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Sunday, June 03, 2007

Sex in the Neo-Soviet City

Moscow Does not Believe in Tears tips La Russophobe to the following item from the features section of the Moscow Times:

Following last weekend's violent attacks on gay rights protesters, Moscow's largest club, B1 Maximum, will host a pop and rock event called "March of the Sexual Majority" on Wednesday. Its poster has the slogan "For the sake of life on Earth!" and shows a cartoon image of a man and woman holding hands, with a white circle marking the woman's womb.

The event is organized by Alexei Kortnev, lead singer of the veteran rock band Neschastny Sluchai, which headlines the event, along with actors Mikhail Shirvindt and Igor Zolotovitsky. Among the other participants are Channel One presenter Valdis Pelsh, who is a former member of Neschastny Sluchai, the bands Khoronko Orchestra and Bi-2, and singer Irina Bogushevskaya.

Speaking by telephone on Wednesday, Kortnev said that the timing of the event just over a week after the gay rights protest in central Moscow was a "very sad coincidence" since the concert had been planned four months ago. "We are categorically against the violent putting down of the protest," he said, calling it a "disgraceful punch-up."

"I'm not against those people, we're not against those people," Kortnev said. "We are against the active popularization of homosexual values among young people." Such popularization was growing very quickly, he said. "Primarily it's on the stage and in pop music."

He complained of "an erosion of the difference between men and girls" and "an assiduous denial of our sexual nature."

The event will include games related to the topic, such as a contest in which audience members demonstrate their knowledge of how to use a condom correctly. The contest will be called "Stretch out the Pleasure," Kortnev said, consulting television presenter Pelsh at the other end of the line.

To show that the organizers do not support the official reaction to the gay parade, plans for the concert include a sketch in which gay protesters beat up OMON riot police, Kortnev said.

The event did not receive state funding, Kortnev said, although he added that its aims fit well with President Vladimir Putin's initiative to increase the birthrate. Tickets cost from 600 rubles ($23) to 4,000 rubles. The Russian Orthodox Church is not involved, he said, pointing out that "half the musicians taking part are atheists."

The event's poster had to be changed after a complaint from the Moscow city advertising committee, Kortnev said. It originally showed drawings of a man and a woman with a hint at sexual organs. "They asked us to put on pants, so we did," the singer said laughing.

The idea of holding concerts to promote heterosexuality first came up about 10 years ago, Kortnev said, but it was only recently that the musicians revived it. They have lined up similar concerts in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk. If the B1 Maximum concert goes well, the musicians plan to hold another event at the Malaya Sportivnaya Arena at Luzhniki stadium.

The venue that now holds B1 Maximum was the scene of a protest by Russian Orthodox activists in April 2006. The club, then known as La Guardia, was holding a gay night when protestors blocked the entrance shouting anti-gay slogans and holding icons.

Kortnev said he did not expect gay rights activists to picket the March of the Sexual Majority. "I don't think that there is anything here that they could protest against."

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