A London-based creative agency has created seven handpainted sets of Russian nesting dolls of gay British and Irish icons to raise £10,000 for the battle against homophobia in Russia.
The dolls, pop stars Elton John and George Michael, comedian and presenter Stephen Fry, Irish comic presenter Graham Norton and diving champion Tom Daley - who recently came out about his sexuality on a YouTube video - will be auctioned.
London creative agency Mother designed the dolls, which were painted by Paul Baker at 3D Models. They will be auctioned online at www.torussiawithlove.co.uk from 13-22 December.
Mother hopes to raise over £10,000 from the sale.
"We have asked all of the participants to sign the dolls," Liam Fay-Fright, communications director, told IBTimes UK.
Over Christmas, the agency will deliver a set of dolls to the Russian embassy in London and to the Kremlin in Moscow as an act of solidarity with the persecuted gay community in Russia.
The money raised from the initiative "To Russia with Love" will go to the Kaleidoscope Trust, a UK-based charity that works to advance LGBT rights internationally.
"The Russian LGBT community is facing increasingly harsh treatment at the hands of authorities," said Mother. "Attacks on gay people are rising in a country where homosexuality has been classified as a mental illness since 1999."
Prominent LGBT activist Peter Tatchell said: "It is a great idea to draw on traditional Russian cultural symbols as a way of raising money for the campaign in defence of Russian LGBT people.
"We need as many organisations as possible to fundraise and campaign against Putin's homophobia and his attacks on other human rights," he told IBTimes UK.