Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

In the Spotlight: Boris Moiseyev

Boris Moiseyev is Russia’s campest pop star, who makes much of his sexual orientation in interviews and an outrageous stage act. So when he confided to a Moskovsky Komsomolets reporter last week that he’s about to marry his long-term girlfriend, eyebrows were raised and his web site crashed.

A former dancer for pop diva Alla Pugachyova, Moiseyev has carved out a solo career despite the obstacles of being outspokenly gay and, it has to be said, not really having a singing voice. His act involves cross-dressing, full makeup and torch songs about loneliness and alienation, but it goes down a treat with middle-aged couples — reportedly his main audience — and even the Kremlin.

In 2006, then-president Vladimir Putin awarded him the title of Honored Artist of Russia, the second highest title available to musicians. He is a member of Putin’s United Russia party.

His provocative image doesn’t extend to his politics: he has spoken against a gay pride march in Moscow and gay marriage. That makes him pretty unpopular with gay rights campaigners, who say he reinforces stereotypes.

Nevertheless, he has had concerts picketed and even cancelled in the provinces after protests by Orthodox and Muslim groups.

Last week, he told an MK reporter that he is about to marry his girlfriend, an American woman named Adele. In a typically vulgar style, he added that “she has had two abortions from me.”

The interview led to so many people logging on to Moiseyev’s web site that it crashed, Komsomolskaya Pravda wrote on Monday. It quoted his press secretary as saying that the MK story was based on comments to friends at a nightclub — although it doesn’t read that way — and that Moiseyev has been with Adele for 10 years.

A statement posted on Moiseyev’s web site said the singer is going to marry a woman called Adele Mikhalyuk. In an earlier message, he was quoted praising her as “not a bitch — which is rare in our world.”

It’s best to take the rumor with a pinch of salt, since Moiseyev isn’t exactly delicate when it comes to self-promotion. He once invented a son called Amadeus, to promote a single, and later had to kill him off.

The scales fell from my eyes when I read the last paragraph of the KP article, which said that Moiseyev has a new single coming out — “Two Shadows” — and it is dedicated to his “girlfriend.”

When it comes to stories of celebrity romance, it’s always a good idea to check for the product placement.

This week, Eurovision winner Dima Bilan gave an interview to OK! magazine with his girlfriend, model Lena Kuletskaya. Their love affair has provoked some skepticism from journalists, since it seems to be at its most passionate whenever Bilan has something to promote. It took a bit of a battering after Bilan publicly promised to marry Kuletskaya if he won Eurovision in 2008 — and then didn’t.

The article looked sincere enough, with the couple talking about how they understand each other and want to have a child eventually. But I couldn’t help noticing that the magazine also contained a full-page advertisement for Chronotech watches, starring Bilan, and that the photographs accompanying the interview showed both Bilan and Kuletskaya wearing said watches.

The reporter asked Bilan whether the affair is a “smokescreen” — implying that he is hiding his true orientation. An intrusive question, for sure, but then Bilan was using interest in his love life to sell watches.

Bilan answered that journalists “can write whatever they want.” But he did point out that in America “musicians who made it after not having a single penny are respected. Before you write nasty things about an artist, think how hard the person had to work.”