Madonna Gets Political In Russia, Shows Solidarity With St. Petersburg Gays, Jailed Rockers

Madonna said she wouldn’t be shying away from politics when she hit Russia, and she wasn’t lying: First she made a appeal for the jailed band Pussy Riot this week while performing in Moscow. And now she’s announced a showstopping stunt to show support for St. Petersburg’s oppressed LGBT community.

While playing Moscow’s Olympic Stadium, the Material Matron stripped down to her bra and displayed “Pussy Riot” in large letters across her back. In February, Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Yekaterina Samutsevich—the three twentysomething members of Pussy Riot—were accused of inciting religious hatred when they sang a song urging the Virgin Mary to rid Russia of Vladimir Putin.

Reports the Daily Mail:

The trio said their protest was directed at Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, for publicly backing Putin in the elections.

However, church leaders maintain the use of swear words in the cathedral was ‘an abuse of God’.

Putin said last week that the punk rockers had done ‘nothing good’ but should not be judged too harshly.

But the prosecutor ignored pleas by the opposition and human rights groups not to seek jail terms over the profanity-laced protest and have urged the jury to sentence them to three years behind bars.

Madonna told the crowd at the stadium, “I know there are many sides to every story, and I mean no disrespect to the church or the government, but I think that these three girls—Masha, Katya, Nadya —I think that they have done something courageous. I know that everyone in this auditorium, if you are here as my fan, feels they have the right to be free.”

Just yesterday, Madonna announced her plans to speak out on behalf of St. Petersburg’s LGBT community. A post on the official Madonna Facebook page teased what will no doubt be a breathtaking display of unity and tolerance:

“At Thursday’s Madonna concert, a pink wristband will be available to anyone that wants to support the LGBT community in St. Petersburg. The wristband will be part of the show – be prepared to raise your arm in support!”

So far more than 35,000 people have “Liked” the post. But will Madge run afoul of St. Petersburg’s odious gay-propaganda law?

Maybe she should bring a few rubles for bail money.

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #entertainment #freespeech #gaypropagandalaw stories and more


  • comus

    How does Madonna announcing “no disrespect for the government” qualify as a meaningful challenge?

    Russia has one of the most intolerant regimes in Europe when it comes to gays, and she shouldn’t be playing there any more than American singers of the 1970s and ’80s should have played South Africa. She is chasing cash, not human rights, and her stunts are achieving nothing. Even the lightweight editors of a shallow aggregating site should be able to see that.

  • james

    @comus: Oh shut up!

  • comus

    @james: Why? Because you didn’t grasp my point?

  • Clockwork

    Good for Madonna, by the way Pussy Riot is about more than GLBT freedom.

    Storming an Orthodox church and performing music is not something to just be overlooked. It is wrong and should be given some type of reprimand, of course the three-year sentence is excessive.

  • Geno

    @comus I agree with u. vadge only did that rediculous stunt 4 her. own personal gain. she is so annoying

  • Let's be honest here

    I agree Comus Vadge does not really care about LGBT rights she just wants money!

  • LittIe,Kiwi

    you wanna see the real cowards? the testicle-deprived wimps coming on here to anonymously complain about Madonna, who’s gonna be going out of her way to visibly and vocally champion and support the LGBT Communities in Russia, despite the overwhelming prejudice against them.

    we see it all the time – pathetic wimpy boys with no balls who log on to anonymously complain about madonna. or gaga. or whomever they blame for the fact they’re not man enough to be openly gay.

    yeah. keep thinking she’s pursuing cash. whatever you need to tell yourselves to make up for the fact that you dont’ do s**t in your own lives.


    rock on, madonna :)

  • Jeff Stefani

    Madonna should be sued for trying to copy Lady Gaga again. She is jumping on Mother Monster’s gay rights activism and it is unfair to all of Lady Gaga’s little monsters.”

  • Lisbeth Slander

    @Jeff Stefani: That is, quite possibly, the dumbest thing I have ever read. There really is nothing more pathetic then a brainwashed, uninformed Gaga stan. She must be so proud to have such a delusional, pathetic fan base.

  • Daez

    @Jeff Stefani: Are you insane? Madonna is jumping on Lady Gaga’s gay rights activism? Madonna was a gay rights activist when Lady Gaga was still in diapers, and I’m not talking about the diaper she wore to the last awards show to make a “statement.”

  • shle896

    LOVE her.

  • shle896

    @Jeff Stefani: Madonna has advocated for our community since before Lady GAGa was even a scratch in her daddy’s pants.

    It’s much much easier these days to advocate for gay people, but not so much when Madonna bravely did in the 80’s when “gay” was a naughty word and when so many people characterized AIDS as being God’s curse on gay people.

    Give us a break on GAGa. She’s nothing but an unoriginal poser, wannabe.

