“Gays in the Russian orthodox church are in a dual situation. On one hand, everyone knows about the existence of the gay lobby and the opportunity to make an easy career after going through the bishop’s bed. On the other hand, most active parishioners of the church are ardent homophobes.” It is highly unlikely clergy leaders see the irony in this. Usatov added a popular expression among the priests: “Everything is possible, the most important thing is not to get burned!” In other words, no one is interested in sexual behaviour until it is openly discovered. “If something leaks online, your colleagues, who had always turned a blind eye for each other’s sexuality, will participate in your beating.” Thus Usatov.
Alexander Usatov was an orthodox Russian priest in Rosotov and Novocherkassk, until he resigned from his position in 2020. He was urged to come out to Igor Ivanov, head of the diocese. A spokesperson denies the leader’s knowledge of his orientation: “A homosexual priest would have been asked to remove the cross if he was unable to keep it in his pants.”
After persistent harassment from colleagues and superiors, Alexander Usatov fled to the Netherlands out of fear for his safety. He was able to go to the Netherlands with the help of LGBT+-activists. “People [old co-workers] who tried to harm me, on the contrary, helped me free myself and find a new, more fulfilling life. I do not hold grudges against them, now my thoughts are occupied with tulips, mills, and scientific ideas,” Usatov said.