Singer Lady Gaga signs autographs on arrival at Moscow's
Vnukovo airport. REUTERS/Ivan Burnyashev
A political ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin is
taking legal action against American pop star Lady Gaga for
promoting gay rights to minors during a concert on Sunday.
Vitaly Milonov, a member of the ruling United Russia party in
the St Petersburg assembly and the architect of a city law
that bans gay "propaganda", accused the singer of breaking
the law at the beginning of her show.
"We saw that in addition to music, songs and such, there were
direct calls for 12-year-old citizens to support the LGBT
(lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community," Milonov
said, adding that he would file a complaint to prosecutors
over the singer's actions.
He had unsuccessfully called on authorities to bar people
under 18 from attending Lady Gaga's show.
A vocal defender of lesbian and gay rights, Lady Gaga said
offstage that her managers had received a call threatening
her with arrest or a $50,000 fine if she spoke in support of
the LGBT community, according to media reports.
The lower house of parliament is expected to consider
legislation similar to the St Petersburg law later this
It is not clear whether it will pass. Prime Minister Dmitry
Medvedev, now the head of United Russia, said in an interview
last week that "not all human relationships are subject to
Lady Gaga took Medvedev's comments as a sign of support for
her show and thanked him on her Twitter microblog.
"Thank You Prime Minister Medvedev for not standing by your
party's anti gay propaganda law & instead supporting my
show+fans all over Russia," she said in her tweet.
Lady Gaga has a concert in Moscow on Wednesday.
Last month, a St Petersburg court rejected a $10 million
compensation claim against U.S. pop star Madonna initiated by
Milonov and a group of anti-gay activists who accused her of
hurting their feelings by promoting homosexuality at a
concert in the city in August.
Madonna has called the city law a "ridiculous atrocity".
Homosexuality, punished with jail terms in the Soviet Union,
was decriminalised in Russia in 1993, but much of the gay
community remains underground as prejudice runs deep.