PHOTOS: Russian Soccer Players Spark Gay Rumors With Suggestive Vacation Pics

Photos of Russian soccer players Alexander Kokorin and Pavel Mamaev on their holiday vacation in Miami. have gotten some fans wondering if the two players are a couple.

We’re leaning toward “not,” if only because Russia isn’t really known for supporting gays—especially not gay soccer players. If Kokorin, 21, and Mamayev, 24, were an item, the last thing they’d do is take intimate photos and blast them on social media.

It’s nice to see such easy affection between these two men—even if we don’t know any straight friends who lie naked on top of each in the bathtub.

Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 3.32.30 PM


Screen Shot 2013-01-01 at 7.58.14 PM




h/t: Outsports

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #alexanderkokorin #pavelmamaev #photos stories and more


  • Brian

    This intimacy between straight men is not uncommon in macho, conservative cultures. It is less common between straight men in liberal cultures because liberal men tend to be fearful of how others interpret their sexuality. In essence, liberal men think that someone will think of them as homosexual, something they don’t really like.

    Liberal men tend to be more feminized than conservative men because they have allowed women to control them. Allowing women to feminize them is how liberal men stay on good terms with women, and thus extract consent to sexual intercourse. It’s like a deal.

    In contrast, conservative men won’t tolerate women controlling them. They can engage in intimate male-male contact because there is no deal with women.

  • Lefty



    The bathtub picture is adorable.

  • Mr. Enemabag Jones

    The pool pic, and the pic by the truck definitely scream COUPLE! And a cute one at that.

  • PTBoat

    @Brian: Bullocks! Name your source for this ridiculous information. You seem to have flip flopped reality.

    Indeed, name your source of how the US is sexually liberal in comparison to the developed world.

  • hassia

    @Brian: Diet coke really is not good for you.

  • Kieran

    In today’s American culture this kind of activity between males would quickly be labeled “gay”. In the past it would be labeled “male bonding”.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @PTBoat: I have personally witnessed straight men of various ages holding hands, while walking and/or talking, in Italy, Greece, Brazil and Peru. When I inquired about that — what’s up with these guys holding hands, as my gaydar clearly indicated that the handholders were straight? All responses have been that that is their culture, means a close guy-guy non-sexual intimacy. I have heard that this type of intimacy is also found in Arab and Eastern European countries too.


    Well, in Russia pictures like that bathtub definitely mean gay and nothing else, and I’m really puzzled why the two football players would want to post them online. I’ve checked Russian news: Especially when one of the photos gets titled “I love him” and the players are actually from two competing teams, there remains no doubt they wanted to show their relationships. Maybe they got inspired by the recent coming out in big sports in the USA during their vacation in Miami? You could only wish them luck then. Unless it’s some kind of prank.

  • Dionte

    I wish I had known I could be straight and do all that stuff I never would have been gay.

  • unamerican

    You don’t know any straight friends who lie naked on top of each other in the bathtub because you are in the United States of America.

  • K!r!lleXXI

    As a person who’s actually lived in Russia his whole life, I can tell you, guys, that hands-holding and cheek-kissing between men is not something common in my country. In fact, I’ve never seen anything like that personally, and I could only hold hands with my boyfriends in cities like St. Petersburg and Moscow without having people look at us disapprovingly, while doing the same thing in my hometown could only end up making girls giggle at us and point fingers.

    I wouldn’t be surprised, though, to see Muslim men holding hands, that’s normal for them, but not those who by default consider themselves somewhat Orthodox Christian. Last name “Kokoev” suggests he’s not likely to be Muslim, while “Mamaev” suggests there is a good chance he might be Muslim, but not necessarily. I really don’t know what’s up with these pictures. They’ve been floating around for a couple of weeks now, and I haven’t heard of any scandals developing over that.

    Maybe there is a simple explanation, like, say, a prank of some sort. That would be my first guess, for it is really hard to imagine a worse time for two soccer players with their carriers on the rise to come out like that when the entire country is all up in arms about banning the so-called “propaganda of homosexuality” imposing serious fines to protect their children, g-d only knows from what.

