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A strange Russian election video warns citizens that if they don’t vote in the upcoming election, they might end up gay.
A Facebook video dated August 7 shows two men arguing about voting while sitting on a park bench, riding a bus, peeing next to each other and eventually entering an apartment. Once in the bedroom, they strip their clothes off and one of them lays face down on the bed in his underwear. “Let the others go and vote,” says the other as he unbuckles his belt. “We have more important things to do.”
The clip ends with a call to vote in the September 9 regional elections.
It’s not clear who made the Russian election video, but some viewers think it was the government, specifically Dmitry Azarov, acting governor of the Samara Region. “The political technologists of Samara were tasked by any means to legitimize the victor of the current conflict,” wrote one commenter.
A similar video released before the March 2018 presidential election suggested that if people didn’t vote Russia would turn into a social-justice nightmare with families forced to live with same-sex couples in a “gay homestay.”
“Sergei [Kiriyenko, Putin’s deputy chief of staff] must have liked how the ‘gay homestays’ were a success,” opposition leader Alexei Navalny posted on Monday. Navalny called the clip the “worst of the worst.”
Mikhail Tumasov of the Russian LGBT Network says the PSA is part of a growing trend “of [depicting] LGBTIQ people as some kind of antisocial irresponsible people.”
Russia enacted its “gay propaganda” ban in 2013, prohibiting depictions of the LGBTQ community in front of minors, though one assumes negative depictions like this would be exempt. Just last week, a 16-year-old boy was found guilty of “propaganda of homosexuality among minors” after posting photos of boys on Vkontakte, a Russian social media site.