Russia’s culture minster has denied that world-renowned composer Peter Tchaikovsky was gay, saying that there is “no evidence” to suggest that he was.
Despite Tchaikovsky’s homosexuality long being regarded as historical fact, Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has said that nothing about Tchaikovsky suggests he was anything other than a lonely old man who failed to marry.
The Guardian reports that Mr Medinsky was asked about the composer of Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty after it emerged that a film about his life, funded by the Russian government, would not contain any mention of his sexuality. References that could have made the film vulnerable to Russia’s new anti-’gay propaganda’ laws were apparently removed from the original script.
The film’s screenwriter, Yuri Arabov, had already denied that Tchaikovsky was gay, telling the newspaper Izvestiya that the composer was “a person without a family who was stuck with the opinion that he supposedly loves men”.
Mr Medinsky told the Interfax news agency: “Mr Arabov is actually right – there is no evidence to suggest that Tchaikovsky was a homosexual.”
Historians on the other hand say that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence suggesting the Tchaikovsky was gay.
Author Konstantin Rotikov, who has written a gay history of St Petersburg, said: “In the case of Tchaikovsky his homosexuality is so well documented by his own writings and the writings of others that it is simply ludicrous to suggest otherwise.
“It’s a historical fact. History doesn’t change just because we are trying to push a certain agenda today.”
That agenda has come in the form of new anti-’gay propaganda’ legislation, which was signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin in June.
The controversial law bans the promotion of ‘non-traditional’ relationships towards minors, and has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s LGBT community.
In response to an urgent question tabled in the Greater London Assembly by Green Party Member Darren Johnson, the Mayor said: “I believe that we can better challenge prejudice through engagement. Isolation will not achieve change.”