We all remember All The Things She Said, the 2002 single from the Russian faux-lesbian duo, which featured a lot of girl-on-girl snogging in the rain, right? There’s also been speculation that they are performing at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Wait, what?
2. Michael Lucas (née Andrei Lvovich Treivas)
Oh, only one of the biggest gay porn stars in the world. Lucas was born in Moscow and has starred in the most expensive gay porn film ever made. He is now an LGBT rights activist and writes for The Advocate and Pink News.
3. Russian paratroopers’ uniforms, which look like this:
Russian paratroopers have a reputation for being the ultimate in masculinity, but their uniforms literally consists of a Breton striped tank top and a beret. Hello?
4. Sergey Zverev
Sergey Zverev is a very famous stylist and hairdresser who has recently branched out into pop stardom. Hounded by the paparazzi, Zverev divides opinion in Russia but is one of its foremost celebrities, on the cover of most gossip magazines. Literally makes no sense.
5. Same-sex saunas
Spending time in a same-sex banya (sauna) is one of the most widespread, everyday activities in Russia. Sweaty naked dudes whipping each other, women rubbing coffee onto each other’s naked bodies (it’s to boost circulation). Not in the least bit homoerotic, amirite?
6. Philipp Kirkorov
Philipp Kirkorov is a massive popstar in Russia. The video for his song Snow consists of him staring lovingly into a hot Brazilian male model’s eyes and singing “Why is snow so cruel, leaving the traces from you?”
7. Vladimir Putin’s bromance with Patriarch Kirill, leader of the Russian Orthodox Church
8. Oh, and the time Putin flew the ABBA tribute band Bjorn Again out to perform just for him
Which apparently happened in 2009.
This is Zemfira, a musician who is massive in Russia, having sold over 3 million records. It is generally thought that Zemfira is gay and she was rumoured to be having an affair with the Russian actress Renata Litvinova.
11. Central Station club
Central Station is Russia’s biggest gay club in both Moscow and St. Petersburg. In November, Central Station was hit by a tear-gas attack, and it has previously been the scene of a shooting which left bullet holes in the door. The landlord of the premises has tried to push the club owner out by switching off electricity and water.
12. Dima Bilan
Dima Bilan is another mega popular popstar. That’s him, above. He also won the Eurovision Song Contest, which isn’t at all gay. In 2012, Bilan signed an open letter protesting against Russia’s impending anti-gay laws, along with other Russian celebrities. While Bilan isn’t gay, or has never said he is, there’s been widespread speculation about his sexuality. But what really matters here is that he looks good in a towel, and that Russia’s biggest-selling artist is this camp.
13. Rudolf Nureyev
One of the most talented - and hottest - people to come out of Russia, Rudolf Nureyev was a superb ballet dancer who defected in 1961 to America despite the KGB trying to stop him. He was openly gay.
14. This is Erik Bruhn, Nureyev’s boyfriend.
The two dated for over 25 years until Bruhn’s death.
16. Slava Mogutin
Slava (the above is a work of his) is a Russian photographer and writer whose work explores gay life. In 1995 he left Russia after being beaten up in Gorky Park in Moscow and being charged with “open and deliberate contempt for generally accepted moral norms”. He also tried to register the first same-sex marriage in Russia. He was granted political asylum by America and now lives there. Check out his work here.
17. Sergey Penkin
Sergey Penkin is a much loved entertainer with a fondness for garish eye-shadow, lipgloss and feather boas. Nothing gay here.
18. Which reminds me of Boris Mosieev
The openly gay, wildly popular, surgically-enhanced entertainer. The video for his song Tattoo features gay naked dudes pouring water over each other, and the video for I Cannot Lose You, also features gay naked dudes, this time taking their pants off. This is a very popular Russian recording artist. He tweets about hot Abercrombie & Fitch guys.
19. Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot have repeatedly spoken out in favour of LGBT rights, and member Nadezhda Tolokonnikova was involved in this kissing protest for activist group, Voina. They spoke in support of gay rights in this interview on The Colbert Report.
20. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
One of the best composers the world has ever known was most definitely homosexual. His love letters to his servant Aleksey Sofronov and Vladimir Davydov are available to read online. Putin has admitted that Tchaikovsky was gay, but that Russians loved him “despite” this. However, the Russian culture minister, Vladimir Medinsky, just flat out denied Tchaikovksy’s sexuality.
21. That kiss on the podium
Even if athletes Kseniya Ryzhova and Yulia Gushchina issued angry denials that their kiss had been any kind of protest, it was still pretty hilarious to see two women having a cheeky smooch in front of the world’s press right after Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws had passed.
22. Agens Magazine
Agens was Russia’s first (and only) lesbian magazine, which came out in March 2013. However, it has since folded. Editor Milena Chernyavskaya described it as a magazine “about women, for women”. It still exists on Instagram and Tumblr.
23. Alexander Kargaltsev
The gay Russian artist moved to America to escape the state’s homophobia and has worked on a book entitled Asylum about other Russians’ decisions to move abroad to escape persecution for their sexuality. He works in photo and video. Find him on Twitter. (The above is his work, not him).
24. Alla Nazimova
A famous theatre and film actress who moved to the US and is thought to have inspired Lady Gaga, Nazimova was well known to have had relationships with women, even at the height of her Hollywood powers. Apparently she had a code for her girlfriends; they were in her “sewing circle”. She lived with her partner Glesca Marshall from 1929 to 1945.