A bizarre video encouraging people to vote in upcoming Russian elections ends with two men getting naked together.
Released in the Samara region ahead of the 9 September by-elections across the country, the video shows the two men discussing the upcoming elections.
They are shown sitting on a park bench, riding a bus, standing next to each other at a urinal and eventually walking into an apartment building.
Once they enter the apartment, they head to the bedroom where they start taking off their clothes. One of the men then lies face down on the bed in his underwear. The other man slams the door shut leaving the viewer to assume they’re about to have sex.
The video’s creators are unknown but it has gone viral on social media networks in Russia. Some social media users speculated the local government made the video.
People also slammed it for implying that people who don’t vote in elections are gay and therefore ‘bad’.
‘The message in this video, that if you do not go to the polls, then you are gay. How childish is that?’ wrote one social media user.
Not the first anti-gay propaganda election
Russia has a recent history of using anti-gay propaganda to encourage people to vote.
For the March federal elections, a TV ad warned Russians that if they didn’t vote the country would turn into a gay Utopia.
The Russian LGBT Network’s chair, Mikhail Tumasov, said the latest video was part of a new worrying trend.
‘I regard this video as a new wave of using LGBTIQ people as some kind of antisocial irresponsible people, which once again shows the need to repeal the law of 2013, a similar practice at this level is the result of incendiary hatred of people under the “plausible” context,’ he told Gay Star News.
In 2013, Russian Vladimir Putin introduced the ‘gay propaganda law’. The law bans people from publicly displaying any affiliation with the LGBTI community. People have been charged under the law for flying rainbow flags or holding LGBTI rallies.
But some people, including 16-year-old Maxim Neverov, have been charged for sharing ‘gay propaganda’ on social media.
Authorities fined Neverov 50,000 rubles (US$773) on 7 August for publishing photos on social network site Vkontakte. A court found the teenager guilty of ‘propaganda of homosexuality among minors’ after posting photos of boys on Vkontakte.