Russian politicians have lashed out at the bearded drag performer who won the Eurovision Song Contest over the weekend in Copenhagen.
On Saturday, Conchita Wurst, representing Austria, clinched the coveted prize with her James Bond theme sound-alike song Rise Like a Phoenix.
Wurst, really 25-year-old Thomas Neuwirth, wowed European audiences with her dramatic performance during the international music contest, which has a strong gay following.
Accepting the trophy, Wurst dedicated her victory “to everyone who believes in a future of peace and freedom. We are unity.”
She later told reporters: “I felt like tonight Europe showed that we are a community of respect and tolerance.”
Russia’s entry to the competition, the Tolmachevy Sisters, came seventh. They were booed by the audience during their performances, presumably over Russia’s anti-gay policies.
Wurst’s win was slammed by homophobic Russian MP Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who proclaimed her victory as “the end of Europe,” adding that “there is no limit to our outrage. It has turned wild. There are no more men or women in Europe, just it.”
He went on to say that, “Fifty years ago the Soviet army occupied Austria. We made a mistake in freeing Austria. We should have stayed.”
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also attacked the Eurovision contest’s outcome, tweeting that Wurst’s triumph “showed supporters of European integration their European future: a bearded girl.”
When asked if she had anything to say to President Vladimir Putin, who has championed legislation restricting LGBT rights and freedom of expression in Russia, Wurst replied: “I don’t know if he is watching this now, but if so, I’ll say it, ‘We’re unstoppable.’”
Watch Conchita Wurst perform Rise Like a Phoenix below.