    But, really, the sooner we stop noticing these things and just move on, the sooner the times will come when it wouldn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, man or woman, religious or not — if you’re a decent human being, that’s all that matters.

  • Cam

    Sorry, that picture in the blue sweats with the other guy just holding on to him and staring off screams couple.

    And before people start signing on claiming that men are more intimate in other countries…please check the country you are talking about. Russian men do NOT walk around holding hands and hugging each other.

    Looks like these two have gotten job offers in some other country and are coming out or something else like that.

  • Brian

    One thing I’ve noticed is that gay men don’t like it when straight-identifying men bond physically and intimately. It sort of makes gay rights redundant.

    In fact, when straight men bond intimately, it means that straight men are doing in public what gay men are generally afraid to do.

  • Cam

    @Brian: said…

    One thing I’ve noticed is that gay men don’t like it when straight-identifying men bond physically and intimately. It sort of makes gay rights redundant.”

    Wow, a little self hating are you?

    So lets see, gay guys are mad because if straight guys hold hands in public it means that the right to not be fired from jobs, legally marry, make end of life and medical decisions, adoption, etc… are redundant?

    Wow, I didn’t know that two straight guys holding hands meant all that.

  • Brian


    What it means is that straight men are bonding intimately without all the baggage that comes with having a sexual relationship. Such bonding represents the ascendant male and ascendant masculinity.

    Our society permits this form of male bonding even in America – witness the physical intimacy of straight guys after they’ve had a few drinks to loosen them up. Also, look at how men hug and sometimes kiss after scoring a goal in the Superbowl or NBA.

    Gay men generally resent the permission given to straight men to bond intimately. Gay men also resent the concept of ascendant masculinity.

  • Throbert McGee


    “Russian men do NOT walk around holding hands and hugging each other.”

    I haven’t lived in Russia since Clinton’s first term, but my memory is that it WAS common for straight Russian guys to walk with linked elbows (more often than straight guys in the US would do), and even quick hugs were okay. But actually palm-to-palm hand-holding? No. And the double (or triple) cheek-kiss occurred between adult men, but it seemed to be a formal thing associated with reunions after long separations, or maybe holidays. Russian guys who cheek-kiss their male friends every time they greet each other (even if they’d just seen each other the day prior) are unlikely to be straight.

    In short, my perception is that Russian culture does allow/expect SLIGHTLY more physical intimacy and closeness between heterosexual men than is typical in the US. So if you’re a gay American visiting Russia, you need to slightly readjust your gaydar. However, there is still a line that straight Russian guys don’t cross, because it would “look too gay” — and some of the pictures above cross that line. (Especially since there are only TWO guys in the pictures — big drunken group hugs are a different matter.)

  • Throbert McGee


    “Gay men also resent the concept of ascendant masculinity.”

    In order to resent it, I’d have to know what the hell “ascendant masculinity” even *means*.

    When I did a Google search for the phrase, about 95% of the hits were from astrology sites and talked about “fire and air signs” and whatnot; the other 5% were quite obviously from sociology or queer theory texts and rambled on about “colonialist hegemony”, etc.

  • Brian

    One thing I ‘ve noticed in America is that gay men will often refuse to hold their partner’s hand in the streets of places like Greenwich village that are supposedly liberal. I think American gay men are still fearful of the attitudes of men and women around them, whether it’s an attitude of surprise or shock at seeing two gay men holding hands.

  • blkluvla

    Haven’t lived in Russia, so I can’t say much about how intimate straight men are with each other there. However the “closeness” that these two soccer players have would strike me as crossing a line almost anywhere. In Africa, men commonly hold hands or sit closely to each other or lean against other, but there is a definite limit to the intimacy that would be seen as acceptable.

  • 2eo

    @Brian: I like Brian, he’s funny in an ill informed tosspot at the pub is.

    You don’t look at him, or speak to him, or want him to exist but he does and he peers over his empty glass to realise he has no friends, acquaintances or family to call upon.

