There have been many LGBTQ+ activists working diligently to expose the not only state-sanctioned but state-backed homophobia there. And not only expose it but push back against it. This work is vital, and earlier this week, members of the German heavy metal band Rammstein, did their part in being allies with a smooch on the lips.
Rammstein has been on a bit of a bender with their queer allyship in their current performance tour. They've waved Pride flags in Poland as a response to the anti-LGBTQ+ efforts there, and they've been kissing a little bit. So much so, that fans have conjoined the names of the two guitarists who have been doing the kissing (Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe) into the mononym "Paulchard."
At a stop in Russia, Paulchard kissed again. And while that seems par the couse, in Russia there's a "gay propoganda" law that's been in effect since 2013. That law makes the distribution of "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relationships" among minors illegal and an offense punishable by imprisonment and fines. Two men kissing on a major stage and taking photos of that to post on Instagram would certainly fall in that category.
The kiss came at the end of the song "Auslander," which is where it has come throughout the tour and we have to admit, it's not a particularly bad one! Sure, there's not any tongue but it's certainly not a peck either.
And while it seems the pair have made it through scot free, according to the law, "foreigners may be arrested and detained for up to 15 days, then deported or fined up to 5,000 rubies and deported." What's more, is the band posted the photo to Instagram with the caption "Russia we love you," in Russian.