Madonna’s first tour in Russia drew
the ire of orthodox Christian activists. Now she vows to defy a
new law against promoting homosexuality when she performs in
President-elect Vladimir Putin’s hometown in August.
“I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay
community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is
or feels oppressed,” the pop star said by e-mail late
yesterday. “I’m a freedom fighter.”
The law, signed on March 7 by St. Petersburg Governor
Georgy Poltavchenko, a Putin ally and former KGB officer, bans
lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered “propaganda” that
could give minors “the false perception that traditional and
nontraditional relationships are socially equal.”
Homosexuality was outlawed in the Soviet era and wasn’t
decriminalized in Russia until 1993. Seventy-six of the 193
members of the United Nations deem homosexuality illegal,
according to Human Rights Watch. At least five countries,
including Iran, impose the death penalty for consensual same-sex
relations, the New York-based advocacy group says.
Madonna, ranked the 8th highest-earning celebrity in Forbes
magazine’s 2010 list with estimated earnings of $58 million,
plans to return to Russia for the third time with a concert in
Moscow on Aug. 7, followed two days later by St. Petersburg.
Tickets for both performances range from 1,500 rubles ($51) to
50,000 rubles apiece, according to PMI Corp. and Euro
Entertainment, the organizers of the events.
“I don’t run away from adversity,” Madonna, who has used
her fame to support gay rights, said in the e-mail. “I will
speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”
Madonna’s first show in Russia six years ago was marred by
protests of Russian Orthodox activists who objected to her
performance of the song “Live to Tell,” which she sang while
wearing a crown of thorns and dangling from a cross.
During the singer’s second visit in 2009 on
This article originally appeared on: http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-03-21/madonna-vows-to-oppose-gay-law-in-putin-s-hometown