Eurovision singer Sergey Lazarev: Russia will welcome gay fans to our country if we win

Russia’s entrant in the Eurovision Song Contest has promised that the country will embrace the contest’s LGBT fans if he wins.

Russia has had a tumultuous relationship with the camp contest, which is known for its large gay following.

The country’s lawmakers have repeatedly called for a boycott the ‘Eurovision sodom show’, with a renewed push after the victory of drag artist Conchita Wurst.

Meanwhile, the contest organisers deployed ‘anti-booing’ tech last year to minimise repeated heckling – and warned against using rainbow flags to make “political” points this year.

Russia’s Sergey Lazarev is currently favourite to take the trophy on Saturday – and given the convention that the winners host the next contest, Lazarev sought to quell fears this week.

He was asked: “The majority of the Eurovision audience is part of the LGBT community. A lot of people are afraid of coming to Russia – is it safe for them to come for the Eurovision next year?”

The singer replied: “Gay life exists in Russia, it’s not a secret. We’re a modern country, all cities have gay life, we have gay clubs – you can Google it and see how many gay clubs in Russia we have.

“I think if Eurovision will come to Russia, it will be very supportive for the gay community in Russia.

“I think that you have to come and see – we hosted the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi and it was amazing. A lot of different people came to Sochi: different nationalities and sexual orientations, and had a great time there.

“They had fun, and there was no problem there. We hosted Eurovision in 2009 and it was also so good, and everybody came and had fun.

“It will happen again if Russia wins. I’m praying for that with all Russians, because all Russians love Eurovision. We really want to host it.”

He added: “We do our best for our guests, for sure. You can feel safe in our country. If we do something, we do it the best way.”

The singer also joked that the country’s weather is not as bad as people think in the West.

He said: “Sochi is not that cold, it’s pretty warm, really warm! Russia is beautiful country, a big and amazing country – you have to visit our country for sure.

“I don’t know who’s going to win this year, but you have to go there and see for yourself.

“We have hospitality, a lot of good people, and music culture. Come and see that we are a great people and the country is so great.”

In the first Eurovision semi-final on Tuesday, the British Broadcasting Corporation came under fire for playing a meatballs skit instead of a tribute to refugees.

An interpretive dance about the refugee crisis moved viewers across Europe – while UK audiences watched Mel Giedroyc try to fit two meatballs in her mouth at the same time.