GLXY Travel Guide - Exploring the LGBT Scene in Moscow

10 Sep, 2017
In this article you can find out why and when to visit Russia and Moscow, how friendly is this city for LGBT persons, where to go for gay-friendly dinner options, bars, clubs and other venues, what are the most important LGBT events of the year not to be missed; how to meet locals; and other interesting and important practical details.

About Russia and Moscow

Russia is in every respect the country of contrast, and so in its geographic and natural features. Traveling to Russia you will see tundra and steppes, deserts and glaciers, valleys and high mountains. Because of the location between the western and eastern parts of the world, natural features, unprecedented breadth and bustling history are permeated by names that have changed the world, a country of cultural richness and diversity has been created. For centuries it intrigues and enchants all who are visiting.

Russia's surface is the largest country in the world that connects Europe and Asia, the East and the West: 17,075. 200 km². Whether you want to travel to Russia along the east-west line, you are waiting for 9000 km long, and from north to south 5000 km. It is part of the European or Western part (about 3.5 million km²) and the East Asian part, and Siberia (13.5 mil. Km²). The natural border of these two parts is Ural Mountains. Because of the huge surface it has 9 time zones and the most adjacent countries in the world.
It is interesting that Russia is actually smaller today than it was 300 years ago. The Russian Empire expanded at incredible speed over the last four centuries. In the 17th century, Siberia began settling, after the war with Sweden in the 18th century, Russia spread to the north, and then to the south. In the mid-19th century, Russia sold Alaska, but in turn received new areas in the Far East. Russia has also colonized Mandžurija and part of Central Asia. In the 20th century, Russia lost parts of its territory - Finland and Poland. With the collapse of the USSR, Russia lost 1/4 of its territory, including Ukraine and Belarus. Russia occupies 30% less area than ever before, but its pervasiveness and spaciousness are still stunning today.
The life in Moscow is 'exclusive'. Most famous clubs serve the most expensive drink, but in such clubs it is also the hardest to enter. It is much cooler to go out to Moscow in private cars - and this is the first big black limo - than metro. The designer, signed dresses just jumps from the shelves of expensive boutiques. Muscovites today smoke, and drink French champagne, not Sovietskoe shampanskoe. There is even a new brand of tea, Elitny Chai, who is trying to earn prestige.

The best time to visit Moscow is at the end of spring (May or June) and early Autumn (September or October) when city parks are full of colorful trees. The city is particularly well-suited for the majestic holidays, as well as for the Moscow Day in September. The city center is then closed for traffic. At all of the streets around the Kremlin there are concerts and performances and "protest" of the Communist Party with all accompanying paraphernalia held. People dance late in the night on the street. Similar to all the parks in Moscow. The New Year is also an important moment because then the Muscovites massively go out of their warm houses and go to free concerts and fireworks.
Among the Soviet workers, the joke once circled: 'We do what we do, and they get pay for us'. That joke is funny just because it is quite true. New Russia has a new work ethic, and it is no better visible than in Moscow. Ambitious young Muscovites work overtime so they can be part of a good life around them. They go through the traffic, run on weekends, do not get away from mobile phones, and go to 'business lunches' just like their colleagues in London or New York.

But they are worth it: Moscow restaurants are full of cheerful companies; charter flights to Turkey and Greece are full of Russian tourists, and Moscow supermarkets are full of foreign customers.

LGBT situation in Moscow

Moscow is one of the most glorious cities you are going to visit in your lifetime, so prepare. The new technologies brought new ways of communicating and social organizing. We are pointing that out just as a hint, since the LGBT’s are not the privilege ones in Russia. Not even close. In the first parade, held in 2006, there was only 70 people, and so much more anti-gay protesters. In 2013, Russian government voted out a law that forbids Pride parades for the next 100 years. There is few publicly out LGBT’s and their rights are not protected by the law. The gays who are not privilege are those who live in other, smaller, more conservative part of Russia. The Russian Family Law regulates marriage as a community of men and women, and now the "anti-gay law" is also passed, the law forbidding "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors". Behind "worries" for future generations, there are actually rules that hinder the equal lives of a homosexual community in Russia.
So, we can see that the situation with the legislative isn’t great, but Moscow still tends to be one of the gayest cities in the world. If you have a good guide you are going to dive in into queer clubbing, art movements or amazing drag parties and performances. The underground tone to it doesn’t make it smaller, we have to say.

LGBT information

LGBT organizations:

Moscow Pride- was founded for parade organizing and fighting discrimination, but doesn’t operate anymore online, since they can’t have an internet platform.

There is a couple LGBT and LGBT friendly bars/restaurants/places to see while staying at Moscow:

MONO Bar, Pokrovskiy b-r 6/20, the most famous gay bar and nightclub
Nashe Cafe, Tverskaya ul., 25/9. It’s enough to say: A lounge place with drag performances every evening from 10 PM.
Bar 9.1.1 (Tsifri), Glinishchevskiy pereulok 3.
BoyZ Club. Pereyaslavskaya Bolshaya ulitsa 46, one of the most famous bars, close to Central STation, open until dawn.
VODA Spa & Sauna, ul. Leninskaya Sloboda 19k2c2. In order not to miss sauna experience of Moscow, go to this place. It is located in the building of Central Station and it’s a perfect place to relax, enjoy a nice meal, and enjoy sauna detox.
Mayakovka Spa, 13 Oruzheynyi Pereulok, Bldg. 2, Another spa, sauna center to recommend. Laid back service and a good company.