anti-gay propaganda law whilst insisting that Russia is not prejudiced against homosexuals. Obviously we don’t agree with this man nor his ridiculous homophobic anti-gay “propaganda” law! But we were nonetheless fascinated to watch him trying to prove that Russia is not that anti-gay. For example, he argues homosexuality is not a crime in Russia as it is in many other countries in the world, and makes positive references to Elton John.

Watch the video on the right hand side and see for yourself. The point we are trying to make is that quite clearly, the situation for LGBTQ is bad in Russia, and as an LGBTQ traveller, you do need to be careful, particularly with public displays of affection.

However, it’s not as bad as you may have thought, especially when you realise there is quite a thriving gay scene in Moscow and St Petersburg, along with a large LGBTQ community living their daily lives across the country.

For more insight into gay Russia: watch  of LGBTQ football fan Joe White as he wondered whether it would be safe to go to Russia for 2018 World Cup. Stefan gave his input to him as part of the documentary. You can only watch this BBC documentary if you’re in the UK, otherwise you can watch this shortened YouTube version.

Gay sex as a ‘crime’ in Russia

Lesbian sex has never been a crime in any part of Russia or the Soviet Union. Sex between men, on the other hand, has faced more persecution.

Under the Orthodox Church in the 15th and 16th centuries, sex between men was considered a sin. But even then, believers could use confession and were rarely disciplined.

There was no state law against sodomy until 1716, when Peter the Great decided to westernize the empire. He included a clause against ‘men lying with men’ in his Military Articles, so it only applied to the army and navy. Consensual gay sex led to flogging, while male rape could bring death or life in prison.

In 1832, a sodomy law was enacted punishing civilians with ‘birching’ or deportation to Siberia for four to five years to work in the internment camps.

This was still less strict than many western neighbors. In comparison, England hanged 55 men for gay sex between 1805 and 1835.

After a reform of the penal code in 1903, this was drastically reduced to three months imprisonment. Prosecutions became rare, and a gay subculture developed.

Exceptions made for ‘gay heroes’

During this time, the country’s greatest composer Tchaikovsky was under threat to be jailed for the ‘crime’ of being gay. But because of his cache, it was unthinkable to arrest the cultural hero. After his death, acknowledgment of his homosexuality was suppressed.

Nadezhda Drova, a person assigned female at birth, cross-dressed to fight against the Napoleonic invasion in 1807. When they were found out, the generals gave their blessing to allow them to serve in the army. It was seen as a victory for ‘patriotic duty’.

The first gay novel with a happy ending written in any European language came out in 1906, called Wings.

‘People generally thought within the educated middle class, as it was in Russia, homosexuality was not a big thing. It was tolerable,’ Dan Healey, a professor in modern Russian history at the University of Oxford, told Gay Star News.

‘When you move into the revolution, the socialists that came to power had inherited ideas from European socialism – among those were removing the laws against homosexuality.’

Progressive laws

In 1917, all laws against sodomy were abolished as well as with the rest of the Tsarist penal code.

Intersex people, unusually in the 1920s and 30s, were possibly treated as humanely as they could be in any country in the world. Doctors would trust the intersex patient to make their own medical judgment and help them realize the identified gender.

‘Soviets were progressive about this…and quite relaxed about the sexuality side of it,’ Healey added, ‘Western Europe was anti-surgical adjustments for intersex people.’

It wasn’t as free in Moscow and St Petersburg, as, say, Weimar Berlin during the 20s.

Healey said: ‘Moscow didn’t have the same exuberance. There’s less private enterprise and the regime is ambivalent about sexual minorities.

‘It doesn’t want the law against sodomy, but it doesn’t embrace sexual emancipation either. Gay people understand they have to keep their heads down.’

Queer women, and the idea of two women marrying, flourished

Queer women could fly beneath the radar including legendary poets like Sophia Parnok.

Many of her female lovers were masculine presenting. But, actually, this was an accepted way for a woman to dress in the 20s and 30s.

‘If you were an emancipated Soviet women you dressed more like a man. There was a way of conforming to the expectations of the revolutionary sect by dressing like a butch lesbian. They had that advantage,’ Healey said.

Parnok’s poetry was not political. At the beginning of the 30s, big publishers were shut down and you could only get printed if you went through the state. This meant much closer censorship.

A meeting in September 1929 was held among public health officials, psychiatrists and doctors to discuss homosexuality.

‘They wrote to propose that a woman who dressed masculine or similar to a man should be able to marry their female partner,’ Healey said.

‘They were, in a sense, proposing a form of same-sex marriage. It shows the kind of imagination that the Revolution had stimulated.’

Stalin brings back homophobia

But the onslaught of homophobia was coming with the rise of dictator Joseph Stalin.