  • comus

    Asking what, specifically, Madonna is accomplishing in Russia is a fair question. Well, what is it? Queerty breathlessly gushes about her brave stance; really? Has she put herself in any jeopardy? Has she done anything concrete for gays in Russia? It would have sent a much stronger message if she had cancelled her Russian concerts.

  • mark


  • davidlondon

    @Comus “No disrespect for the government or church” I think is meant as a qualifying statement regarding free speech, which was the focal point of M’s message in Moscow. Madonna was saying that she absolutely respects that the government and the church are entitled to their views, but so are Pussy Riot, and then went on to point out that the Russian band are being treated heavy handedly.

    I take your point about boycotting Russia because of the government’s attitude towards the LGBT community but surely, with someone of Madonna’s stature, her visit and standpoint is allowing the Russian government’s treatment of this community and the regressive democratic developments generally come under the full scrutiny of the global community.

    It may also be worth pointing out that Madonna is of course an astute business woman, but talking hard currency, she could have earned easier money adding more dates in the US or Australia. So I would argue their is some kind of genuine politico/philosophical perspective going on here too.

    Looks like Elton John’s comments re Madonna at the beginning of the week were just a kind of warm up!


  • comus

    @LittIe,Kiwi: What did she accomplish in Russia? “I mean no disrespect for the government.” Gee, but it’s the government that’s cracking down on gays. You do realize that all gays and lesbians aren’t stupid, right? Vulgar, demeaning shouting at anyone who criticizes Madonna isn’t a response; it’s defensiveness.

  • comus

    @davidlondon: Real pressure would’ve been brought to bear on the regime if she had cancelled. As it happens, she has now gone to sing and dance before wealthy Russians who won’t give a toss about her minor declarations on stage, but who will indeed believe that her presence in their country is validating.

  • Daez

    @comus: What exactly do you think happens if she cancels. Absolutely nothing. You do realize that her presence there forces a certain segment of the population to concentrate on Russia. Cancelling would have allowed Russia to get much less press. Her every concert protest is much more effective.

    I’m willing to guess that you are also against kiss-ins and other forms of verbal and visible protest and would rather have people just sit home. The whole world seems to be against me today, I think I’ll just cancel leaving my house.

  • comus

    @Daez: I’ll bet I’m the only commenter here who’s actually lived in Eastern Europe and been attacked by neo-Nazis at a Gay Rights Fest. I’ve lived on and off in Europe since the 1990s, and I know what I’m talking about. You genuine stay-at-homes see, through a vapid American lens, lip service for gays as real activism. It’s the complete triumph of branding-as-living. “I said I believe it. Do I really have to do it?”

    You know what kinds of attacks on Madonna are unfair? Attacks on her looks, her hair, her body, her romantic life. I say if she wants to perform her act, and if people want to buy it, then great. But please don’t insult our intelligence by claiming that her attempts to preserve her gay niche brand amount to real human rights activism. They don’t.

  • comus

    What real Russian gay activists say:

    “In our opinion, it is not enough to say a few words in support of homosexuals between two songs during a concert,” Yury Gavrikov told AFP. “If you position yourself as a defender of human rights then you need to do something more substantial.”

  • RVMG

    @comus: Achieving nothing? Give me a break. She brought universal attention to a local cause. For a pop music star, that’s more than enough. She’s not there to turn Russia into a democracy, it’s the Russians themselves who have to do it.

  • Daez

    @RVMG: It is easier to be a professional victim. To whine about how bad life treats you and how much everyone else owes you is so much easier.

    Do not get me wrong, it is maddening that this guy got attacked by a neo-nazi hate group, but I here less whining coming out of the survivors of the holocaust. Life is life. It is up to use to make what we can of it. It is not always fair, but we can not expect others to make it for us.

  • comus

    @RVMG: Beg your pardon? She herself proclaimed her political aspirations, or don’t you follow the news? I never claimed she should make Russia a democracy; that’s your attempt at a straw man argument. I’m critical of what I see as exploitation of a political issue for commercial gain.

  • comus

    @Daez: Ah, so when I rebutted the you-don’t-get-out-of-the-house charge, now I’m open to the you’re-just-a-professional-victim charge?

    Who’s “whining”? I’m not blaming anyone, and I don’t see dividing my life between Europe and Los Angeles as especially gruesome.

    I’m charging Madonna with (1) using a political issue as a PR gimmick, (2) over-promising on her ability to challenge Russian authorities, and (3) failing to deliver–shock–on her boasts. This isn’t about me; it’s about a commercial entertainer using human rights as a marketing tool. Try to keep up.

