The battle against homophobia can seem daunting in Russia, where rights groups accuse the government of fostering enmity toward LGBT people through legislation and a failure to crack down on violence against sexual minorities.
But opponents of an ultraconservative businessman’s grocery chain are claiming a small victory after authorities requested that he remove a sign at one of his stores stating that “faggots” will not be served.
German Sterligov, an enigmatic multimillionaire and owner of the high-end chain Bread And Salt, said on his account on the Russian social network VKontakte this week that he is selling the chain’s six stores in Moscow due to pressure from authorities.
He posted images of letters he received late last month from local police and prosecutors about the homophobic signs, which he said had been changed from “No Faggots Allowed” to “No Sodomites Allowed” in a concession to authorities.
“We would rather forgo profits in Moscow,” Sterligov wrote in his announcement that he plans to sell his Moscow stores.
Sterligov, who portrays himself as a pious Russian Orthodox Christian and a defender of traditional values, has made homophobia a central ideological tenet of the chain, which sells natural food and other products made by "Russian peasants." Read more via Radio Free Europe