MSP Bill Kidd: Glasgow may have to end twinned status with Russian city unless homophobia is challenged

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

A Scottish National Party MSP says Glasgow City Council should be prepared to break cultural ties with its Russian twin city, Rostov on Don, because of homophobia sanctioned by Russia’s government.

Glasgow’s Lord Provost, the ceremonial head of Glasgow City Council, sent a letter to Rostov on Don’s Mayor, Michael Chernyshev, expressing concerns over the arrival of anti-gay legislation in his country earlier this month.

Responding to a letter from Glasgow-based Drag Queen Nancy Clench, the MSP for Glasgow Anniesland, Bill Kidd, said: “I think that the twinning of Glasgow with Rostov-on-Don has had considerable beneficial effects for both cities over the years. However the recent laws passed by the Russian Duma have led to apparent carte blanche for demonstrations of public bigotry and disgusting violence against LGBT citizens in Russia.

“I therefore believe that the Lord Provost of Glasgow must raise the very serious possibility of publically ending the twinning of Glasgow with the City Council of Rostov, should they be unwilling to challenge the outrageous behaviour let loose on their streets.”

Glasgow Cathcart MSP James Dornan spoke out against Russia’s homophobic laws earlier this month.

He said: “It causes me great concern to see that in Russia, and many other parts of the world, LGBT people are being subjected to some of the most horrific human rights abuses.

“Glasgow, indeed Scotland, has a proud history of standing on the side of the oppressed and against the oppressor – whoever that may be. I’m sure that I speak for many when I say to Russia’s gay community: Scotland stands with you.”

A petition started by Nancy Clench to cut Glasgow’s ties with Rostov on Don has received more than 830 signatures.