Move Over, Madonna: Russian Anti-Gay Activists Target Lady Gaga

by Jason St. Amand

National News Editor

Thursday October 25, 2012

It looks like Lady Gaga is following in Madonna's footsteps again -- but this time it has nothing to do with pop music, outlandish costumes, or (at least according to one drag-queen YouTube video) wanted "her gays" back.

A leading gay activist in Russia claims that Mother Monster could be charged in Russia when she performs in St. Petersburg later this year thanks to the city's controversial "homosexual propaganda" law, according to Sky News.

Just this week, EDGE reported that Madonna was sued by anti-gay Russian activists for violating the measure, which states that individuals can be fined up to $17,000 or face jail time for "promoting homosexuality" and "pedophilia" among minors.

The Material Girl was slapped with a summons after holding a concert in St. Petersburg in August where she condemned the homophobic legislation and vocalized her support for gay rights. The anti-gay activists are alleging that they suffer from "moral damages" after witnessing her show and are suing the singer for 333 million rubles ($10 million US).

"She insulted believers' feelings, she promoted homosexuality when there were children at the concert and this is forbidden in St. Petersburg," Darya Dedova said. "We, the residents of the cultural capital, suffered a colossal moral damage."

Dedova is a member of the pro-Kremlin group Trade Union of Russia Citizens, which supports the lawsuit.

The first person to be found guilty for breaking the law, gay activist Nikolai Alexeyeve, said that he believes those who support the measure are trying to exploit international stars in order to attract attention.

"I'm sure that these people who are doing this now in court will do exactly the same with the Lady Gaga concert, which is coming up in December," he said. "I think that these people are absolutely using this publicity, using these famous people to attract attention to themselves, while no-one knows who they are."

He went on to say that he is "absolutely convinced" that Madonna's case "will not lead to anything" because there are no real legal grounds.

"I think Madonna is just waiting until she's fined on the basis of this law, so that this creates an international scandal," he added. "At the same time, Russia will do everything to avoid this international scandal and avoid the shame connected to it."

In May, the Associated Press reported Nikolai was arrested for spreading "gay propaganda" among minors and was fined 5,000 rubles ($170).