Political leaders in St. Petersburg are about to vote on law that will make it illegal for any person to write a book, publish an article or speak in public about being gay, lesbian or transgender. The ruling party led by President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin could make millions of people invisible with the stroke of a pen.
Human rights defenders around the country are doing everything they can to stop it. They are risking their freedom to organize flashmobs and protests, but they are afraid that it won't be enough.
Right now, the world needs to speak up and tell Russian authorities to drop the bill. Join this call to leaders around the world to reach out to their counterparts in the Russian government - and ask them to reject this discriminatory and anti-democratic law.
My goodness; the Russians they are so closed-minded; they are only denying a reality; and what harm do gay people pose anyway?; I can think of so many other things that are a direct harm to the Russian authorities; why is there such a big clampdown on people from the LGBT community?
This would tend to indicate that Putin and Medvedev are lovers.
Yup, those Russians are just so close-minded, my goodness, not like the USA or anything. Gays in USA have so many rights. It's not like that could happen in the USA
I suggested that gay people go back in the closet; on a gay message board; but oh my; those Russians; they are so closed minded.
r3 cannot be serious.
That society has really collapsed culturally and stigmatizing gays won't help. What gave us ballet, great novels and music is now content with crime syndicates and circus.
I would encourage Obama to just get rid of Russia. That's what I would do. Drop the bomb, and just wipe my hands to them. Problem solved.
r6, there's nothing wrong with The Circus.
r7 is the reason why America is going Third World.
I'll get rid of you next, R9.
"gay" in english or "gay" in russian? How many russians understand english? Come up with synonym: jolly, merry... "gay" is over-worked anyway
I bet Michele Bachmann thinks this a great idea.
Rick Santorum, too.
Don't forget the US conservatives gave us the "don't say gay" bill.
To be fair, it sounds horrible with a Russian accent.
"Cocksucker", on the other hand, sounds sexy.
Like the USA is going to say anything about this. Tennessee just passed a similar law.
Before we unleash the nukes, let's get all the facts. It is Putin's party all right, but it also seems to be confined to St Petersburg according to some articles, though not in others.
So gays can confidently write off trips to Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Carribean.
R16 only if your lack of education leads you to believe that the city of St Petersburg comprises the whole of Eastern Europe.
They ruined West Hollywood, now this.
[italic]Tennessee just passed a similar law.[/italic]
Prediction: *lots* of closeted Russian men will head to the US, Europe and Canada now because of this. It's like the entire country is wholly against it.
The USA should just invade those motherfuckers.
I feel sorry for the Russian gays but I'd be afraid to date one that immigrated to this country. All I've ever heard is about how drunk, abusive and duplicitous Russian people are.
You can still fuck whoever you want, you just can't be "gay".
It's a war on modern "identity politics".
[quote]What gave us ballet, great novels and music is now content with crime syndicates and circus.
Don't forget krokodil! It's the new meth!
I'm sure some idiot DLer who blames everything negative happening in Europe on "Muzzies" and/or non-whites will manage to do the same with Russia because outside of those groups, ignorance doesn't exist.
r22 - You feel badly for gay Russians facing this discrimination, but are content with your own prejudice against Russians?
[quote]I'm sure some idiot DLer who blames everything negative happening in Europe on "Muzzies" and/or non-whites will manage to do the same with Russia because outside of those groups, ignorance doesn't exist.
Don't forget the Jews! We blame them too!
[quote]I would encourage Obama to just get rid of Russia. That's what I would do. Drop the bomb
Oh yes, that will REALLY help Russian gays and lesbians.
There are some US states who are worse than Russia is right now.
r29, that is not the same thing. What an idiot you are.
Ah, Saint Petersburg.
The city where I stepped over the same dead body on the street twice. Once on the way to work and once five hours later on my way home.
The city where even the most educated and well traveled Russians I met defended skinheads for murdering a little girl for being a dark skinned Tajik. Those Central Asians are taking Russian jobs, you know?
