Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

TikTok Users Turn Russian Pro-War Song Into ‘LGBT Anthem’

Singer Shaman (Yaroslav Dronov). Pelagia Tikhonova / Moskva News Agency

A song by the Russian pro-war pop star Shaman is being used in TikTok videos showing same-sex couples embracing, a trend that appears aimed at ironically juxtaposing “extremist” LGBTQ+ lifestyles with the song’s militaristic overtones.

“Moy Boy,” whose title translates into English as “My Fight,” features the lyrics “I’m Russian, I go to the end,” while its accompanying music video shows scenes of camouflaged Russian soldiers serving in occupied eastern Ukraine.

Some listeners have reinterpreted “Moy Boy” into a more literal anglicization of the phrase “My Boy” and used it as background music for TikToks in which they show their queer relationships.

Scores of these videos have appeared on TikTok since mid-March, with same-sex couples lip-syncing the chorus to “Moy Boy,” dancing and embracing each other. 

Some users thanked Shaman for the “beautiful song,” while others joked about hoping to see it performed at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2030.

The pro-LGBTQ+ reinterpretation of “Moy Boy” comes amid a deepening crackdown on LGBTQ+ people and lifestyles in Russia, which has seen at least two people charged for LGBTQ+ “extremism” over the past month.

Russia’s Supreme Court designated the “international LGBT movement,” which does not formally exist, as an “extremist” organization in November 2023. State financial watchdog Rosfinmonitoring added the “movement” to its list of “terrorists and extremists” in March.

The German translation of “Moy Boy” — “Mein Kampf” — has fueled accusations that Shaman, whose real name is Yaroslav Dronov, evokes “Nazi aesthetics” in his artistry.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more