  • noprah

    Is it wrong that we are even more turned on knowing that the guys are likely straight?


  • Throbert McGee

    @Throbert McGee:

    “Russian guys who cheek-kiss their male friends every time they greet each other (even if they’d just seen each other the day prior) are unlikely to be straight.”

    I can remember getting cheek-kissed by a straight Russian man at least once, but it was kind of “jokey,” and was in the context of teaching The American (me) about their “Bruderschaft” custom, where two guys drink a toast with linked elbows, the way that the bride and groom sometimes do at American wedding receptions. (Which among Russian men basically symbolizes that you have transitioned from New Acquaintances to Good Buddies, and thus you may henceforth address each other on a “nickname basis”.)

  • blkluvla

    @noprah: It’s incredibly hot to see straight men behaving like this.

  • Throbert McGee


    “Is it wrong that we are even more turned on knowing that the guys are likely straight?”

    Ah, that can be their cover story: “We’re not gay — we’re just throwing a bone to the Slash-Fangurlz demographic!”

  • Brian

    The more acutely aware you are of your sexuality, the more acutely aware you are of how others perceive your sexuality.

    This acute awareness controls how we behave as gay men. Even the most liberated amongst us will feel reticent about holding our partner’s hand in a street in New York City in case we offend a person walking by. Keep in mind that you only need one nut to utter a homophobic slur.

    Straight men have no such fear because the reason for their male-male intimacy is not based on a homosexual relationship. They perceive their intimacy as platonic and playful. Therefore, they perceive others as perceiving it that way, too.

    Society actually admires men who bond intimately for reasons that are not based on homosexuality.

  • DuMaurier

    @Kieran: Which past is that and where do I find a time machine???

  • indiancowboy

    @Brian: That’s simply not true. Gays in general love when straight men are intimate, personally I find it very touching. But I guess some gays are have mixed feelings and are sort of jealous if they don’t dare act like that or if they live in a place where it would be dangerous. I have no problems being holding hands and as early as long back as in the 80ies I was French kissing in the busiest street of Oslo ( admittedly with a lot more attention than I expected, people gathered around me and my boyfriend and some (mainly young women) clapped while a few (young men) booed, mainly. By the way some Russian men don’t only kiss on the cheek, they do it also on the mouth, especially when being drunk. Some European football players (soccer) also have started to kiss on the mouth after a goal. @Brian:

  • kayakriver

    @The Real Mike in Asheville: dunno who told you that, but if two guys hold hands in Peru or Brazil they are quickly called fags, I guarantee you. There’s no ‘male bonding’ between straight guys.

  • Brian


    I suppose that what we can deduce from this is that there are cultural differences in how people react to male-male intimacy. In India, Pakistan and the Middle East, it is completely normal for two men to hold hands as they walk down the street.

  • casey

    Except that they will both be safe, who cares. It’s eye candy for these tired old eyes that have seen more than their fair share of hate against gay persons.

  • Dominickj

    This looks like their next move would be to take asylum here.

  • blkluvla

    The straight men that fascinate me are the ones who feel comfortable hanging around a gay friend or who don’t feel threatened if their gay friend shows affection. I have a couple of friends like that and I am gratified by their trust.

  • kayakriver

    looking at all the pictures, no freakin way they are straight lol.

  • Brian

    A lot of you fail to distinguish between homo-sensuality and homosexuality. Homo-sensuality is a real phenomenon that has existed since time began. It involves men getting sensual with each other but not for the purpose of sexual intercourse. It’s a sharing form of sensuality.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @kayakriver: No one told me — as I wrote, I witnessed myself men, obviously straight, holding hands while walking in Rio and Manus in Brazil and in Lima in Peru.

  • blkluvla

    @Brian: And Africa too

  • Throbert McGee

    By the way, I would point out that the user comments on the linked Russian site ( range from “pro-gay” to “anti-homophobia but not really pro-gay” to “rather anti-gay but with decorous language” to “f*gg*t f*gg*t f*gg*t!!!”.