The city where my African friends lived every day in terror, racing along very specific routes to school to home to work to home. No strolling, no sight seeing, no casual chat in a cafe. Every single dark skinned immigrant I met while living there had been attacked at least once. My Kenyan friend was dragged to the ground by her hair in broad daylight just off of Nevsky Prospect. Then she was kicked in the face repeatedly while being called horrible names. In public. No one did anything.
The city where my Uzbek friend spent Hitler's birthday hiding, under direction of her university, in a central, windowless dorm room with the rest of the foreign students. Meanwhile, gangs of skinheads attempted to beat down the doors to attack them. No authorities ever bothered to respond. Just told the foreigners to stay inside. This happened every year she lived in the dorm. She is now a very successful surgeon in NYC. Has no desire to return to Russia.
The city where I saw a sixty something woman jump to her death from her window. She layed out in the crowded street all morning. I had breakfast and peeked out. She was still there. Took a shower and dressed. She was still there. Made tea. She was still there. Put on my shoes, coat and gloves and went downstairs. She was still there. Did like the Russians and averted my eyes, turning left rather than my usual right which would have taken me past her. Who knows when someone finally showed up to scoop her up, identify her, or (ha) investigate any foul play.
"We have no gay people in Russia — there are homosexuals but they are not allowed to be gay about it. The punishment is seven years locked in prison with other men and there is a three-year waiting list for that."
Russia needs a civil society, but one where gays are put in rehabs and the opposition is locked in a political ghetto, said Christian activists who tear “blasphemous” T-shirts off people and barge into theaters and museums to preach.
“Our traditional values are being destroyed by people who consciously chose the path of evil,” Dimitry Enteo said in an interview.
Grassroots Christian activism used to be exotic in Russia, but Enteo and his “brothers in Christ” have catapulted it to national spotlight through a string of recent antics tethering on the brink of legality.
They preach to prostitutes, Protestants, antifascists and migrant workers; they picket opposition events and banned gay pride parades – frequently ending in detention despite their pro-Kremlin sympathies – and run a psychological help service for New Age addicts.
But Enteo and his friend Andrei Kaplin said they are as much a part of Russian society as any liberal protester to take to the streets in recent months, and deserve a public voice.
“We must work to create a civil society now, and do it without excluding the believers,” Enteo said on Thursday. He conceded the work is only just beginning.
For many, the awakening of Russia’s civil society began with rallies against Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency, which attracted tens of thousands between December and June.
Most protesters were young, educated urbanites – Enteo’s very target group. He shares a special bond with them, admitting to have been a liberal who dabbled in esotericism before he “understood the Universe has a creator.”
However, the way the Christian activists are trying to reach their flock is nothing if not unorthodox. Last Sunday, they stripped a man off a T-shirt in support of members of the art collective Pussy Riot, jailed on charges of fanning religious hatred by means of a “punk prayer” at a church. This week, they stormed a Moscow theater showing a play about Pussy Riot, and later – the G-Spot, a museum of erotic art. Just to preach, they say.
Homophobia Will Save Us
What they want is for Russia to return to traditional values, the duo said.
Only two of those remain – homophobia and the need for a strong state – and removing them would undo Russia, Kaplin said.
Gay relationships should not be criminalized, but gays have to be prohibited from publicly promoting their lifestyle and instead given the opportunity to check into rehabs that treat their “deviation,” Kaplin said.
As for the opposition, the radicals among it are threatening a bloody revolution and need to be countered with both legislative action and civil activism, he said.
“There is no such thing as ‘secular morals,’” Enteo agreed, speaking about his ideological opponents.
“It’s just a label that covers up infernal powers. Satan is always posing as an angel of light,” he said, as if passionately preaching to his past self.
But Kaplin conceded the opposition has its uses, praising it for environmental activism. The protesters are entitled to five percent of seats in Parliament, but should not leave that ghetto, said Kaplin.
