By now you’ve all read the reports and watched the video of Hovi Star recounting his unfortunate experience at the Moscow Airport. Passport officers allegedly harassed and humiliated him, ripping up some pages of his passport in the process.

It was an unfortunate incident, but one Hovi handled like a pro. In his remarks he made it clear those officers don’t represent all of Russia — and they certainly don’t represent the country’s Eurovision 2016 act Sergey Lazarev. “I don’t take it personally,” Hovi said. “I have to tell you, I really like Sergey Lazarev, I really like his song, and I like Russia. I’ve been there many times.”

In the aftermath of the incident, some Eurovision fans have expressed concerns about Russia potentially hosting Eurovision 2017 and what that might mean for LGBT fans.

So on April 24 we caught up with Dmitry Melknikov, a Russian Eurovision fan who organises the popular Russian Eurovision Pre-Party in Moscow every year. He’s very active within the Eurovision community and you may recognise him from his carpool karaoke video with The Tolmachevy Sisters.

Dmitry expresses his sympathies over Hovi’s experience and explains that officials have requested to examine the CCTV footage from passport control. He’s confident that any wrongdoers will be punished.

He also seeks to allay fan fears about Russia potentially hosting in 2017.

He points out that the media’s coverage of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws typically ignores some other more positive realities. “We have a lot of young people now who were raised with new attitudes,” he says. “They are used to any genre or personalities in the pop culture.”

Should gay fans be concerned about potential harassment if Russia hosts Eurovision next year?

“If you go on the streets you can see everyone. And the Russian people don’t like to express their emotions,” he says. “In Moscow nobody cares about you. Everybody is busy with his own business.”

On a practical level, he believes authorities would do everything in their power to ensure a smooth Eurovision. After all, it’s wildly popular in Russia and considered a prestigious event.

“Russia is one of the most active and biggest countries in the Eurovision family,” he says, pointing out that Russia has more top three finishes than any other country.

“If Russia will host Eurovision next year, I am 100% sure that everything would be fine.”

Read more Russia Eurovision news here

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Laika is flying in the space...
Laika is flying in the space...
4 years ago

@Anton “To hit a woman or any human and even an animal in Russia is a crime, belive it or not!” NO! Never believe cruel and hypocritical Russian laws. In 2014 preparing for the Olympic Games the Russian authorities burned thousand of homeless animals in mobile crematoriums ALIVE! They didn’t want to spend their time to kill them, before to burn there bodies – the officials were in a hurry to report to their bosses, that everything was ready for the Games. If Russia wins this year, they likely will decide to host Eurovision in Sochi in 2017. So, it’s… Read more »

Fatima
Fatima
4 years ago

Anton, do you know the meaning of the phrase “the lady doth protest too much” ? In our house, we think it applies to you.

gal
gal
4 years ago

@Anton
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N30czLzqQa4
look at this video please its a party in Israel with a some of the contestant( also Sergei lazarov) the hosts of this party were Israeli drag queens end every one danced and enjoyed very much even Sergei danced near the drag queens.. i’m Asking you is this kind of party could hopped in Russia in front of the media??

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Anton Cut the Bullisht please!!!! AND NEVER COMPARE THE LIBERAL AND FREE AMERICA TO DICTATOR RUSSIA!! READ THIS: Russian lawmakers have drafted a bill that would criminalise any “demonstration of one’s distorted sexual preferences in public places.” The new law would make any public display of “non-traditional sexual relations” an offence that could lead to 15 days in prison and a fine. It would build on top of Russia’s existing broad ‘gay propaganda’ law, which bans the ‘promotion’ of homosexuality anywhere children can see. Ivan Nikitchuk, Communist party MP and one of the drafters of the new bill, told a… Read more »

from the Internet:
from the Internet:
4 years ago

@Anton: You can not walk naked on the streets. Is it anti-nudist law? No! – YES. In legal contemplation such kind a law is an anti-nudist law. About the anti-gay law: The statute amended the country’s child protection law and the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses, to make the distribution of materials promoting “non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors, including materials which contain “notions of attractiveness” of non-traditional sexual relationships, present “distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships”, or information that “raises interest in” non-traditional sexual relationships, an offense punishable by fines.… Read more »

jmflo
jmflo
4 years ago
Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Anton I was wondering when you’re going to bring up the old Gitmo/Capital PUnishment debate. I can’t think of a single American who’s actually proud of Gitmo or the “black sites”. Opinions on the matter range pretty much from one of the worst things we did to a unfortunate but necessary evil, given the nature of the majority of prisoners incarcerated there. FUN FACT: Promoting either side on the streets won’t get you put in jail, even if there’s children present. Most of us prefer to raise our children with guidance, but opent minds, so they can make their own… Read more »

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

And you demand a gay pride on the Red Square. It’s just ridiculous!

