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Russia's unofficial Drag Race rip-off has a glaringly obvious problem – PinkNews

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Activists say Russian drag competition ‘Royal Cobras’ removed all mentions of the LGBT+ community from its programme. (YouTube/НАСТЯ ИВЛЕЕВА)
An unofficial adaption of RuPaul’s Drag Race has launched in Russia, but it’s removed everything queer from the show.
Royal Cobras is hosted by Russian TV presenter and social media star Nastya Ivleeva. The Russian show has all the trappings of the Drag Race franchise including wonderful costumes, comedic performances and lip-sync battles.
But it lacks any acknowledgement of the LGBT+ community, which is intricately linked to drag culture.
Activist Nikita Andriyanov told the Moscow Times that Royal Cobras has “nothing to do with the LGBT+ agenda in Russia” because it doesn’t explicitly say “this show was about the LGBT+ people”.
He also pointed out the first episode of the show opens with a disclaimer that it’s “not aimed at former nontraditional sexual attitudes”.
The disclaimer referenced Russian’s so-called “gay propaganda law” which was signed by Vladimir Putin in 2013. The hateful legislation bans the “promotion” of “non-traditional sexual relationships”. Anyone found guilty under the law can be sentenced to heavy fines or up to 15 years in prison.
Andriyanov believed the wording in Royal Cobras’ disclaimer “belittles human dignity”.
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“The main problem lies in the silence – hence the feeling that LGBT+ people have never existed and that all this is ‘just show business’,” he added.
But Andriyanov said he was holding out hope that the show could introduce drag culture to Russian media and possibly raise more awareness about the LGBT+ community.
“The only thing this show can do for the community is that drag queens can get their moment of fame and possibly earn more followers on Instagram,” Andriyanov said.
Earlier this year, a print shop in Russia reportedly refused to print greeting cards and banners featuring the popular Korean band BTS, insisting the decorations were “gay propaganda”.
The PinkyPop cafe, a K-pop themed establishment, said the print show claimed it wouldn’t be printing the products because the groups had a “non-traditional orientation”.
In 2018, a Russian anti-gay group cancelled a screening of the boyband’s film BTS World Tour: Love Yourself at a cinema in Makhachkala in Dagestan. According to the Moscow Times, the group claimed the film was about “seven Korean homosexuals”.
Related topics: drag, Gay, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Russia, TV
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