    It seemed to me that homophobic posts outnumber the supportive ones, but Russian isn’t my native language and I’m not sure about the correct translation of some of the slang — plus, irony/sarcasm in Russian often goes over my head. So some of the posts that I took to be homophobic may have been intended as sarcastic anti-homophobia — or maybe they were genuinely homophobic; I can’t tell.

    Still, it was encouraging to see some Russians — even those who seemed uncomfortable with homosexuality — at least scolding other Russians for using the extremely hostile words equivalent to “f*g” (many of which, incidentally, derive from “pederast”).

  • Brian

    Sensuality between men who describe themselves as straight is common in the USA. Here’s a video of some young men from Tennessee who did a cover of Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen. They called it Call Me Gaybe and posted it on YouTube where it has nearly 7 million hits. Good clean heterosexual fun:

  • LadyLady

    Sometimes I feel like Queerty and other gay sites are exploiting people. What if they are gay and not out of the closet yet? What right does Queerty have to wave these pictures around and encourage the violation of their privacy? Aren’t we suppose to support one another rather then encourage drama in peoples life?

  • Rockery

    umm that pic by the jeep is making me think otherwise

  • Rockery


    What is wrong with you? These were posted online by them probably instragram/FB how is that exploiting them? Queerty did not pull these off their private hard drive and post them

  • Hansolo

    ummm…really….I don’t even have a bath with my gay friends and the last time I had a bath with a friend I was 5 maybe 6. Their gay.

  • blkluvla

    @Brian: Good clean heterosexual fun.
    LOL. Yeah, real heterosexual

  • mz.sam

    So HOT…I’d love some Russian sandwich!

  • David Gervais

    Surely there is someone in Miami who speaks Russian, perhaps one or Queerty’s readers in Miami could arrange to to an interview?

  • Throbert McGee


    “So HOT… I’d love some Russian sandwich!”

    Incidentally, “sandwiches” in Russia were traditionally always “open face” — i.e., just ONE slice of buttered bread something on top of it (cheese or ham or smoked herring or whatever). So bring a friend along and you can each have your own Russian soccer player to make an “open-faced sandwich” with.

    (Yeah, they’ve got sandwiches between TWO pieces of bread, but these are something of a recent novelty and are still considered by some Russians to be an “imported American fad.”)

  • MudgeBoy

    This has been the most outrageously enlightening, entertaining, and rip-roarously funny set of postings that I read in a long long time. Perhaps we’ve all been uplifted by Brian’s pedantry, or then again, maybe there have been an enormously high percentage of honest responses. I think Brian’s a hoot, but when @Throbert McGee said that “In order to resent it, I’d have to know what the hell “ascendant masculinity” even *means*”, I laughed for at least 1/2 hour because I was thinking the exact same thing. And then McGee proceeded to prove that he had put forth a fairly noble effort to figure out what the hell it was but couldn’t find anything relevant. I noticed @Brian hasn’t responded to that, so one might assume that he (Brian) made it up. If he did, I don’t care ‘cuz it sounded great; like the distinction between homo-sensuality and homosexuality, or anything really. And I’m with the majority, these pics go way beyond an attempt at a “gag;” these boys are boy friends!

  • jim2008

    These men are in love, and they can’t help it. They just don’t know any other way to behave. They are in love.

  • Rooney

    @Brian: “This intimacy between straight men is not uncommon in macho, conservative cultures. It is less common between straight men in liberal cultures because liberal men tend to be fearful of how others interpret their sexuality. In essence, liberal men think that someone will think of them as homosexual, something they don’t really like.
    Liberal men tend to be more feminized than conservative men because they have allowed women to control them. Allowing women to feminize them is how liberal men stay on good terms with women, and thus extract consent to sexual intercourse. It’s like a deal.
    In contrast, conservative men won’t tolerate women controlling them. They can engage in intimate male-male contact because there is no deal with women.”

    Translation from fucked up Nambla activist to English: “I’m into very young boys and bitches are cramping my style.”

