Posted by: John | January 2, 2009

I won’t be going to Russia

For three years I went to Eurovision (Kiev, Athens and Helsinki). Last year I didn’t go as I couldn’t stand Serbia as a traveller and two Gay women who went (and wouldn’t be seen dead not going) said they wouldn’t go again if it were held there.

This year it’ll be held in Russia. Deep breath. I repeat the Eurovision (with loads of Gays attending) will be going to Russia. I will not be among their number for several reasons:

1. Moscow’s Mayor is deeply homophobic and incites violence against Gay people

2. The costs for a fan are expensive enough – Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the World – it’ll be prohibitive.

3. I don’t want to effectively put money into Putin’s hands via visas or indirectly given his abuse of human rights and the continuing escalation of new laws that abuse them

4. I made up my mind not to apply for the official fan club ballot – yet i wouldn’t want to attend given the points 1-3 above. If I had come away without a ticket it would have been a question of buying tickets from some shady mafia bloke – in Kiev a friend had to do a deal on the streets with a shady Russian for final tickets.

I’m sure that the Eurovision will appear to be an `unqualified success` as anything else (particularly with a faltering economy) would be seen as disastrous for an event on this scale. However, the real point is that everything will be done due to the prestige not because they care about my safety or love of the music. It’ll be an `organised hypocrisy`nothing genuine and I suffered enough of that in Israel in February.

In Ukraine it was 6 months after a revolution and Kiev was a delight to visit. Everywhere were `blue tents` with smiling young people giving information – masses of security people were out ensuring as much as possible a safe environment. I wonder what the security people will be out for in Moscow?

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