22 Russians Who We Won't Let Vladimir Putin Forget Were LGBT

Let's remember all the great Russians we do love, and don't throw the baby out with the vodka.

BY Christopher Harrity

August 06 2013 6:00 AM ET

Are you boycotting the 2014 Olympics in Sochi? Are you pouring your Russian vodka down the loo? Another way to show your support for Russian LGBTs is by remembering these wonderfully talented, beautiful, and iconoclastic figures from the country's history.


Above: Ivan the Terrible Showing His Treasury to Jerome Horsey by Alexander Litovchenko. Jerome Horsey was the ambassador of Queen Elizabeth I of Great Britain, and got to know Tsar Ivan IV fairly well during his time there. Behind Ivan can be seen Fyodor, his heir.

Ivan IV (The Terrible, 1530-1584, reigned from 1533)
First off, when we say "terrible" here, we imagine it more like: "Oh Muriel, you're terrible!" There is speculation that a more literal translation would be "formidable." A composer and a poet, Ivan was the first ruler to be crowned tsar of all Russia. In his final years as tsar he vaccilated between extremes. It was all party or all austerity. He married seven times, but what really seemed to keep his samovar brewing was men in female attire. One of the most viscious lieutenants of Ivan's political police, Feodor Basmanov, rose to power by performing seductive dances in women's clothes in Ivan's court. (Sources: Queerhistory.blogspot.com and Wikipedia)

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