Russia has confirmed it will still broadcast and take part in Eurovision – despite pressure from anti-gay lawmakers to drop out of the ‘Eurovision Sodom show’.
Russia has participated in Eurovision since 1994 – but as the country has taken a more hardline approach to LGBT issues, lawmakers have been increasingly been at odds with the event, which is renowned for its inclusiveness and large gay following.
Russian lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who masterminded the country’s ‘gay propaganda law’, has repeatedly called for Russia to withdraw from the contest due to its gay content.
Milonov labelled the contest the “Eurovision sodom show”, saying: “Even just broadcasting the competition in Russia could insult millions of Russians.
“The participation of the obvious transvestite and hermaphrodite Conchita Wurst on the same stage as Russian singers on live television is blatant propaganda of homosexuality and spiritual decay.”
However, Russia’s national broadcaster RTR (Rossija 1) this week confirmed it would continue to broadcast and take part in next year’s contest in May 2016.
The announcement comes at the last possible moment that the country could have confirmed its participation.
It comes after ‘anti-booing’ tech was deployed in this year’s contest, to avoid repeats of incidents where the Russian act was loudly booed by crowds.
In 2013, Finnish entrant Krista Siegfrids performed the song ‘Marry Me’ in a wedding dress as a pro-equal marriage protest, kissing a female backing singer on-screen.
Russia drew up plans to revive Soviet-era rival contest Intervision last year after Conchita’ Wursts victory– but the plan was put on hold due to development problems.
Earlier this year, the BBC admitted to removing scenes of Russia being booed over anti-gay laws from the broadcast of a Eurovision anniversary show.