A leading Russian actor says that he endorses a rerun of the Holocaust for gay people on behalf of his children, the latest outburst marking a rising tide of homophobia in the country.
"I'd burn them all alive in ovens," Ivan Okhlobystin, the star of a Russian copy of "Scrubs," told fans in the city of Novosibirsk on Sunday, local website NGS.Novosti reported. "It's Sodom and Gomorrah, as a religious person I can't be indifferent to it, it's a living threat to my children," Okhlobystin said.
A father of six, Okhlobystin was an Orthodox priest until the church defrocked him in 2010 for pursuing an acting career and briefly ran for president in 2011 on behalf of the Kremlin-controlled pseudo-opposition party Right Cause, which subsequently collapsed. Okhlobystin also said that he beat his children because "kids are wild animals — on some level they don't understand a damn thing.
"I don't want my children to think that being a [faggot] is okay," Okhlobystin said. "It's queer fascism! If a person can't choose someone similar from the opposite sex for reproduction, it's a clear sign of a psychic anomaly, it means they need to be deprived of the vote," he continued.
Okhlobystin's remarks met wild applause from fans of the show, whom NGS.Novosti described as "housewives and tough dudes working blue-collar jobs, craving spirituality." He did not clarify whether gay people should be removed from electoral rolls before or after they were burned alive, but said that Moscow journalists should join gay people in the ovens for doing their work badly.
After his remarks caused an uproar online, Okhlobystin tweeted that "sodomites" were threatening to kill him and wrote that "there are only two ways for a person to relate to sodomites — acceptance and rejection. Taking into account the aggression with which sodomites dictate their will to the world, there cannot be a 'third way.'"
"Plus," he added, "the existence of official sodomite organizations in all their forms — from homosexualists to pedophiles — is a direct offense of religious people's beliefs and thus should be punished by the law." Russia passed a law introducing criminal penalties for offending religious believers last year.
State-run news agency RIA Novosti described Okhlobystin's show, "Interns," as a direct copy of the U.S. hospital-set sitcom "Scrubs," though its creators insist it is an original piece of work. The agency's English-language website pointed out that Dmitry Kiselyov, a frothy pro-Kremlin TV host recently appointed as boss of a new agency set to replace it next year, "called in 2012 to 'burn or bury the hearts of gays' that die in car crashes," but did stop short of promoting actually burning gay people alive.
Russian LGBT people have faced an increasingly intimidating atmosphere since last year, when parliament began discussing a bill that bans "promoting non-traditional relations to minors" and essentially deems gay people second-class citizens. President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law in June and defended it vigorously at his state of the union address Thursday. Activists say the law has caused a vicious upswing in homophobic violence and intimidation.
Max Seddon is a correspondent for BuzzFeed World based in Berlin. He has reported from Russia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and across the ex-Soviet Union and Europe. His secure PGP fingerprint is 6642 80FB 4059 E3F7 BEBE 94A5 242A E424 92E0 7B71
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