Two Russian Women Forced to Apologise for Kiss: "I Love Men and Russia"

The stricter Russian anti-LGBT+ laws are beginning to show their effect. Two women who appear in a video giving each other a kiss after what seems to be a marriage proposal have been arrested and must publicly apologise. The two women make it clear in a new video that they are "not pro-LGBT+".
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The video, posted on Instagram and quickly removed, shows blogger Vladlina Alchaeva seemingly proposing to another woman, after which they kiss while a waiter brings a cake.

Despite the video being quickly taken down, both women were arrested. Local police have released a video in which the two offer their apologies. "My apologies to everyone who thinks we’re pro-LGBT," says one of them. "We know the laws of our country." They promise that "it will not happen again".

Alchaeva, the blogger who posted the video on her social media, also told the Russian state channel RT that she "loves men and Russia".

The two women are not the only ones feeling the consequences of stricter anti-LGBT+ legislation. Since the start of the large-scale invasion in Ukraine, Russia has tightened its law against "LGBT+ propaganda" and labelled the "LGBT+ movement" as extremist. A woman had to serve a short prison sentence for wearing rainbow earrings, which according to the court, are a "symbol of an extremist movement". A photographer was also fined for photographing rainbow flags.

The anti-LGBT+ rhetoric is an electoral strategy of Vladimir Putin, positioning himself as the protector of traditional values. Moreover, this allows him to distance himself from the "West", which he believes has become decadent and only focuses on matters such as gender and sex. Other world leaders are copying this strategy, including Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and several African leaders.

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