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Ralph Fiennes condemns Chechnya’s ‘disgusting’ anti-gay purge

Ralph Fiennes condemns Chechnya’s ‘disgusting’ anti-gay purge

Ralph Fiennes on the set of The White Crow

Ralph Fiennes has spoken out about the anti-gay purge taking place in Chechnya.

The award-winning actor and director is currently promoting his new movie, The White Crow, released this week in the UK.

The movie looks at the early life of dancer Rudolf Nureyev and his defection from the Soviet Union in 1961.

The film explores Nureyev’s desire for freedom and the oppressive Soviet regime under which he lived.

‘Very disturbing’

In an exclusive chat with Gay Star News, Fiennes, 56, called the news from Chechnya ‘disturbing.’

‘It’s very disturbing. In many countries there is a deep, deep conservatism regarding people’s sexuality. I think it’s important that the world and the news brings these very disturbing situations to light.

‘There are these countries, whether it’s Russia, Chechnya, or even some Arab countries where there’s a lot of work to be done. I think is that these countries are steeped in a sort of conservative thinking, and of course these disgusting things are being pursued.’

Ralph Fiennes (left) as dance instructor Puskin in The White Crow
Ralph Fiennes (left) as dance instructor Pushkin in The White Crow (Photo: STUDIOCANAL)

He suggested it can be hard for those in more liberal countries to understand how deeply conservative attitudes run in some cultures.

‘When we sit in an enlightened and liberal society like this, it’s often hard for us to understand how deeply these conservative and homophobic principles will go. And I think that makes it very difficult.

‘But I think countries are sensitive to how they’re being portrayed and written up, but I think it’s a big fight. It’s a big challenge ahead of us.’

Gay Star News is currently running a fundraising campaign to help the Russian LGBT Network help LGBTI people in Chechnya to escape the region.

The White Crow and Rudolf Nureyev

The White Crow stars Ukranian dancer Oleg Ivenko in the role of Nureyev. It’s his first major acting role. Besides directing the movie, Fiennes also plays the part of one of Nureyev’s dance instructor’s, Alexander Ivanovich Pushkin.

Award-winning writer David Hare (The Hours) wrote the screenplay.

Nureyev was known to have had sexual relations with both men and women when younger. The movie shows him having affairs with both Pushkin’s wife and a fellow young male dancer, prior to his defection to the west.

‘This is someone who’s learning about who he is sexually,’ says its director.

Fiennes hopes the movie will be released in both Russia and the Ukraine after it hits UK screens this week.

See also

Russia ignoring Chechnya torture and murder, say European investigators

Chechnya’s gay purge: A timeline of the atrocities