Russian TV channel offers gay people one way plane ticket out of country

It says they would be welcomed in California


Kenza Bryan
Saturday 01 July 2017 11:25 BST
( / Channel Constantinople)

Gay people in Russia have been asked to compete for a one-way plane ticket out of the country by an Orthodox Christian television channel.

“If you are gay and wish to emigrate from Russia, channel Constantinople will buy you a one way ticket with great pleasure”, Tsargrad TV writes in the video's description, complete with emojis of a plane and a sick face.

The channel said anyone interested should have a "medical certificate" confirming “sodomy or other forms of perversion.”

The homophobic video message was posted earlier this week on Saint Petersburg-based social network VK, Russia’s most popular website, and has since gained over 34,000 views.

It features clips of LGBT marches abroad as well as a Russian plane taking off, and suggests those interested should make contact with the TV host Andrey Afanasyev.

Mr Afanasyev says California is a sympathetic home to Russian LGBT people.

“This is not a joke,” he says. “We really want you to return there, where you can openly submit to your sins.”

Russia's highest cleric openly compared marriage equality to Nazism just over a month ago, and legislation encouraging homophobia and banning “gay propaganda” exists throughout Russia.

Reports of the systematic imprisonment and purge of gay men in the southern republic of Chechnya emerged in May.

Tsargrad TV was set up to promote Christian Orthodox values and also calls itself Constantinople, after the ancient centre of Eastern Christianity and capital of the Byzantine Empire .

Founder Konstantin Malofeev is a businessman and prominent supporter of President Vladimir Putin.

He says the channel was designed to be “a platform and voice of the Russian Orthodox majority” and compares it to a Russian equivalent of Fox News.

It claims to have reached 42 million viewers since August 2016, and discusses “‘the most sensitive issues in the global economy, geopolitics, culture and religion”.

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