Anti-gay Russian legislator calls for Eurovision Song Contest boycott
Russian politician calls for Eurovision boycott and brands Austrian contestant a 'pervert'
The Guardian in Moscow
The Russian politician who inspired a controversial law against homosexuals has found a new source of gay propaganda - the Eurovision Song Contest.
St Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov has written a letter to Russia's Eurovision selection committee asking it not to send Russian musicians to the competition in Copenhagen this month.
Milonov, who sponsored a law in St Petersburg against homosexual propaganda in 2011 that helped pave the way for a similar federal law last year, called the event a "Europe-wide gay parade".
He argued that Russian performers' participation would "contradict the path of cultural and moral renewal that Russia stands on today". In a tweet, the lawmaker called for a full boycott of the "Sodom show".
"Even just broadcasting the competition in Russia could insult millions of Russians,"Milonov said in the letter.
"The participation of the obvious transvestite and hermaphrodite Conchita Wurst on the same stage as Russian singers on live television is blatant propaganda of homosexuality and spiritual decay."
Singer Thomas Neuwirth will represent Austria at Eurovision a week on Saturday in his drag persona of Conchita Wurst.
Milonov later tweeted that "completely boycotting" the show was not necessary, but said the "pervert from Austria" should be excluded.
Eurovision has long been a target for Milonov's anger. He has previously called for his country to hold its own "Russiavision" showcasing "traditional values" - a phrase that President Vladimir Putin has also used to paint Russia as a bastion against western spiritual decline.
Milonov criticised Russia's state-owned Channel One last May for broadcasting the 2013 Eurovision contest, which he called "degradation in the style of Hollande". He was referring to French President Francois Hollande, who had just signed a law legalising gay marriage.
In 2012, he filed a complaint that Lady Gaga had violated the St Petersburg law against promoting homosexuality among minors when she called for respect for gay rights during her concert in the city.
He also filed a complaint arguing that Lady Gaga and Madonna - who had called for gay people to be treated with dignity at a St Petersburg concert - had violated visa rules during their Russian tours.