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Russians Threatened With Conscription and Gay Homestays in Presidential Campaign Ad


A video calling on Russians to vote in the presidential elections next month has raised controversy over appeals to fear based on homophobia and racism. 

The three-minute video paints a dystopian future facing those who fail to show up at the polls on March 18, with a slew of comically absurd laws. A 52-year-old man dreams that he is drafted into a multi-ethnic army, harassed by a communist son for donations and forced to limit his daily number of bathroom visits. 

Arguably the most egregious outcome of the man’s decision not to vote is a law assigning each family with a “gay homestay” for a week. 

“If he doesn’t find himself a pair, then you’ll have to be with him,” the man’s wife says. 

“The law is the law,” a flamboyantly-dressed homestay tells him before suggestively biting into a banana.

Svetlana Galka, the actress who played the wife in the video, told the Govorit Moskva radio station that she was unaware of who had ordered the campaign ad and dismissed accusations of homophobia. 

“This is simply a humorous promo, so what?” she said. 

Russia’s Metro newspaper claimed in an article Sunday that the “viral” video was viewed more than 3 million times, although the actual video it linked to only had 3,500 views in the two days since it appeared online. The same video published under a different title a day earlier had just over 128,000 views.

The outlet said it did not have information about who was behind the video.

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