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Madonna not such a 'lucky star'

Madonna is in trouble again. This time angry Russian activists are suing the songstress for millions of dollars.

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No stranger to controversy, Madonna now finds herself on the receiving end of angry Russian anti-gay activists.

The conservative Russians are suing Madonna for millions of dollars, claiming they were offended by her support for gay rights during a recent concert in St Petersburg.

Anti-gay sentiment is strong in Russia, where in St Petersburg a law was passed in February that makes it illegal to promote homosexuality to minors, and the author of that law has pointed to the presence of children as young as 12 at Madonna's concert on August 9.

Russian news agencies quote Alexander Pochuyev, a lawyer representing the nine activists, as saying the suit was filed on Friday against Madonna, the organiser of her concert and the hall where it was held, asking for damages totalling 333 million roubles (about $A10 million).

Responding to criticism that plaintiffs were stuck in the Middle Ages, the lawyer said they were using civilised, modern methods to defend their rights.

"No one is burning anyone at the stake or carrying out an Inquisition," Pochuyev was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying. "Modern civilisation requires tolerance and respect for different values."


The complaint includes a video taken at the concert showing Madonna stomping on an Orthodox cross and asking fans to raise their hands to show the pink armbands in support of gays and lesbians that were distributed among the audience, the news agency reported.

Madonna has also angered some Russians with her support for Pussy Riot. Three members of the punk band were sentenced on Friday to two years in prison for a protest inside Moscow's main cathedral against Vladimir Putin and his cosy relationship with the Russian Orthodox Church.

Madonna spoke out in support of the group during her concert in St Petersburg and two days earlier in Moscow.

After the verdict was issued, Madonna called on "all those who love freedom to condemn this unjust punishment".

Embattled Wikileaks founder Julian Assange proffered the fate of the punk band as an example of repressed freedom of speech in a rallying delivery from the balcony of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London on Sunday.

Madonna has courted controversy for decades, arguably since her incendiary 1985 Virgin tour, focusing on the 'blasphemous' hit, Like a Virgin. Her publication of the book, Sex, and recent use of stunt AK47s in her MDNA tour have not failed to draw criticism.

AP with Fairfax reporter