‘Gays for Putin’ will hold a rally in St Petersburg to support the Russian president during his reelection campaign.
Vladimir Putin, the anti-gay Russian President is up for reelection on 17 March. Putin introduced the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law that prosecutes people supporting LGBTI issues.
Organizers filed a request to hold the rally on Saturday 3 March and they expect about 600 people to attend.
The tongue-in-cheek event argues that even though there are millions of gay people in Russia, not enough of them are politically active. According to organizers, that means their lack of action makes them supporters of Putin.
The rally announcement came just days after a TV advertisement warning voters Russia would turn into a gay Utopia if they didn’t vote in the elections.
‘Often, activists are accused that they are cut off from the people,’ said rally organizers, Vyacheslav Vereshchagin and Alexei Nazarov.
‘In Russia, there are millions of gays, and almost none of them go to protest actions. Hence, gays in Russia support President Putin’s course toward LGBT people.
‘We decided to express this stance of the gay community, by openly supporting the presidential candidate Vladimir Putin.’
One of the group’s objectives is to praise Putin for ‘signing laws that strengthen the moral foundations of Russian society’ and for ‘awarding distinguished gays in Russia with orders and medals’.
After the rally the group wants to attend a church service at the nearby Smolny Cathedral. At the service the will ‘pray for the success of the good endeavor’.
Organizers called for attendees to bring Russian and rainbow flags to the rally. They also want posters and banners with the inscriptions ‘Gays for Putin!’ and ‘Putin is our president!’. Organizers called for people to bring along framed portraits of Putin.
Counter-productive or nah?
The rally announcement on social media attracted lots of responses.
Many questioned whether the rally was counter-productive to achieving LGBTI rights.
Mikhail Tumasov, the head of the Russian LGBT Network said he was not sure if the rally was the best way to boost hearts and minds.
‘It is a joke made by some gay activists and I am not sure that it is funny at all, but everyone has right to do what he wants to,’ Tumasov told Gay Star News.