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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.

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