  • hephaestion

    Brian is right. I’ve spent lots of time in Russia and Iran. Men are sometimes extremely affectionate in public in both countries. There are variations across both countries, though. I’ve had men in those conservative countries kiss me, hold hands with me while walking, put their hands on my thighs while talking, and told me they loved me. All in public. And they were not gay. It does seem that in a place where homosexuality is 100% taboo, straight men are often much more free to be intimate with other men. Go figure.

  • LadyL

    @Brian: You’re kidding us with all this “ascendant masculinity” pyscho-bs, right? C’mon, tell me you’re kidding.

    My best guess is that what gay men have a problem with is getting harassed or clobbered for doing the very same public “bonding” you seem to be saying straight-identifying men can do with impunity–not because such bonding “makes gay rights redundant.”

    And are you not listening to your own argument? What does it tell you about our society when straight men are permitted physical intimacy only really within the context of sports and drinking?

    And excuse me? Since when are straight men so fearless about how their physical intimacy with each other is perceived by others? To the contrary, my experience with straight men (including family members, friends, coworkers, neighbors, and random strangers in supermarkets) is that they do nothing BUT worry about how their behavior with each other is perceived. They may think their actions “platonic and playful” but in a society in cultural flux, a society that still struggles with its ambivalence about sexuality generally and homosexuality in particular, straight guys have no way of knowing for sure how others view them–and the not knowing makes them very uneasy. Sometimes the not knowing makes them downright dangerous. Especially when these hand-holding, straight-identifying men are maybe possibly probably not so straight.

  • LadyL

    @hephaestion: Go figure? It’s called repression, hephaestion. In a culture where it’s understood that homosexuality is absolutely not allowed to exist, it’s possible–I would guess advisable–to hide in plain sight for survival’s sake. In a place where gay is not permitted no one is going to see it, even if it’s right in front of them. (Which frankly makes me skeptical about how platonic another male placing his hand on your thigh or holding your hand as you walk together could actually be. I dunno, sounds like collective denial to me.)

  • LadyL

    @Rooney: Thank you. I was getting around to that, but you’ve made the point perfectly.

  • Daniel-Reader

    Russia has gone back to USSR days. Gay or straight, anyone would be joyful to get out of that hell-hole.

  • Red Meat

    Brian is correct, its just not as black and white as he stated it to be and its especially not a liberal/conservative thing. Its a cultural and intelligence thing. Most straight guys in the U.S would do it as a “joke”

  • dbmyers

    @K!r!lleXXI: Unless they are actually lovers and have decided to make history as co-martyrs to the gay rights cause in Russia and this is the bait to entice the Russian government into a cause celebre show trial. If they are, more power to them for unbelievable audacity and bravery! They would be world famous on a viral level!

  • dbmyers

    @noprah: Fantasize for yourself! I’m going with gay and they are still damned hot!

  • dbmyers

    @Rooney: Your interpretation of that statement makes it clear that you are either projecting or you are on a totally other planet!

  • Brian

    One of the interesting things I’ve noticed is that some gay men envy physical intimacy between men that does not lead to sex. There is this prevailing judgmental attitude among some gay men along the lines of “how dare you not be gay if you touch each other like that” or “come on, you can’t possibly be straight if you hug and cuddle like that”. It’s as if gay guys feel that they, and they alone, own the concept of male-male intimacy.

    Well, nobody owns anything. Male-male intimacy is not reserved for gay guys and nor does it always lead to sexual intercourse. In fact, throughout the world, there is more male-male intimacy that does NOT lead to sex than that which leads to sex.

  • dutchman67

    That’s probably the most ignorant, homophobic, idiotic statement ever written here. Unless this is “sarcasm,” you are Felony Stupid.

  • Brian


    Have you never heard the judgmental banter between gay guys? I have. It’s not nice. Gay men can be extremely judgmental especially in an envious sense.

  • Joincny

    @Brian: You have some whacked out ideas about gay men. It’s like you don’t really know any.

