Russian Pols Denounce Eurovision Champ: Beards Shaved in Protest
What a difference a beard makes.
Saturday's victory in the annual Eurovision Song Contest by bearded Austrian drag queen, Conchita Wurst, is causing a stir on the other side of what once was the iron curtain in Russia, fueling the anti Euro integration fear machine and spurring some Russians to shave their beards off in protest.
"There's no limit to our outrage. It's the end of Europe. It has turned wild. They don't have men and women any more. They have 'it'," said nationalist politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky on Rossiya-1 state television.
According to Global Post, Zhirinovsky, who is known for his outrageous statements, further went on to say, "Fifty years ago the Soviet army occupied Austria. We made a mistake in freeing Austria. We should have stayed."
Zhirinovsky isn't the only Russian politician to decry Wurst's victory on Saturday. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin wrote on Twitter that the Eurovision result "showed supporters of European integration their European future: a bearded girl."
Rogozin's is hardly alone in his use of social media to protest Wurst's win. Buzzfeed reports that since the bearded Austrian's win this weekend, before and after selfies of once bearded men, now clean shaven are popping up on Russian Instagram and Twitter accounts with once user tweeting that her husband in now shaving twice daily.
According to The New York Post, prior to Saturday's event, Russia and other anti-gay Eastern European countries like Armenia and Belarus saw petitions circulated that called on Eurovision organizers to disqualify Wurst from the competition or edit him out of the broadcast.
Boos echoed in some Russian cities where crowds gathered to watch the competition televised.
Wurst appears to be taking his Eastern European critics in stride saying, "You know, I have a thick skin. It's just strange that a little facial hair causes that much excitement.'' According to the Post, Wurst further said "Eighty percent of the autograph requests that I get are from Russia and Eastern Europe - that's what's important to me."
According to Wikipedia , the Eurovision Song Contest is an annual song competition held among members countries of the European Broadcasting Union. Since its founding in 1956, it has become one of the longest-running television programs in the world. It is responsible for launching the careers of ABBA, Céline Dion and Julio Iglesias.