Russian Actor Begs Putin to Fully Criminalize LGBT People

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on January 08 2014 6:08 PM ET

The Russian sitcom actor who recently advocated incinerating gay people in ovens just asked President Vladimir Putin to double down on the Kremlin's state-sponsored homophobia. 

Last summer Russia's parliament unanimously approved — and Putin signed into law — a nationwide ban on "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" in venues accessible to minors, essentially criminalizing any positive depiction or discussion of LGBT identities. But that's not anti-LGBT enough for Ivan Okhlobystin, the star of a popular Russian sitcom loosely based on the American medical comedy Scrubs. 

In an open letter to Putin ultimately published on Russia's Facebook-equivalent social networking site, VKontakte, Okhlobystin said the so-called gay propaganda ban didn't go far enough "because the existence of officially registered societies of homosexuals is by itself a direct advertisement of homosexuality," reports the Moscow Times.

Okhlobystin, a defrocked Orthodox priest, asked the Russian president to reinstate a Soviet-era law that made same-sex sexual relations punishable by imprisonment, notes the Times.

Okhlobystin made headlines late last year when he told a studio audience that he wanted to burn gay people alive in ovens because they were a danger to his children. His argument that gay Russians should be stripped of the right to vote received overwhelming applause from the audience, according to multiple reports.