Leading Russian gay rights activist says LGBT fans are ‘not safe’ at World Cup

An outspoken Russian gay rights activist has said LGBT football fans are “not safe” at the World Cup.

Anton Krasovsky, who is a Russian political journalist, has warned LGBT people heading to the tournament to be careful. 

Speaking to HuffPost, the TV anchor said that Moscow is worth visiting for LGBT because of its underground gay scene.

However, he added: “But what I’d also like to tell everyone is: don’t take a stand in public. It’s not safe.”

In 2013, Krasovsky made global headlines when he came out in a live broadcast on the KontrTV network, and later revealed that he was fired for his comments the same day.

He had been editor-in-chief of the network.

In the original announcement, the footage of which removed from the network’s website and YouTube channel, he said: “‘I’m gay, and I’m just the same person as you, my dear audience, as President Putin, as Prime Minister Medvedev and the deputies of our Duma.”

Krasovsky also told HuffPost that Russia has become increasingly homophobic since he came out.

A photograph taken on May 30, 2018 shows the FIFA World Cup 2018 flag in front of the Kremlin in Moscow. - The FIFA World Cup 2018 tournament kicks off on June 14, 2018. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP) (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

The FIFA World Cup in Russia starts tomorrow. (MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty)

“I’m the first homosexual politician in Russia — an extremely homophobic country with an extremely homophobic capital in the midst of a very homophobic Eastern Europe,” he told the publication.

“That’s a statement. And I believe that Russia needs more statements like this — not just for the LGBT scene but also perhaps for women’s rights.”

Football fans are gearing up for the World Cup, which starts tomorrow in Russia. Read PinkNews’s LGBT guide on who should win here. 

Earlier this week, footballing superstar Mohamed Salah faced backlash after agreeing to meet the leader responsible for Chechnya’s ‘gay purge.’

The Egypt and Liverpool forward, one of the most famous faces in football, was visited at his hotel by Chechen head Ramzan Kadyrov, whose regime has reportedly engaged in a deadly campaign against gay and bisexual men.

Egyptian national team football player and Liverpool’s star striker Mohamed Salah (L) poses with head of the Chechen Republic Ramzan Kadyrov during a training at the Akhmat Arena stadium in Grozny on June 10, 2018, ahead of the Russia 2018 World Cup.(KARIM JAAFAR/AFP)

And, earlier this month, the UK government warned British LGBT fans heading to the World Cup to avoid displaying their sexuality in public.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Be on the Ball guide was quietly updated on May 21, just weeks before the contest, to warn fans that “public attitudes towards LGBT+ people are less tolerant than in the UK.”

It states: “There is no reason not to come to the World Cup if you are LGBT+. However, although same-sex sexual activity has been decriminalised in Russia since 1993, it is strongly understood and advised that you do not publicly display your sexuality, but this is up to the individual.”

The guide warns that the country’s gay propaganda law “effectively prohibiting any public display of LGBT+ rights” is “generally supported by the population due to the conservative and Christian Orthodox beliefs held by many.”