Colonel and Katya began their music careers in Russia, where they regularly faced police harassment for wearing make-up and had their concert posters defaced in the street. They explain that Russia is that country where you face aggression and violence for differing from the majority, and any deviation from the model of ‘an average Russian’ can cause a police interested and be branded illegal. That is why when the two decided to form a band called SADO OPERA, they escaped abroad, to Germany. But they still position themselves as a Russian band and their hearts are aching for the rainbow community of their native country. Since relocating to Berlin, the pair have had to adapt to a lack of homophobic censorship, they are now free to express themselves the way they want and it is quite new and a little bit weird for them. In Germany gay people can hug or hold hands in public, and there will be no disgust or anger on people’s faces when they see it — in Russia it can only be a dream. “It’s not a nice experience to be censored in this way but, for sure, our experience as musicians is not as dramatic as experiences of some people in distant regions of Russia, where people can simply be beaten up, tortured and even killed,” they say, adding that Russian LGBT activists deserve admiration for staying there and trying to change the horrible situation in the country for better. “We really encourage people to donate to the Russian LGBT Network because they are really doing a great and important job, and we know they do need money all the time to pay the brave lawyers who aren’t afraid – in this ugly situation – to fight for human rights,” they concluded.