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Other Main Cities/Resorts
St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg ,Samara, Omsk,Chelyabinsk, Kazan
Scene and Culture
Only a decade ago Russian gay life was underground but the collapse of communism has changed everything. Russian gays and lesbians have been liberated from the Soviet era constraints with homosexuality being decriminalised and general attitudes becoming more tolerant.
Russia still has a way to go on gay emancipation but the position has changed enormously beyond recognition. There has been a development of a western style gay scene in the larger cities with bars, clubs, saunas and gay organisations. The gay community is mostly visible in Moscow and St.Petersburg but in other cities it is still underground or non-existent. Russian gay culture however is very young and while older people opt for remaining in their closets, it is the younger generation who are much more open.
Attitudes take time to change and there are still pockets of prejudice and homophobia. For example there are reports of occasional raids on gay clubs and bars by the police.
On our recent visit to Moscow and St Petersburg we were very impressed with the huge strides made in Russia in so many aspects. There is a vibrant gay scene in both of these cities and add to that the fantastic sites of the Hermitage museum and the Kremlin makes this a very rewarding destination. Dont be put off by tales of lawlessness and poor service! You'll have a great time. Look out for the lovely naval cadets in St. Petersburg by the way!
Gay Age of Consent
Lesbian Age of Consent
Straight Age of Consent
Up until 1993 male homosexuality was illegal in Russia. In 1997 the Criminal code was amended to provide equal treatment for homosexual and heterosexual offences.
Whilst there is no domestic anti-discrimination legislation Russia is signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights. In 2005 a discrimination action was brought against Lomonosov Moscow State University who refused to accept a dissertation by a student called “Legal Status of Sexual Minorities”. This case is being considered by the Russian courts.
Gay groups have also been lobbying on the issue of gay partnership laws and the Duma Family committee requested copies of similar legislation from other countries. Attitudes are clearly changing.
Russia's climate is continental which means long cold winters and short warm summers. The best time to visit is during the summer from May to August/September.
The climate of East Siberia is severely continental while the northern areas have an arctic climate. In the southern areas of the Far East, the monsoonal climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean resulting in moderately warm and rainy summers while winter is cold with little snow. Throughout Russia, winters are cold while summers are hot in the south and relatively warm elsewhere. Snow cover lasts from 60 to 80 days in the south and from 260 to 280 days in the Far North with the northern areas of the Far East experiencing permafrost. Rainfall is highest in the westerly mountain regions which has an average annual precipitation of up to 2,000 mm while on the East European Plain it averages between 600 and 700 mm and up to 1,000 in the southern areas of the Far East. Average temperature ranges in Moscow are from -16c to -9c in January to 13c to 23c in July.