German metal band Rammstein has never shied away from controversy. Whether it’s in their incendiary music videos or their live performances that have even landed some members behind bars for “lewd and lascivious behavior,” the band thrives in causing outrage.
The group continued that trend on Tuesday night (July 30) during a performance in Russia. At one point in the show, guitarists Paul Landers and Richard Kruspe shared a same-sex kiss on the stage, which the group later shared to their Instagram with a Russian caption reading “Russia, we love you!”
While an onstage kiss may seem somewhat tame for the group, in Russia, it could be considered a criminal offense — while the country does not have any laws that directly outlaw homosexuality, their “gay propoganda” law outlaws any and all “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,” according to The Guardian. In Chechnya, a federal subject of Russia, both in 2017 and 2019, dozens of gay men were detained and held by the government for being gay, with at least 2 being killed, according to activists.
This isn’t the first time Rammstein has protested against the treatment of LGBTQ citizens in European countries. The group’s drummer, Christoph Schneider, shared a photo on Instagram of himself waving a rainbow flag during their tour stop in Poland following an anti-gay attack on the first Pride march in the conservative town of Bialystock. “Equal rights for all,” he wrote under the photo.
Check out a photo of the kiss below: