Staunton, May 29 – Now that an avowed homosexual is running for Moscow mayor and the issue of Russia’s handling of LGBTs is again attracting more attention in the run-up to the World Cup, a Russian news portal has named the “top five homosexuals in Russian politics” according to accounts by others.
Given public and official hostility to gays and lesbians in Russia, a hostility enshrined in the anti-gay propaganda law adopted four years ago, few Russians in political life are willing to declare their sexual identities in public; and consequently, those about whom there are rumors are now subject to the kind of “outing” that was typical earlier in Western societies.
None of the five acknowledges he is a homosexual. Indeed, most have heterosexual families and have denied stories suggesting otherwise, but as Russky monitor notes there have been reports in some cases for many years that these five top officials are in fact gay (rusmonitor.com/top-5-gomoseksualov-v-rossijjskojj-politike.html).
The five are:
1. German Gref, head of Sberbank and former minister for economic development and trade. Despite having a family, he has been identified by the leader of the GayRussia.ru site as a homosexual and rumors continue to swirl that he was heavily involved with a young male assistant at the bank.
2. Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the Duma. Reports that he prefers men to women have been “circulating on line for more than a year. Stanislav Belkovsky, a Russian political analyst, has declared that Volodin is gay, one of quite a large number of such people in the Russian political elite, Belkovsky adds.
3. Vladimir Zhirinovsky, head of the LDPR and long an outrageous figure in Russian politics. Duma deputies say he is gay and one suggests that his party consists of two sorts of people – “’his lovers and his sponsors’” – especially as the LDPR is notorious for having few female members and as Zhirinovsky himself supports the idea of gay parades.
4. Mikhail Prokhorov, an oligarch who founded the Civic Platform Party. Rumors that Prokhorov is gay began to circulate when he hired as the chief advisor during his 2012 presidential run someone who is openly gay.
5. Vitaly Milonov, a former member of the St. Petersburg legislative assembly known for his various scandalous proposals, including he laws against homosexual propaganda. But many commentators have suggested that he has adopted an anti-gay public persona because he is in fact gay himself.
Such accusations aren’t conclusive, of course. Indeed, given the rampant homophobia in Russia, these charges may have been advanced by the political opponents of these individuals. But it is instructive that such a list is being produced now, an indirect reflection of how much of a problem this issue is for the Kremlin.
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