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7 August 2013, 16:14
Actor, writer and broadcaster Stephen Fry has used Tchaikovsky as an example in an open letter to the Prime Minister and the International Olympic Committee calling them to boycott the Russian Winter Olympics due to LGBT prejudice.
In the letter, posted today on his website, Fry said that in Russia, anyone seen to view the Russian composer as a positive role model for gay artists would be prosecuted: "Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment."
The letter goes on to demand "An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi" as a reaction to the current persecution of the LGBT community under Vladimir Putin's rule in Russia.
Since his death in 1893, speculation around Tchaikovsky's sexuality has informed much debate around the true meaning of some of his most famous works.
The composer was famously guarded around the issue of his sexuality, but it is widely believed that he wrote his sixth symphony (the 'Pathetique') for his nephew and one-time lover Vladimir Davidov.