MOSCOW, June 6 (RIA Novosti) – A Communist group in southern Russia wants openly gay British pop star Elton John to wear a traditional Cossack uniform at an upcoming concert because his usual flamboyant clothing is “homosexual propaganda,” the group’s leader told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
The singer, who is scheduled to play the city of Krasnodar on July 14, should wear “more respectable” attire when he performs, like a knee-length caftan, a fur hat and leather boots, said Mikhail Abramyan, head of the local branch of the Communists of Russia, not to be confused with the much larger Communist Party of the Russian Federation.
“We hope he’ll wear it,” Abramyan said, adding that the show’s promoters had rejected the idea. Abramyan said his group, which numbers 350, was ready to take to the streets in protest.
The Cossacks are predominantly Eastern Slavs, known for their social conservatism and tsarist-era military exploits, based mainly in southern Russia and Ukraine. Many were suppressed under the Soviets for having supported the tsar during the 1917 Revolution, but today the group is showing a revival, regaining prominence in Russian public life and sometimes performing vigilante police duties.
“Promoting homosexuality” is a criminal offense in many Russian regions, including Krasnodar, and comparable federal legislation is expected to receive final approval by the lower house of parliament next week, a lawmaker told RIA Novosti on Thursday.
That same day, parliament members submitted legislation for news outlets to be fined up to 1 million rubles (about $30,000) for instances of promoting homosexuality, which has remained vaguely defined thus far.
American pop icon Madonna was sued for over $10 million in a lawsuit backed by a St. Petersburg lawmaker last year after she asked fans at a concert there to raise their hands in support of gay pride. The suit was later thrown out of court.
Asked whether he likes John’s music, Abramyan said he preferred songs in Russian.