Two guitarists guitarists for the German heavy metal band Rammsteinm, Richard Z. Krupse and Paul Landers, shared a kiss on stage during their July 29th show at the Luzniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia. This act, which has been a staple for many of their recent European shows, taking place during the performance of “Ausländer,” is notorious due the many anti-LGBT stances that the current Russian government has undertaken for the past few years.
A photo of the kiss was also uploaded on the band’s Instagram, with a caption in Cyrillic stating “Russia we love you.” While this is not the first controversial performance undertaken by the band (band members were jailed in Worcester, MA back in 1999 after using a liquid-ejaculating dildo onstage), it is one of their most political given the anti-LGBT climate that has fostered in some parts of the country.
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In 2013, the Russian federal government passed the law “for the Purpose of Protecting Children from Information Advocating for a Denial of Traditional Family Values,” better known as the “gay propaganda law.” While the the law allegedly tries to prevent the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors, it has been condemned by numerous organizations including: the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe (of which Russia is a member), the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
This law has also been strongly backed by Russia’s ultra-nationalist fringes of the government and its supporters, many of which have engaged in anti-LGBT violence after the passing of this law passing. Groups such as the controversial “Occupy Pedophilia,” which has been accused of deliberately blurring the lines between pedophilia and homosexuality, so they appear the same, have been engaged in numerous attacks against the LGBT population in Russia.
“We filmed these groups with their knowledge, and what I found shocking afterwards was that only a few asked to have their faces disguised. They all believe they are doing the right thing,” said Liz MacKean, the investigative journalist who traveled to Russia to make a film documenting this violence for BBC’s Channel 4.