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Known as , it’s been around in Russia for decades and persists despite state pressure against LGBT groups and a rise in hate crimes against members of the LGBT community.In 2014, Nightline profiled a Russian drag performer who fled the country for the U. after violent attacks at the club in Moscow where he used to perform.Despite the lengths they have to go to adapt to the challenges of the Russian media space, legally and linguistically, Ru Paul’s Russian translation team is in unanimous agreement that their work is vital for fans, LGBT-identifying or otherwise.Another translator, Elizabeth, told Ru Net Echo that “Mama Ru is a sip of freedom in a conservative society that constantly surrounds us.While it is easy enough to watch online, capturing all the nuances of the show for the Russian-speaking world is a challenge.
Presenting the show to a wider audience in Russia is no small task.
Ru Paul himself has addressed the issue by stating that “the oppressed take on the characteristics of their oppressors.” Nevertheless, Nikita sees the show as a source of hope.
“There is even a split in the community and I think that this show can help bring people together.” Note: translators’ full names were not used in this article to protect their identities because members of Russia's LGBT community are a discriminated-against minority.
It’s dramatic, it’s campy, it’s gay, and it comes with Russian subtitles: since 2014, a group of volunteer translators on the Russian social media network VKontakte has been working to bring “Ru Paul’s Drag Race,” an award-winning American reality show that documents international gender-bending superstar Ru Paul Charles’ search for America’s next top drag queen, to the Russian-language internet.
Since forming three years ago, the Ru Paul VKontakte group has attracted a dedicated team of 10 translators and has expanded to reach an audience of over 5,000 regular viewers across the former Soviet Union.