August 5, 2013 | by Michael K. Lavers
Lady Gaga blasts Russia over LGBT rights record
Lady Gaga, gay news, Washington Blade

Lady Gaga (Photo by Jimmy Johansson via Wikimedia Commons)

Lady Gaga on Monday blasted the Russian government over its LGBT rights record.

“The Russian government is criminal,” she wrote on her Twitter page. “Oppression will be met with revolution. Russian LGBTs you are not alone. We will fight for your freedom.”

Lady Gaga’s comments come days after Russian authorities announced they are investigating whether she and Madonna did not secure the proper visas to enter the country last year.

Lady Gaga and Madonna spoke out against the city’s law that bans gay propaganda to minors during their concerts in St. Petersburg.

Vitaly Milonov, the St. Petersburg lawmaker who introduced the bill, prompted Russian authorities to investigate the singers.

“Why didn’t you arrest me when you had the chance, Russia?” Lady Gaga tweeted. “Because you didn’t want [to] answer to the world?”

Lady Gaga’s tweets come against the backdrop of growing outrage over Russia’s LGBT rights record.

President Vladimir Putin in late June signed a broadly worded law that bans gay propaganda to minors across Russia. A second statute that bans foreign same-sex couples and any couple from a country in which gays and lesbians can legally marry from adopting Russian children took effect last month.

LGBT rights groups and other organizations that receive funding from outside Russia could face a fine if they don’t register as a “foreign agent.”

Authorities in the Russian capital in May arrested 30 people who tried to stage a Pride march outside Moscow City Hall. St. Petersburg officials in June took more than 40 LGBT rights advocates into custody who tried to stage their own Pride event.

Authorities in Murmansk on July 21 arrested four Dutch LGBT rights advocates who were filming a documentary about gay life in Russia. A St. Petersburg appellate court a few days later overturned a lower court’s ruling that fined a local LGBT advocacy group 500,000 rubles or slightly more than $15,202 for violating the country’s “foreign agent” law that took effect in 2012.

Reports of anti-gay violence, hate crimes and even ultra-nationalists torturing gay Russian teenagers whom they meet through fake accounts on local social media networks continue to emerge from the country.

Actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein is among those who have urged the U.S. and other countries to boycott the 2014 Winter Olympics that will take place in Sochi, Russia, in February over the country’s LGBT rights record. Author Dan Savage and LGBT rights advocate Cleve Jones have also called for a boycott of Russian vodka.

“Sending bravery to LGBTs in Russia,” Lady Gaga tweeted. “The rise in government abuse is archaic. Hosing teenagers with pepper spray? Beatings? Mother Russia?”

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

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