Sir Ian McKellen has been advised not to travel to Russia by the U.K.'s Foreign Office bosses over safety concerns.

The openly gay Lord of the Rings star has been told that his sexuality could make him a possible target in the country, where same-sex relationship propaganda is banned.

And MCKellen is stunned a country with a rich history of celebrating gay men in the arts could be so dangerous in 2013.

MCKellen tells Britain's Radio Times, "That's why I can't go... They couldn't protect me from those laws.

"Two and a half hours from London! In the land of (composer Pyotr Ilyich) Tchaikovsky, (ballet impresario Sergei) Diaghilev, (ballet dancer) Rudolf Nureyev - gay artists whose sexuality informed their work."