  • dralockhart

    @Brian: As someone about to complete an MD and move forward into psychiatry, I have no qualms about saying this: you’re very pseudo. Everything that spills out of you is a generalization based on your own limited experience and presuppositions. Is it that you’re a self-loathing gay man and project that self-hate onto other gay men? I can’t figure it out, but every time you go on one of your know-it-all (read: know-nothing) rants, all I can think is that I’m going to need a shovel to get out of here.

  • Rusty

    @ Casey, I agree. At sixty-one I feel life was so hard on us when we were young. At fourteen my sixteen year old lover and I were such closet cases and were always worried how the world viewed us. We could not show affection or even touch each other publicly. We didn’t come out until later. I saw so much hate and constant ridicule that now when I see things like this; boys holding hands, with their arms around each other or kissing I feel great that today’s generation can be who or what they are and I’m hoping as each year goes by things will get better and people will stop judging and ridiculing boys and men for being affectionate toward each other gay or not.

  • Daggerman

    …what on Earth is this? Seems to me the Football association is simply jealous or worried. The young men here display a loving true honesty. We are all now well into the 21st century I cannot tolerate ‘idiots’ who can’t see that homosexuality is a normal and healthy way of life—if it ain’t your kind of thing then shut-up and mind your own business! FACT..

  • LadyL

    @Rusty: Cheers, Rusty. Your comment is so touching I wish there was a mechanism ala YouTube that would allow me to give you a “thumbs up.” As it is I’ll just have to say thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  • Tango

    @dralockhart: I really have to agree with you. Brian is obviously so immeshed in his own pathology that he can’t see beyond himself to reason ANYTHING.

    What no one has touched on here and what is glaring about all behavior like this (if they are self-identified “straights”) is pretty simple: sublimation.

    The reason why some gays detest behavior like this (the joking intimacy/sensuality between straights) isn’t because they are jealous or turned on (the healthy ones at least). It’s because male intimacy is so repressed that the only time it is ok to express it is when you do so by making it clear you are “straight” and they do so by making it into a joke. Straight men are prone to do this because they have to find some way to compensate for their lack of intimacy, so their over the top joking behavior is a way to sublimate their lack of intimacy with one another while simultaneously making fun of the intimacy so as to reaffirm their heterosexuality and thereby paint homosexuality as a joke.

    The reason why some gays detest this behavior is that homophobic straight men claim that male intimacy is undesirable and then turn around and give themselves the freedom to display the intimacy on their own terms. There are rules for male intimacy for heterosexuals and one of the rules is that it must make a mockery out of those whom are intimate in ways outside of the rules decided on by heterosexuals. That is why their intimacy is always over-the-top, an act, rough housing, or only done in a way that reaffirms to any observer that they are heterosexual and, for the most part, simply joking around.

    The reason why some gays detest this behavior is because it’s completely unnecessary and borne of homophobia. If the same people who turn male intimacy into a joke didn’t do so, everyone would be free to engage in male-to-male intimacy (straight men and gay men). All males need male-to-male intimacy, but many straight males are made insecure by it due to faulty connections formed between sexuality and gender. If the very same men who sublimate male-to-male intimacy by making it into a joke didn’t do so then all males would be free to simply be intimate, sensual, or affectionate with one another without fear of reprisals.

    The reason why some gays detest this behavior is because it’s a reminder that being gay is undesirable, and straight men are given the power to dictate what is desirable and undesirable. So while on the one hand they say that male-to-male intimacy of any kind is undesirable, they have created situations in which they get to openly engage in it and it’s acceptable, while at the same time they make it a spit in the face to men who aren’t heterosexual by turning them into yet another joke.

    The reason why some gays detest this behavior is because it allows straight men to have their cake, eat it, and then smash it in the face of non-straight men.

  • Lefty

    They look so sweet together and so happy (and at perfect ease with it) that it’s wonderful whatever. But for those reasons alone, I hope they are lovers (it seems obvious to me that they are).
    Either way, how is this anything other than a beautiful, uplifting and joyous thing to see?
    It makes me feel glad to be alive seeing such affection and love.