@Pollaski

And what about a capital punishment in some states of the USA? And the secret prisons, where concicts have absolutely no rights? Is it humanistic?

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

Nice to see Anton’s aspirations for Mudda Rusha’s human rights record is “just above that of Saudi Arabia’s”

Way to reach for the stars, Anton!

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

@from the Internet: You can not walk naked on the streets. Is it anti-nudist law? No! So there’s no such thing as «anti gay laws» – there’s laws for the defence of the children. Anyway, the main Russian court concluded: «the prohibition of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors was intended for protection of the constitutional values such as family and childhood, preventing harmful effects on child’s health and moral development, and neither affected individual autonomy, including the right to sexual self-determination of a person, nor censured non-traditional sexual relations as such, including the right to freedom of expression… Read more »

from the Internet:
from the Internet:
4 years ago

@Anton: Stop mentioning “anti gay laws”. There’s no such thing in Russia.

Anton, isn’t it time for you to stop your blatant lying? 🙂

Russian LGBT propaganda law – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_LGBT_propaganda_law

also:
LGBT rights in Russia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_rights_in_Russia

Fatima
Fatima
4 years ago

Anton tells us “To hit a woman or any human and even an animal in Russia is a crime, belive it or not! What you are watching is just the anti-russian propaganda.” Stop your bleating about “propaganda”, it was nothing like that. I was actually watching a Russian TV programme, featuring Russians, in Moscow. It was called Dom-2 on TNT. I saw a man hit a woman and thought he’d be expelled the next day, but they just carried on as if nothing happened. What was shocking to me was that everyone else just sat and watched. In my country,… Read more »

David Who
David Who
4 years ago

I’m loving how a comments thread about a response to alleged homophobic abuse has somehow turned into flirting between a man and a woman. C’est la vie, i suppose. 🙂
And, i see there are no lawyers around (referring to my previous comment).

jmflo
jmflo
4 years ago

If we consider ESC as only a song contest, Sergueï Lazarev possesses many qualities for winning. But do we wan’t a huge event to be organized by a country where lgbt people are discriminated ? Some would say yes, that it would put the focus on what russian lgbt condition still is and maybe improve it ; some would say no because it would help a non democratic country to make its own promotion. In fact, I would say that even if we CAN’T close the eyes on what russian gay people are living, an artist should not have to… Read more »

karminowe.usta
karminowe.usta
4 years ago

I really like Sergey`s song so I would vote for “You are the only one”. In my opinion we should vote for artist not country and politics. All countries mistake – in Poland government breaks democracy and law, in Russian Putin struggles with LGBTQ, in Germany government was silent about molestation women in Koln. Despite this we should vote for artists and songs.

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Pollaski
cool we joke a little bit… its better then to argue all the time about Russia, homophobia and so 🙂 any way i hope all the readers here will vote for hovi 🙂
Thanks bitches and come visit the beautiful israel!! 🙂

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

Yeah. Lets not make things awkward here.

I”m not in the market for anything. At all. Whatsoever.

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Skandar
HHHHHHH No I’m not angry at you at all after we argue a little bit… so what? , I’m sure You are very cute.. but you are not free so good luck with your girlfriend/wife.. we can be friends.. from where are you? 🙂

Skandar
Skandar
4 years ago

@OR I have thought we are on bad terms after ‘Sausage party’ article. I am glad we are not. I can give you 4 informations: straight, guy, not free, not in Israel. 😀

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Skandar
Its good for me because i’m a female israeli girl at her early 30 , so on the paper it can work out lol 🙂 and you? from where are u? how old? and are you gay?

Skandar
Skandar
4 years ago

@OR I promised that I will leave this article but I think a lot of readers are very curious whether it is good or bad for you the fact that Pollaski is a straight american guy in his early 30s. 😀

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Pollaski
HHHHHHHHHHHHH You are so funny!! hovi would say to u “u are so funny bitch” 🙂

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@OR

I might be fat but that is NO reason to use the plural!

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Pollaski You a men , right?? hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
its funny i forget to ask you that

X
X
4 years ago

@ From the Internet

yes, there was a problem back in 2009. Malena Ernman (Sweden) was very clear that she supported the LGBT community, and she felt threatened and had a rather unpleasant experience in Moscow …

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Margaret
Thanks for supporting Hovi 🙂 kissess from israel

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Pollaski
So come to israel we can meet 🙂 🙂 if u are single ofcourse 🙂
U know if America would Participate at the eurovision i’m sure it will give israel 12 points
there is a blocking votes every year and its not fair to a country like israel!!

georgekirkas
georgekirkas
4 years ago

@Pollaski

That comment was hilarious! Thank you for making my day!

