She is a four-time Russian barista champion, and a lesbian. LGBT rights are being crushed in Russia, protests against persecution are increasingly violent , and horrifying accounts of homophobia are running rampant. We asked Olga to tell us what it means to be gay in Russia. We gave her the opportunity to be anonymous but she refused. These are her words.
Taking a stand in Russia
Here, young Russians tell their stories on Dazed. I am from Essentuki, a town in the North Caucasus region of Russia with a population of around , people. My younger sister, Alice, lives there — these girls are her lesbian friends. Essentuki is a place where nothing really happens, where people are keen on traditions and very few of them are aware of what is going on in the world in terms of freedom, sexuality and self-identification. These teenage girls consider themselves free — at least, they try to be. Here, if you are not married in your late 20s or God save your soul! As you can imagine, reactions varied. But they face the reality anyway. It was not easy for both sides, the parents and their children, to talk about it.
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The Saw list started circulating on Russian websites and social media earlier this year, its name taken from a series of American cult horror films. There were dozens of names on it: Russian gays, lesbians, activists and supporters of LGBT causes, even journalists. Readers were encouraged to hunt them down.
The singers were part of children's music group Neposedy before being managed by producer and director Ivan Shapovalov and signing with Russian record label Neformat. The album was certified platinum by the IFPI for one million copies sold in Europe and became the first album by a foreign group to reach number one in Japan. The former was promoted with the international hit " All About Us ". The duo ventured into other projects, such as creating their own production company T. Music and promoting the film inspired by their story You and I Their last pair of albums, Vesyolye Ulybki and Waste Management , followed between and , respectively. Before production of t. Katina was also in a band named "Avenue" between and With this idea in mind, Shapovalov and Voitinskiy organized auditions in Moscow in early for teenage female vocalists.