The Lens

From Russia with Love-Is-Love

Oppression is a sickness. It erodes every glimmer of hope, it leaches away the human spirit, and it shrouds every interaction with fear and contempt. LGBTQ+ rights have been under attack in Russia ever since the nation ratified its draconian “propaganda” laws in 2013.

According to the legislation, any representation of “non-traditional sexual relations” must be eradicated in popular culture. The ramifications have been chilling. Violence and hatred have festered, setting back the gay movement irrevocably.

But out of the darkness, a rainbow-hued light has emerged. Seva Galkin began making films about the tortured queer experience even before the passage of the 2013 edict. His narratives explore how the very aspersion of perversion itself has simultaneously damaged and empowered an entire generation of burgeoning LGBTQ+ youth.

According to Galkin’s work, stereotypes can kill. Heart Disease immerses viewers in the terrifying intersection between two gay men in crisis and the paramedic who controls their fate. An earlier film entitled Three True Stories About a Lie concentrates on the confusion of one young athlete as he navigates his burgeoning homosexuality as well as the greater sense of control over his own life.

In addition to being a powerful voice in the realm of cinema, Seva Galkin is also an admirer of the male form. His dreamlike photography depicts a utopian manscape, far from the restrictive confines of modern day Russia.

The subjects in Galkin’s universe are silent gods, lording over the possibilities of what could be. His erotic renderings represent sensuality unleashed. They are an important rebuke of the homophobes who currently hold power in smother-Russia. Gay men can be just as masculine as straight men in the right light.

Galkin gleefully dances upon the blurry line between taboo and triumph. He smiles through the pain, baring his soul as his models bare everything else.


The many talents of Seva Galkin are veering into alignment for his latest release, The Fans, which confronts bigotry head-on in a visceral collision of unrequited lust and prejudicial perception. According to the film’s trailer, the past is ruled by fear but the future is queer. Our collective strength knows no orientation, boundaries, or abatement.

Photo: Instagram @seva.galkin

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Published by
Kevin Perry

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