Russian Staging of Classic Play Cleared of 'Gay Propaganda' Accusations

The country's media watchdog found no "illegal content" in a South Russian production of Gogol's "The Government Inspector."

MOSCOW -- The first probe into a Russian theater play under the new law against "gay propaganda" found no illegal content in the staging of Nikolai Gogol's classical play Revizor (The Government Inspector) by a local theater in South Russia.

At a concerned parent's request, Roskomnadzor, the Russian media watchdog, examined The Government Inspector, staged by the Krasnodar Drama Theater.

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In one of the scenes, the postmaster opens his uniform to reveal women's lingerie underneath, which gave the authorities reasons to probe the play. Children over 12 years old were allowed to attend performances, making it subject to possible violations of the national law against gay propaganda targeted at minors, which was enacted last summer.

Other scenes in the play were also examined to determine whether they might "harm children," but Roskomnadzor found no signs of "gay propaganda" in the play and confirmed its "12+" restriction in a statement on the agency's website.

The theater also denied any dubious content in the play, saying in a statement on its web site that the staging contained some risque scenes in a bid to get younger audiences interested.

The case comes as the first official probe into a theatrical play over alleged "gay propaganda," but there have been similar accusations against other theater pieces. Last month, someone covered the walls of St. Petersburg's Maly Drama Theater with inscriptions accusing the recent play based on Thomas Mann's Death in Venice of "gay propaganda."

Earlier this year, Russian Parliament member Sergei Zheleznyak accused Christopher Alden's rendition of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which had received Russia's Golden Mask theater prize, of "distorting" the original play by adding "elements of pedophilia."