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Skandar

Totally 100% agreed. Although I’m not sure block voting isn’t partially due to the advantage of familiarity (it makes sense that adjacent countries would like the same thing) instead of politics.

@OR
Early 30s, and straight.

Margaret
Margaret
4 years ago

Dear Hovi, the whole Europe stands with you! <3

Skandar
Skandar
4 years ago

Just a last comment and I will leave you to discuss forward.
Voting or not voting for a country because of laws and politics is ridiculous.
It is a song contest everybody should vote based on the quality of music. (ok block voting is existing but IMO it is harmful also)
I will not vote for Russia cause I do not like the song, not because of hating or loving Putin’s actions.

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Pollaski
Now i understand why i agree with your comments, after all america and israel are like one family 🙂 how old are u? are you gay? (u dont have to answer if u think its too rude of me to ask) 🙂

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@georgekirkas

You lost me at animals are equal to humans. Then I had lunch. It was a giant, juicy, hamburger made from the ground up flesh of a dead cow. It was delicious.

georgekirkas
georgekirkas
4 years ago

@Pollaski

Have you understood my previous comment?

niko
niko
4 years ago

The comments here make me to be embarrassed that I am an ESC fan. Seriously, for wanting not to be judged, the people here surely share a ton of judgement and hatred towards the organizer of the party who did nothing wrong except being born Russian.

niko
niko
4 years ago

The comments here make me to be embarrassed that I am an ESC fan. Seriously, for wanting to to be judged, the people here surely share a ton of judgement and hatred towards the organizer of the party who did nothing wrong except being born Russian.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@OR

I live in Washington State. I’m not a journalist, but I do consider myself an independent, amatuer analyst, generally in the vein of American sports (particularly college football). I find Eurovision a fun concept though, and a good diversion during one of the more dead times of the year for my interests.

Johnston
Johnston
4 years ago

Barei did not stigmatize Russia. If you recieve lots of negative feedback about Russia from Eurovision fans and then you first-hand experience this incident, what do you expect from her to think about this whole issue?

I want to take her words from the video firstly, before taking them from a interview transcription. In the video she says: “I’m fine with Sergey winning, but I understand the concerning of fans about the LGBT laws in Russia”.

That’s all I care about.

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

Plus OR and Pollaski have found each other 🙂

Skandar
Skandar
4 years ago

I try to summarize my point of view regarding this topic.
Victim: Hovi
Victim: Sergey and Russian people
Bad guys: Russian government and some stupid guys in the airport
Bad guys: Haters of Russia on this site
Hero: Barei (defending Hovi)
Bad girl: Barei (discrediting Sergey and stigmatizing Russia, If I were gay I would not vote for Russia)

OR
OR
4 years ago

@Pollaski
I like your comments and your point of view , i think like u most of the time!! you also write in a very intelligent way… are you a journalist? and where are u live?

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@OR

Thanks for the compliment.

But what exactly have I done or said to indicate I’m even “nice” in the first place?

georgekirkas
georgekirkas
4 years ago

@OR

Thank you for the advice!

OR
OR
4 years ago

@georgekirkas
Hi again. i just wanted to tell u that dont waist your time to answer Anton… its clear that we cant change his opinions, you and i come from the free world and he lives some where else.. all is left is to really feel sorry for him… wish u all the best!!
[email protected] i gave u a compliment and i defended u in my comments and you Not write me anything back its not nice 🙂 🙂

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

Pollaski
No. I really think that Amir is a clear winner this year. So relax.

georgekirkas
georgekirkas
4 years ago

@Pollaski

I agree with your first paragraph , I know I was wrong but it is just so annoying! Anton keeps mentioning this thing all the time and they are totally ignoring everything else!

You didn’t understand, though, my point about the animals. I know it may sound weird to you, but I think that animals are equal to humans. As you can see in their comment, Anton said “EVEN an animal” and that’s why I’m criticizing this. Finally, I had forgotten that animal abuse is a crime in my country, Greece.

Pollaski
Pollaski
4 years ago

@Anton

You tilting, bro?

Getting a little salty there?

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

OK. We all get it. Amir is the winner. So leave Sergey and Russia alone already. Relax, you are not going to the “dark and violent” Russia, bros.

Jeremy
Jeremy
4 years ago

I like The russian song The most but Barei is right. I Will NOT vote for russia.

RUSSIA 0 points out of Eurovisión

Anton
Anton
4 years ago

Stop mentioning “anti gay laws”. There’s no such thing in Russia. But the anti- russian propaganda, obviously, is there. Especially in Europe and the USA.