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Sochi Gay Scene Thriving

"Mayak," which means “lighthouse” in Russian, is a gay nightclub located in the southern Russian city of Sochi. The Black Sea resort town was a gay hub during the Soviet era due to its remote location and reputation of being very multinational. The club’s owner, Andrei Tenichev, opened "Mayak" eight years ago after working at a gay bar in Moscow. He says Sochi provides a better climate for this type of business compared to Moscow and expects cooperation with the local government during the Winter Olympics in February. A Russian law banning "homosexual propaganda" has threatened to overshadow the games as it continues to provoke an international outcry. (8 PHOTOS)

A performer prepares for a nightly cabaret show in "Mayak," one of two gay nightclubs in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia.
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A performer prepares for a nightly cabaret show in "Mayak," one of two gay nightclubs in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia.

Dancers change costumes during a break in their show at the gay nightclub "Mayak" on September 23.
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Dancers change costumes during a break in their show at the gay nightclub "Mayak" on September 23.

A visitor to "Mayak" dances the "lezginka," a Caucasian national dance, with a performer at the cabaret show.
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A visitor to "Mayak" dances the "lezginka," a Caucasian national dance, with a performer at the cabaret show.

Sergei Baklykov (front) and other dancers backstage during a break in the cabaret show.
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Sergei Baklykov (front) and other dancers backstage during a break in the cabaret show.

Dancers performing in the cabaret show.
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Dancers performing in the cabaret show.

A dancer preparing for the nightly cabaret at "Mayak."
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A dancer preparing for the nightly cabaret at "Mayak."

A wardrobe change during a break in the cabaret show.
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A wardrobe change during a break in the cabaret show.

A performer at the cabaret show.
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A performer at the cabaret show.

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