Healey noted: ‘In 1933, there was a conversation among the top of the Soviet regime, led by Stalin, who was consolidating his power as a dictator. There’s a crisis in the cities, as there isn’t enough houses or food and they’re trying to sort out who belongs in each city and who doesn’t.

‘Soviet leaders claimed there were wads of gay men who appeared to be conspiring in groups together, and they recommended a law against sodomy so they could put these people in prison.

‘Stalin enthusiastically agrees. They begin the crackdown on minority groups in an attempt to control the chaos they had created with their economic policies.’

Harry Whyte, a communist party member and journalist originally from Scotland, had formed a relationship in Moscow with a man who was arrested by the police during the first wave of arrests in the winter of 1933. He wrote to Stalin and complained about the new law.

‘His letter is 4000 words long and is a discussion how Stalin is wrong in Marxist terms and arguing how gay people deserve protection in a socialist system. It’s a learned and passionate argument,’ the professor added.

‘Stalin didn’t respond directly. He did, however, write on top of the letter “An idiot and a degenerate”.’

The dictator had Whyte removed from the Soviet Union. The journalist returned to Scotland and campaigned there on leftist causes.

Misery in the Gulag

Thousands of LGBTI people during this time were sent to the Gulag, the Siberian internment labor camps where most froze or starved to death.

The queer men and women were very visible there. Survivors wrote how women often toughened up and became ‘butch’ as a way to survive. Effeminate men would play the ‘partner’ to a tougher and more masculine man.

Vadim Kozim was a Soviet pop star who made 17 hit records in the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was a romantic tenor singer in a very political musical landscape.

One of his queer hits involved lyrics about the ‘importance of male friendship’. Marc Almond, of Soft Cell, did a cover version in 2009. Kozim was arrested and sent to the Gulag.

After Stalin had died, Kozim attempted to restart his career.

‘He could do some tours but was rearrested on homosexual offenses in 1969,’ Healey said.

‘He lived until about 1994 in a remote town he was exiled to by the Gulag.’

Sergei Parajanov, the bisexual film director, irritated leaders because of his extravagant and camp art films. One, The Color of Pomegranates, is still famous.

The director was arrested twice on homosexual offenses in the 70s.

The 80s, 90s and modern Russia

Like around the world, the LGBTI movement exploded in Russia in the 1980s. With the wake of democratic reform, Russians were making their voices heard.

Gay and lesbian newspapers were produced, especially in the 1990s, including in some tiny far away places in Siberia. At the time, it felt like Russia would be like many other countries and give more rights and recognition to the LGBTI community.

And they did, to a point. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993.

But then the Putin era stifled progress. Queer newspapers disappeared and homophobia got stronger. Censorship grew, ultimately leading to the enactment of the ‘gay propaganda’ ban in 2013.

LGBTI people have long been a part of Russian history and form an integral part of Russian culture.

‘Tchaikovsky was gay. Sophia Parnok was gay or bisexual. There are lots of examples from culture, literature and other parts of history,’ Healey said.

‘It’s why the Russian internet regulator has made LGBTI groups take lists of famous historical LGBTI icons off their websites, because it shows to young people who read them it’s possible to live a gay and successful life as a Russian.’

‘Russia will never suppress homosexuality and gender variance. These things will always emerge one way or another.’

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1. The gay scene of Moscow

Stefan first went to Russia in 2007 before he met Seb and partied at Central Station MSK, which is still today, the biggest gay club in Moscow. Over a decade later, Central Station is still going strong in defiance of the anti-gay law in place. This place is huge, 5 stories high, and a really fun night out on weekends. The doormen outside are very curt and stern, but all part of the notorious Soviet-style “face control” to avoid any homophobic violence inside. After a night out at Central Station, we headed to BoyZ Club for the after-party.

Other big and super popular gay clubs in Moscow to check out include , Three Monkeys and . There are also cruising parties like Hunters, which is the biggest and the best, and also Imperia.

Popular gay bars in Moscow include (НАШЕ Кафе) and XL Spa and .

2. The gay scene of St Petersburg

a lot. It’s like an outdoor museum, full of architectural gems like The Winter Palace, the Spilled Church, and the Mikhalmikhailovsky Castle. It’s the most European-like city in Russia, and definitely one of the more liberal-minded places in Russia.

The gay scene of St Petersburg is smaller than Moscow, but still buzzing with lifeBlue Oyster/Priscilla, which is a gay bar by day and club at night. It is named after the fictional gay bar in the Police Academy movies. Blue Oyster/Priscilla has several bars spread over 4 floors, which includes a karaoke room, dance area, lounge and a dark labyrinth.

Central Station Spb is the other popular gay bar/club in St Petersburg. It’s also quite large, with 2 large bar areas, dance floor, VIP area and darkroom. Other gay clubs and bars in St Petersburg include Cabaret, as well as a cruising bar called .

