A Gay Kiss Ruined the Peace Parade, Says Russia

Sep 23, 2014 at 11:10 AM ET

There is nothing so pure that it can’t be ruined by a healthy dose of homophobia.

Moscow saw its first big anti-war protest on Sunday, the so-called Peace March. Thousands of Russians demonstrated against the Kremlin’s involvement in eastern Ukraine. Two people, however, became the focus of the march among its opponents and were instantly held up as a symbol of how the event ran contrary to all that is Russian—two gay men protesting against the war in Ukraine, sealed with a kiss.

Anti-Maidan protesters—who support separatists in Ukraine—co-opted a photo of the two men smooching, one with a Ukrainian flag painted onto his face and the other with a Russian flag painted on his, and used it to launch an Internet campaign to discredit the rally and its supporters.

“This is not a #PeaceMarch… It’s some kind of #GayParade.”

The photo first appeared on news site Russian Spring and was reposted hundreds of times in the 24 hours after, mostly by people criticizing the Peace March. (We trawled through 46 pages of Google Image results for one version of it, the majority of which were pretty scathing.)

While the original intention of the photo opp was to represent peace between Ukraine and Russia through a symbol of acceptance, the picture was mostly shared by people either hating on the gays or questioning the very motive of the march, because everyone knows gays don’t get a say in war. And on that last point, we’re sure this group of totally straight Russian soldiers singing Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” would agree.