Russian actor Ivan Okhlobystin is making headlines for his open letter (link in Russian) to President Vladimir Putin, asking him to fully re-criminalize homosexuality, because the anti-gay propaganda law “is not effective enough.”
In the past, Okhlobystin has also equated surrogacy with prostitution, likened gay marriage to necrophilia and zoophilia, suggested that gays should be burned and also claimed that he would murder any of his daughters if they were to fall in love with an African man.
Despite the frightening absurdity of the actor’s comments in the past, the Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin from the Russian Orthodox Church has spoken out in favor of Okhlobystin proposal to recriminalize homosexuality.
Both have suggested a referendum, looking to the Russian people to decide, and considering a survey in 2013 showed that 74 percent of the population said homosexuality should not be accepted by society (up from 60 percent in 2002), they both seem to have a good chance at invoking change.
However, according to Religion Dispatches, early indications from affiliates of the government have indicated that the re-criminalization of homosexuality through a referendum is unlikely to be considered.
On January 5, Russian LGBT activists wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook to request that Apple reconsider their contract with Russian company Euroset, of which Okhlobystin is currently the creative director.
When the president of Euroset, Alexander Malis, was asked to respond to Okhlobystin remark’s “I myself would shove all live gays into a furnace,” he claimed, “Of course, we are against burning anyone in furnaces,” before adding, “Ivan expressed his personal opinion, and we will not fire him for that.”
Whereas previously many saw him merely as a joke and a fool, making his shocking statements as part of a professional act, he is now beginning to be considered a true fascist threat.