Feb 20, 2014

Top 5 video reactions to Sochi & Russia

by Mel McElhatton

With what is currently going on in Russia regarding LGBT issues it’s no wonder that there has been a big reaction to the Sochi Winter Olympics on social media. Over the past few weeks my timeline (and I’m sure that of many others) has exploded with many video reactions to Russia's stance of LGBT rights; some are parodies, some are adverts, others are in the style of a PSA but they all speak a very clear message.

For those of you under a rock, or those who haven’t been on Facebook or social media lately (yeah, right), here is a list of the top five video reactions to Sochi that have made the rounds. (In no particular order).

From Norway: The main protagonist is a highly desirable woman who is being chased in various funny ways by athletes showing off their abilities. Not surprising considering the advert is about XXL Sports...however, lo and behold, right before boarding the plane...she kisses a woman.  

From the UK: Now this video is a real charmer. This bright, in your face parody, changes the lyrics in the Russian National Anthem and makes them...well...fabulous. If you are looking for a laugh, especially if it is related to Putin, then I highly recommend this video. I also propose for this to become Russia’s unofficial national anthem. Can you imagine this being played at the Games?

Even Canada came out to show support for LGBT in Russia. This extremely short clip shows bobsledding in a suggestive (*ahem* completely gay) way. This video pokes fun at not just Putin and his discrimination laws, but also Sochi and the Winter Olympics being held in a country where it is illegal for two people of the same-sex to hold hands in public.

This is undoubtedly one of the most horrifying and heartbreaking videos I have seen. This video presents cut-scenes between players preparing for a game and a marriage proposal between two men. However, what should be a beautiful moment between two people who love each other gets knocked down ...literally and figuratively when the players attack one of the men while holding back the partner to watch. And as if this were not bad enough, the crowd is cheering. And the terrible realisation dawns on you: that children are going to grow up with this hatred and consider it normal to discriminate against people of the same-sex. The end of the video reminds us that Russia is not the only country with these terrible laws. In Uganda being gay could result in life imprisonment, in Saudi Arabia it is death by public stoning.


We have enough decisions in our life as it is: ‘shall I start my diet tomorrow and eat that cookie now?’, ‘Will I buy that lace lingerie for my partner?’. With all these important and pressing decisions, why make choosing your dream over love be one of them? 
It should have been a moment of pride to win the gold for our protagonist, but all she can see is the one person she wants to celebrate this victory with...and cannot. There is a screen between them, keeping apart the athlete from the woman with a heart that loves. This video ends with a very good question ‘What if living your dream meant living a lie?’. The film also makes reference to the Olympic Games’ no discrimination principles...but where’s the respect in Sochi? And more importantly, every day people are being forced to choose living a lie because being themselves, and loving who they love, has suddenly become illegal, because that person is the same sex as themselves.


While it is important for there to be this international on Russia's infringement of Human Rights, let us not forget about the other countries, with similar or worse laws than Russia, who however are not under scrutiny as they aren't hosting the Winter Olympics. Or because they aren't as big as Russia. 

A rather comprehensive list can be found here.

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