  • DanteL

    I cannot comment on whether these two are gay or not because, you know, I don’t know them personally but this is not uncommon in European countries at all. To them it’s not about sexuality…it’s about their culture and how they relate to each other as men. I hate how people always view things with an American/Western lens. Newsflash: Not everyone acts like an American or thinks like an American or has the same views on physical bonding/intimacy that Americans do.

  • Throbert McGee

    One belated thought I had on this thread: Students of Russian history may be familiar with the phrase _slavofily i zapadniki_ (“Slavophiles and Westernizers”). The Westernizers were Russians who said “Hey, the West has found a good solution to such-and-such a problem; let’s imitate their solution.” But the Slavophiles said “No, we must solve the problem in a uniquely Slavic way that fits our **Russian specialness**, instead of aping the West’s foolish decadance!”

    And IMHO, this age-old “slavofily i zapadniki” debate is observable in modern Russian gay politics. Consequently, when Russians express opposition to gay rights or call for bans on gay websites and gay parades, etc., *sometimes* the motivation is pure homophobia, but other times I think there’s an underlying mentality that the gay-rights concept is an alien Western import that real Russians don’t need, along with McDonalds and Valentine’s Day cards and rap music or whatever. (Even among progressive Russians who generally support “rights for sexual minorities,” there are some who insist that openly homosexual Russians should be openly homosexual in a “Russian way,” instead of copying the flawed Western model of “gayness”.)

    And I would suggest that this can be generalized to other countries as well: pure, outright homophobia is definitely a factor in opposition to gay rights, but often there’s a “we don’t need no stinkin’ Western imperialists telling us how to live” attitude, too.

    A lot of Western academics love to fret about “Orientalism” — i.e., a distorted and biased Western view of “the East” — but its mirror-counterpart “Occidentalism” is very much real, too. (I think this is a significant element in Uganda, for instance. Yes, homophobia is part of it, and Christian fanaticism is part of it, but an anti-colonialist, “homosexuality is an un-African invention of the West” mentality figures in too.)

  • Throbert McGee

    “who insist that openly homosexual Russians should be openly homosexual in a Russian way”

    For instance, by being “open” to one’s family members and close circle of friends, but closeted to the general public (and thus NOT organizing Pride Parades, etc.).

  • litper

    @DanteL: as a russian I can certainly tell you this is not usual to see two straight men here being like this, and this thing many would consider gay

  • Dkmensah

    I’m from Belgium and i’m openly gay and a lot of straight guys here would be considered gay because of their actions, touching and taking no consideration of each others personal space. It’s a culture thing. When str8’s get together they feel comfortable doing things like that because they know that the other wont get any ideas. Just because these guys are very touchy and fool around (bath tub pic) doesn’t mean they are attracted to each other.

  • seagull1970

    I am a gay westerner living in Moscow for 12 years now. My partner is Russian and we have been together for 10 years . Not that I am a cultural expert or anything–but these athletes are probably straight. This camaraderie is deeply rooted in Russian culture. In general, Russians are quite conservative socially in many ways but when straight men bond, they make deep friendships. There are many factors that contribute to this. Historically the collectives required people to work closely together. During Soviet times, not only did you work with your peers but you went on vacation with them to the same sanitarium. Classmates, historically have stayed together year after year as there was far less mobility during Soviet times. Someone from St. Petersburg couldn’t just decide to pick up and move to Moscow. One had to be assigned to a new job and have registration documents to establish residency. Obligatory military service also contributed to this.

    Another factor that is overlooked is that Russian men are expected by society to be macho and strong. This is what is portrayed publicly–and it is expected. The truth of the matter is that many Russians live in large cities occupying apartments. The women of the household usually run things. Wife and babushka tend to keep the men in line. They are pussycats at home and will dutifully fulfill the “macho” expectations that society and their families expect of them. They are to fix things, be good providers and are expected to be a strong wall that shields their family from anything.

