Russia’s First Anti-Homophobia Campaign Fights For LGBTQIA+ Rights

Nikita Orlov and Maxim Avdeev (WE WILL BECOME BETTER)

On the one year anniversary of President Vladimir Putin’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages in Russia, the We Will Become Better campaign has launched in defiance of anti-LGBTQIA+ government policy. The campaign involves raising awareness and promoting LGBTQIA+ rights in Russia with a beautiful video involving choreography with two men directed by Andzej Gavriss.

The video depicts Nikita Orlov and Maxim Avdeev performing choreography to music by Sansara. The video makes it clear that the two are in love, with Orlov fearing coming out being persecuted for it. The songs crescendo sees the men come together but ends with them apart, caging their feelings metaphorically.

“These are two people that love each other and want to be together, but forbid themselves because of societal judgment, because of certain walls that are created around that relationship, and so unfortunately it cannot happen,” explains writer Evgeny Primachenko.

The We Will Become Better campaign is the first of its kind in Russia and faces major potential scrutiny; with 77% of the Russian population supporting Putin’s 2020 law, homophobia is not uncommon within the country.

The video itself risks being subject to the gay propaganda laws of 2013 which bans distribution of LGBTQIA+ depictions in media.

This video campaign critiques the homophobic legislation and sentiment in Russia, but also has relevance in countries such as Hungary which recently banned same-sex marriage.

Alla Chikinda, from the Yekaterinburg Resource Center for LGBT people says, “In today’s Russia, the majority of LBGT+ people cannot speak about their life without the fear of being judged. They live together with their partners but can open up about it only to a small circle of friends.”

“Again, let’s not forget that the news headlines are full of information on how two men got attacked on the street, got insulted in a public space or were banned from visiting a café. That’s why we still have to talk about how hard it is for LGBT+ people to be together,” says Chikinda.

The end of the video includes a link to LGBTNET.ORG, a resource which advocates for respect and tolerance towards the gay community in Russia.

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