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CULTURE

Rammstein’s Onstage Kiss in Moscow Boldly Protests Russia’s Anti-Gay Laws

Rammstein in concert May, 2011. Location unknown. (Photo: Al Pavangkanan)
Rammstein in concert May, 2011. Location unknown. (Photo: Al Pavangkanan)

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.

View this post on Instagram

Россия, мы любим тебя! Photos: @jenskochphoto

A post shared by Rammstein (@rammsteinofficial) on

 

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.

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3 Comments

  1. Larry Stout August 2, 2019

    I’m an old guy, and old guys are infamous for being old-fashioned (i.e., out of touch, behind the times, defunct). Nevertheless, I cling to a notion of “common decency”, which includes keeping your private life (and that of others) private. Unfortunately, it seems that such notions are nowadays cast as illiberal (= “reactionary”).

    Who now wants to watch an f-ing movie lacking in dialog laced with f-ing (what once were known as) obscenities? So boring, eh? Never mind substance.

    If you think from this that I’m a prude, let me assure you that I am no such thing! But I will not provide you with the evidence that proves it.

    Reply
  2. Larry Stout August 3, 2019

    I think the limits of “shock value” have been thoroughly explored now by band concerts, lyrics, movies. Where’s the next frontier in shocking amusements? I suppose mowing down a few dozen people in a mall is a form of “free expression”, eh? Same as shouting “Allah hu akbar!” and detonating an explosive vest. Very demonstrative and uninhibited.

    Reply
  3. JudyLeduc August 4, 2019

    Bravo to these courageous men for making a simple and profound statement about the right to love whoever you choose, regardless of gender.

    Reply

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