    When Russian men leave their apartments and socialize with their peers they are simply bonding and having a good time. When I first arrived, it was not uncommon to see men arm in arm or hanging on each other. One cannot assume these people are homosexual at all. In fact, gay men would most likely NEVER show public displays of affection because society in general is intolerant. Gay bashings are not uncommon here.

    As for the men being naked in a bath together–this is not threatening for straight men in Russia. This is historical too. Long ago when people had to use banyas (bathhouses they heated outside their cabins) whole families would bathe nude together. To heat a banya took a lot of time and energy. It was an extended family affair. During Soviet times, banyas were all over the cities and men had to use the often–especially when cities shut off hot water supply for one month of every year to clean the pipes as there were old systems of centralized heating. It was customary to go with your friends, bring food, vodka and beer and hang out naked with your friends eating and drinking. This still exists in some ways to a small extent. In short, Russians are just not that hung up on nudity and don’t view it as a dirty thing as the puritanical North Americans do.

    Lastly, in the West, individualism is a value and often admired. In the East, society emphasizes fthe dynamic of working together as a group for a greater whole. The fact that these two athletes have such a close bond does not surprise me. They are team mates and have to work together. There is an old Russian saying when translated says, ” 100 friends are better than 100 rubles”. Russian society tends to value friendships as assets and they take friendships very seriously. One must be careful not to make such generalizations and look at other factors to understand human behaviors such as culture and historical practices.

  • WhyteRabbit

    @Brian: UGH you have so many comments on here that range from misogynistic to homophobic i can’t figure out if you are just a book-smart 12 year old, or a westboro troll out to poison the well. your first comment was nothing more than thinly veiled misogyny. Most of the comments that followed demonstrated an unhealthy amount of internalized homophobia; with this one, which we shall call “the redundant comment,” proving that you have no actual knowledge of what the struggle for gay rights is working towards. Then… omg… THEN there was the call me gaybe post which, since it was posted as an illustration of healthy hetero male intimacy showed me (finally) the truth of the matter: you have no concept of what homophobia ACTUALLY is. That video is one homophobic slice-of-life after another. It’s a bunch of under-aged jocks playing gay chicken.

  • Daggerman

    …what really is wrong with those uptight and fascist twits? They’re mad. I mean surely they ought to learn from the past experience ie: like when the Germans invaded them and caused a lot of destruction! Why are they acting like this towards homosexuality? There are many worse things in this life than being Gay, they need to develop a backbone or fuck-off!

  • Knut

    In many countries that are anti-gay, men can show very much affection towards each other without being called gay.

  • Daggerman

    …the blond one is very cute, I’d spank the spunk out of him!!

  • Sluggo2007

    It’s only in the U.S. that manly affection is looked down upon. That’s because this is a nation of homophobes.

  • charbo

    @Dionte: best comment!!!

  • jr111585

    Clearly none of us know if these two men are lovers or not, but I have to say that two heterosexual male friends hugging each other or giving each other a little peck or kiss, seeing each other naked in the showers or even bathing together, does NOT automatically mean they are gay or bisexual and in total lust and love. It very well could just be the fantasy of a lot of gays out there, but let’s be real now– legitimate heterosexual males can be touchy-feely and open in such ways, etc, etc… with each other without it having to mean that they are secretly fucking each other behind closed doors.

    Like a lot of the commenters on here posted much more eloquently than I ever could– two men showing affection to each other in Countries outside of our (quite advanced, yet still quite homophobic and highly ignorant) country of the Good Ol’ USofA., is NOT seen as ridiculous acts such as homosexual tendencies or feelings, etc… in the slightest. Rather, it’s all a show of respect, love, admiration, appreciation and happiness, etc, etc… Most wouldn’t even feel the need to blink an eye because a lot of them are much more comfortable in their skin and confident in themselves, unlike A LOT of my felllow Americans :-/

  • jr111585

    @Knut: That ARE anti-gay, or that are NOT anti-gay? ???

Comments are closed.