NEW YORK — Neither Ded Moroz (Father Frost) nor his young snow-maiden assistant, Snegurochka — traditional New Year’s Eve figures in Russia — made an appearance here at a party of exiles celebrating their homeland’s biggest holiday.

But inside this small bar on the Lower East Side, there were many other reminders of New Year’s Eve in Russia, which during Soviet times replaced Christmas as an appropriately atheist year-end bash. Caviar, vodka and tinsel were abundant, and revelers were treated to an impromptu performance of the song “I Like the Way” from the 1970s Soviet film “Irony of Fate,” shown perennially during this season back home.

These were traces of a motherland many have only recently left behind but have little hope of returning to anytime soon. As lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Russians, many feel they have been chased out of their home country by a growing homophobia prevalent among the political and religious elite and recently formalized in a new law.

Read the full article at Al Jazeera America.

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