Rammstein’s Onstage Kiss in Moscow Boldly Protests Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws
Bucking potential imprisonment, “Paulchard” of Rammstein stood up for LGBTQ rights with a bold kiss on stage in Moscow.
German heavy metal band Rammstein doesn’t seem like a likely ally for the LGBTQ community, but they have sealed their support with a kiss onstage in Russia this week.
The kiss came at the end of the band’s song “Auslander” during their concert in Moscow. It was posted on the band’s Instagram account with the caption “Russia we love you,” in Russian. In just two days, the photo has been liked over a quarter of a million times.
Russia was clearly targeted by the band due to its notorious anti-gay laws including one that passed in 2013 against “gay propaganda”—prohibiting LGBTQ themes being shown to minors under the age of 16. Punishment can include imprisonment and fines.
Earlier this summer, a controversy ensued when theaters in Russia censored the new film, Rocketman, a biopic about openly gay rock icon, Elton John. Scenes featuring gay sex or men kissing were omitted, as well as a simple caption at the end that referred to John’s marriage to his husband.
Reports have shown that the Russian audience responded with overwhelming acceptance to the kiss onstage this week. No reports have been made about any legal repercussions for the band, which could include arrest and detainment for up to 15 days for foreigners, then deportation or fines up to 5,000 rubies.
This isn’t the first time Rammstein has publicly expressed their support for the LGBTQ community – they’ve waved Pride flags in Poland as a response to anti-LGBTQ efforts there, and they’ve been including the kiss during their European tour, usually to the same song (“Auslander”). In fact, fans have combined the names of the two guitarists who engage in the smooching (Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe) into the moniker “Paulchard.”
Although it’s a small physical gesture and even insignificant in more liberal nations, it’s shocking and provocative in a country like Russia, where consequences are allegedly severe, and citizens are not accustomed to embracing such ideology publicly.
Rammstein, which once released a number-one song in Germany named after a woman’s reproductive organ and featuring a pornographic music video to accompany it in 2009, has been active since 1995. Signed with Universal Music, Rammstein’s untitled seventh studio album was released in May 2019 and reached No. 1 in fourteen countries.