Mikhai Prokhorov, the oligarch and politician often referred to as “Russia’s most eligible bachelor”, has criticised the controversial “gay propaganda” law passed overwhelmingly by Russia’s parliament earlier this week.
Russia’s duma passed the law that bans the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” by 436 votes to zero, with one abstention, on Tuesday, and it is now expected to be signed into law by President Vladimir Putin. Russians found to be telling those under 18 that gay and straight relationships are “socially equal” can be fined, while foreigners will be immediately deported.
Russia is a very homophobic society and the majority of Russians support the law, however in Moscow, where Mr Prokhorov draws political support among the urban middle class, the law is more controversial.
Mr Prokhorov said at a press conference today that he did not agree with gay parades, or gay rights rallies, which Moscow courts have repeatedly banned, as “sex and parades are two separate things” and it is “a personal choice with whom you sleep and how you do it”. However, he spoke out against the new law, saying it “clearly contradicts international conventions which Russia has signed with other countries”.
Mr Prokhorov won 20 per cent of the vote in Moscow during the presidential election campaign that returned Vladimir Putin to the Kremlin last year. He has positioned himself as a semi-opposition politician, though his actions are widely believed to be coordinated with the Kremlin, to provide a reliable outlet for discontented urban voters.
He was expected to announce today that he would stand in Moscow mayoral elections later this year, however he said due to an “unfair playing field”, he planned to focus attention on the elections to the Moscow regional parliament next year instead.