18:42 GMT +3 hours28 November 2014
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Madonna to Support Russia’s Gays at St. Petersburg Show

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Madonna will "speak up" at her upcoming St. Petersburg show in support of Russia’s gay community, following a ban on gay propaganda imposed by the city authorities.

Madonna will "speak up" at her upcoming St. Petersburg show in support of Russia’s gay community, following a ban on gay propaganda imposed by the city authorities.

“I will come to St. Petersburg to speak up for the gay community, to support the gay community and to give strength and inspiration to anyone who is or feels oppressed.” a post on Madonna’s Facebook page reads. “I don't run away from adversity. I will speak during my show about this ridiculous atrocity.”

St. Petersburg’s Governor Georgy Poltavchenko on Sunday approved a law penalizing "the propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia among minors." The law effectively outlaws any Gay Pride events.

Gay rights activists say Poltavchenko and city lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, who initiated the bill “violated the fundamental rights of LGBT people to freedom of expression, the right on which all democratic and free societies are based.”

St. Petersburg activists have sent letters to governments of the United States, European Union countries, Australia and Canada asking them to ban entry for city officials behind the controversial ban. Activist Nikolai Alexeyev has also filed a one-million-ruble (over $30,000) defamation lawsuit against Milonov.

The law, passed in the third and final reading by the city’s Legislative Assembly in late February, imposes fines of up to $16,000 on individuals and up to $160,000 on legal entities for the promotion of homosexual, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender practices among minors. It follows similar legislation in the southern Astrakhan region and the central Ryazan and Kostroma regions.