The Russian government appears to not yet have gotten over the victory of Austrian bearded drag queen Conchita Wurst at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest. President Vladimir Putin, speaking at a dinner in St. Petersburg, condemned the singer for putting his life “up for show.”
Putin, according to a report by the UK Telegraph, appeared to be attempting to defend Wurst after senior officials in his government condemned his act, a rendition of the ballad “Rise Like a Phoenix,” as immoral. “People have the right to live their lives the way they want. But they should not be aggressive, or put it up for show,” Putin is quoted as saying, adding that he was “personally very liberal (on matters of personal morality).” He added that “the Bible talks about the two genders, man and woman, and the main purpose of union between them is to produce children,” and that “for us it is important to reaffirm traditional values.”
Putin’s comments follow some before the Eurovision final from St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov, who sponsored Russia’s infamous “gay propaganda” law, that the song contest had become a “Europe-wide gay parade” and that a continued Russian presence in the “Sodom show” would “contradict the path of cultural and moral renewal that Russia stands on today.” The Russian government also acted to ban a request to organize an official parade by gay rights groups in Moscow that would have celebrated Wurst’s win at the contest. Authorities claimed such a parade would have invited violent activity between opponents of gay rights and the parade attendees.
In response to Wurst’s victory, some Russian officials have proposed a parallel song contest called “Voice of Eurasia” which would serve as a “straight” version of the song contest. That contest, reports note, would be to help prevent the “collapse of the European Union’s moral values.” Such a break would harken back to the days of the Soviet Union. The USSR was not allowed to participate in the Eurovision Song Contest and as a response organized the “Intervision Song Contest” in which countries behind the Iron Curtain would compete.
Russian government officials are not the only ones outraged at Wurst’s display. Patriarch Amfilohije of Montenegro, a Serbian Orthodox cleric, is blaming Wurst’s victory for the devastating floods that have decimated the Balkans this month. “God sent the rains as a reminder that people should not join the wild side,” he said, according to the Daily News. Russian Orthodox clerics have responded similarly, with the church officially calling Wurst an “abomination” and “one more step in the rejection of the Christian identity of European culture.”