  • Smeejay

    Spoken as only a 12 year old truly can. Anybody older would be well aware of Madonna’s history from her gay ballet teacher growing up to hanging with Warhol and Haring to touring gay bars when she had all of three songs to perform to taking a very early and unpopular stand against those discriminated against those with HIV in her first film in 1991. Educate yourself, it will set you free as well as lending credence to your knee jerk defense of The Lady Gaga. P.S. I was fortunate enough to attend Gaga’s performance at the Miss Sixty store on Lincoln Rd.. here on South Beach, right before she walked over to our local gay bar, Score, to do an unannounced show back in ’08. As you start to grow up you will discover that you are allowed to like something without having to hate everything else. “You’ll See…” (pun intended)

  • Whatever

    @comus: I agree with those Russian gay rights activists – saying a few words between songs while you hide on your stage means nothing. If she really cares about gay rights in Russia, why doesn’t she donate proceeds from the concerts there to gay rights organizations there? She’s got over half a billion dollars in the bank, so it’s not like she can’t afford it. She doesn’t do it because all she cares about is money and is all talk and no action.

  • comus

    @Smeejay: Since I haven’t mentioned Gaga, I’m not sure if you refer to me. How is the simple assertion that Madonna should have avoided playing Russia invalid? There’s a good case to be made, in fact. The sycophants who disallow any criticism of her, ever, at any time, don’t have credibility. She chose to perform in Russia. Let that choice take the hits it deserves. I’ve already said she doesn’t deserve the ageism and looksism that comes her way.

  • JMapother

    @Jeff Stefani: LOL jeez I’ve heard it all now. STOP making little monsters look dumber than a bag of bricks! If you dont understand or know anything about history dont attempt to comment on it. Madonna did ALL of this back in the 80’s when Homosexuality was NOT popular. She risked her Commercial career by including gay imagery in her work, supporting Aids awareness campaigns. Her affinity with gays goes back to the days Christopher Flynn took her to Gay Clubs when she was a teenager. Gaga has a loooong way to go before she has the balls to do what Madonna does without blinking an eye. When she shows up in Indonesia with her head held high and puts on the exact show she does anywhere else, than she might be getting somewhere – until then, thanks for your opinion but Madonna is busy doing what she does in countries that want to burn her, and getting away with it.

  • ChrisSF

    Oh Look! It’s Little Kiwi who thinks that Madonna is actually an ally to LGBT people when she’s really just a money hungry media wh0re. *Yawn* Of course Kiwi is using his tired argument of “If you post here on queerty and don’t like Vadge then you’re completely closeted!” which is BS, then again if you tell him how you’ve been out for decades he’ll pull the “Where’s your blog/youtube site? If you don’t have one then you’re NOT out as an LGBT person!” he’s like a broken record SSDD daily on here.

  • James

    And this is why Madonna is not just a mere diva or pop singer…she is the Pop Queen. Can’t imagine Katy, Rihanna or Britney even know where Russia is on a map

  • Ruhlmann

    Has anyone considered that maybe the authorities will come down that much harder on Pussy Riot because the aging pop star is making useless comments of “solidarity” and…..what? She should have kept her mouth shut and left politics to the professionals.

  • jason

    Madonna is good at hijacking the genuine victimhood of others to make it seem as if she, herself, is the victim.

    When it comes to Madge, money talks and bullshit walks.

  • JMapother

    @jason: THEY asked her to do it, it was an open letter published online before she even arrived in Russia, asking her for her to support and say something in their defense: And if she was all about money, she would have kept her mouth shut, considering the business venture she just opened in Moscow, I mean duuuhhh…and Madonna has NEVER been the victim under ANY circumstance LOL you might want to look at the wannabes to place that label on.

  • Tom_D

    Sometimes I just wish that celebrities would shut up about politics. I don’t really think that the entire edifice of the Russian state is going to come crumbling down because of Madonna’s pink wristbands and her haphazard gesture politics.

  • Jason

    This international tour, Madge has proven that her celebrity transcends domestic politics–she can make any political statement she wants! She empowers her fans, especially her women and gay fans. She has my full support as do other gay and women’s rights supporters in the media. Our lives are saturated in politics and we need more people on our side. This isn’t a bad thing, ladies and gents!

  • I Give Face

    Didn’t know Russia was soooo Homophobic, must be full of Black people, Eh?

  • Brandon

    I give face-STFU rac_ist hypocrite.

  • paza

    as Billy explained I didnt know that a stay at home mom able to get paid $7613 in a few weeks on the computer. have you read this webpage >N u TtYR i Ch D ot c om

  • Malcolm

    When has Madonna ever done anything for gay rights? With her billions she can’t even be bothered setting up an LGBT youth homeless facility or the equivalent of Gaga’s “Born This Way” foundation. God knows she’s had plenty of opportunity. I get sick and tired of braindead Madonna followers pretending she’s offered anything other than the occassional glib reference from a concert stage. As with her non-exisant “singing”, the woman is a fraud. Let’s not forget the last time she was in Russia, she actually thanked the Lord Ma yor of Moscow for having her, while he was in the midst of violently repressing gay rights marches and protests. Madonna said nothing. And I notice that her penchant for making money has trumped any and all human rights issues in Russia. Go Madonna-go right away. Just disappear.

Comments are closed.