The Russian Embassy in London today refused to take a set of Russian dolls featuring five gay icons as a gift for Vladimir Putin.
Elton John, Stephen Fry, George Michael, Graham Norton, and Tom Daley, have been immortalised by the Russian (or matryoshka) dolls, which are currently being auctioned off in order to raise money for international LGBT organisation the Kaleidoscope Trust.
Despite having a pre-arranged appointment, Alistair Stewart and Chris Price of the Kaleidoscope Trust were turned away today when trying to deliver the Russian dolls.
They got past the British police officers, but were refused entry at the Russian gate into the embassy.
Stewart said: “The British coppers were very friendly and helped us find our way to the second gate. Sadly the Russian official at the gate refused to accept the gift, or let us take it inside. We showed him the dolls but he wasn’t keen. The gay community in Russia is currently facing the most punitive treatment at the hands of the authorities. This was our way to show our pride and stand shoulder to shoulder with the LGBT community in Russia.”
They have not given up, however, as the dolls will now instead be sent to the Kremlin recorded delivery for Mr Putin’s express attention.
There are 7 limited edition, hand-painted, sets of Russian dolls. Featuring artist’s renders of five great gay icons, they are crafted to raise awareness, and money, for the Russian gay community. Exactly the sort of thing that would get you arrested in Russia.
Six sets remain, and the bid on the current set rests at £1,950. The auction can be viewed at the ToRussiaWithLove site.
The Kaleidoscope Trust is a UK based charity working to uphold the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people internationally.