1. Deluxe Imperial Russia with Out of Office

Out of Office organises a gay group trip to Russia which explores Moscow, St. Petersburg and Pushkin. You’ll definitely feel like the long-lost Romanov princess as you prance among stunning gardens and explore opulent palaces. This tour includes guided excursions to all the most famous sites, like the Red Square, Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral in Moscow. After transferring via the high-speed Sapsan train to St. Petersburg you’ll then get to explore the Hermitage within the winter palace – one of our highlights! A day trip to the “Tsar’s Village” is also pretty incredible with multiple palaces to explore.

Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor, and author of the gay travel blog As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about traveling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends, and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gaycation Magazine, Gaycities, Gay Times, Pink News, and Attitude Magazine. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay-specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practiced as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more .

Hi Guys,A really useful blog thank you, me and the BF are going to Helsinki next summer (We should be there now!) and considering taking the train to St. Petersburg, would you recommend a particular gay-friendly place/area to stay? Thanks JP

Great to hear – definitely one of the chain hotels like Marriott or Hyatt.

im so in love with Russian culture and I feel a connection to this countrymy only concern is the part where you say: we should go back in the closet to be safeim not one to make out in public anyways, but I am pretty feminine in my dress, no heals and stuff, I just love colors and great fabrics, for me there is no real way to hide my homosexuality, should I wear a disguise ? when I work in suit and tie nobody things im gay, so its really my fashion sense, and when I go to Arab countries for example they are very welcoming of that, but the violence there seems real, even some of my Russian friends have warned me not go, and if I have to be „straight acting“ I feel like I would be selling my soul to the devil, it kind of sounds like war, having to hide your true identity……

A war having to hide your true identity – pretty much sums it up!

Based upon what we recently saw in the film, Welcome to Chechnya, our personal take on LGBTQ travel in Russia is that, although my husband & I have wanted to go there, we would no longer consider doing so. There are plenty of instances of people being identified, or at least perceived as LGBTQ on the street & treated badly. Further, it is also quite possible to meet homophobic people or undercover police on social apps or in bars & then get arrested or also beaten up once a hook up occurs. The homophobic group members belief is that LGBTQ people are subhuman & should be done away with. We are men of a certain age who look very similar so we are not generally identified by creeps as Gay. Most people who see us ask if we are brothers or even twins. That means that we are generally under the radar of homophobes. That said, however, the violence & arrests that have become more common in Russia is not worth taking that risk.

Totally agree about not venturing into Chechnya. But this article relates to Russia.

We felt the same before going but the worst we ever got was people asking if we’re brothers/twins. We aren’t swingers so never tried hooking up with gay locals so cannot comment on that. The other thing we’d say is to remember there is a large LGBTQ community (and gay scene) thriving in Moscow.

Great article!Just a quick FYI, Australia only just recently changed our laws regarding Gay men donating are now 3 months, bout bloody time too! LolThanks Sydney Gay

Thanks for confirming! We’ve updated the article 🙂

Hello, Bonjour and Welcome to our travel blog. We are Stefan and Sebastien a French/Greek gay couple from London. Together, we have been travelling the world for over 10 years. Nomadic Boys is our gay travel blog showcasing all our travel adventures as a gay couple.

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How to Stay Safe Whilst Traveling?

As gay travelers, safety is our #1 priority! This is why we’ve put together our Ultimate Travel Safety Checklist for LGBTQ travelers. Sign up to our newsletter and get free access to it. No spam. Never. Not ever. Just fun and interesting blog posts delivered straight to your inbox.

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With hindsight, we are so glad we ignored this advice! We travelled through Russia for 2 months and survived unscathed! However, we did feel like we went back in the closet, especially in public, where we pretended to be “mates” rather than a couple in love. We found that if you respect the fact that Russian society is very conservative and prefers low key behaviour from people, then you’ll be absolutely fine.

We also strongly believe that going there, supporting gay friendly businesses, meeting and making friends with the local LGBTQ community would be far more productive than boycotting them altogether.

At the end of the day, whether you choose to travel to Russia, is a personal choice for you. We are not saying you shouldn’t visit. Russia is a beautiful country, rich in culture and history that it would be a shame to skip. It also has a thriving LGBTQ community living their day-to-day lives, particularly in Moscow, which has quite a large gay scene. As long as you have common sense, have your wits about you at all times and avoid any LGBTQ activism, you’ll be fine!

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England endorses flying rainbow flag at its first World Cup match

Russia used to be one of the best places in the world to be gay.

Once slammed as the ‘land of sodomy’ by its western European neighbors, there have been many years in its tumultuous history when many LGBTI people could live freely.

In the 1920s, Russia even became the first country in the world to consider same-sex marriage.

So how did Russia become the largely homophobic nation we know today?