Both said they voted for Putin, whom their praised for his religiousness, and dismissed criticism toward church leadership, which was accused by its liberal opponents of living a life of luxury while allying with the authorities. Church head Patriarch Kirill endorsed Putin’s presidential bid, allegedly prompting Pussy Riot’s “punk prayer.”
Preaching to Prostitutes
During sermons at the theater and the museum, Enteo and Kaplin were accompanied by a camera crew from NTV, a pro-government television channel known for its vicious attacks on the Kremlin’s enemies.
The channel was even nicknamed “Surkov’s propaganda” in reference to current Deputy Prime Minister Vladislav Surkov, the Kremlin’s once all-powerful political mastermind – who, incidentally, was tasked earlier in August with overseeing the government’s relations with the church.
Both Enteo and Kaplin denied any ties to the government or church leadership, which is yet to comment on their actions.
“I don’t represent the church, I’m just a civil activist, though a deeply religious one,” Enteo said.
Their informal group has actually been active for years, preaching to the liberal opposition and non-believers of all stripes in “a language that people would understand,” Enteo said.
Driving the point home, during the interview Kaplin unfurled a makeshift poster of an angel modeled on the famous depiction of Uncle Sam, the frowning visage and pointing finger accompanied by the question: “Do you preserve virginity until marriage?” The two flaunted the poster at several pro-life pickets in recent months, drawing the attention of Russian bloggers.
One of their “brothers in Christ” has a habit of picking up prostitutes, paying them and then talking to them about chastity instead of “reveling in depravity,” Kaplin said.
But the activists have only gained exposure now, piggybacking the Pussy Riot trial, an international cause célèbre.
The activists took much flack for their stunts, both from the liberal non-believers and many Christians, including prominent media figure Archdeacon Andrei Kurayev, who said Enteo is “not all there.”
But Enteo said they were also flooded with calls and letters of support.
The group has a core of between 50 and 100 “trained missionaries,” but is capable of bringing out thousands in the streets, the activists claimed.
Martyrdom Not Excluded
Both Enteo, 23, and Kaplin, 30, refused to speak about their occupations or private lives.
But they said they are disciples of the late Orthodox Christian priest Daniil Sysoyev, known for his missionary work among Moscow’s Muslims and his criticism of Islam. He was shot dead in a church in 2009, the murder still unsolved but blamed on his missionary activism.
“OK, and now we might get killed. That’d be cool,” Kaplin said during the interview, when the conversation was interrupted by Enteo reading about a twin murder in Kazan, featuring “Free Pussy Riot” scribbled on the wall in blood, on his tablet PC.
“That’d be cool,” agreed Enteo, who said he has been beaten by Krishna followers before. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they kill us.”
But martyrdom may remain elusive for now: the killing turned out to have been perpetrated not by a liberal fanatic, but by the lover of one of the victims who wanted to throw the investigators off.
I hate the fact that I find Medvedev unbearably hot.
So... back to their scary scary ways. Freedom? Nyet!
Jamaica pales in comparison to Russia. Russians have this inexplicable notion that they are culturally superior and should rule the world. They are inherently more culturally supremicist than Jamaica. They also have more church-state integration than Jamaica because there is only real one official church in Russsia, whereas Jamaica has more religious diversity.
They tried the same shit in Ukraine but protests from the West killed that bill. For now.
Russia has got Fuck Off Money and won't be dictated to.
What really pisses/scares me, is that by legislating, people won't say it! Just ban the word! And the stupid people FORGET the word! Wow. Siberia for uttering a word.
I'd be on a train in a nano second. Just tell me not to say something. Just try it
In place of 'gay", we will now call the boys 'Friends of Dasha'. The girls we will continue to be call 'Home Depot'.
Russians are exactly like Arabs only blond, with lots of booze, sex, corruption and some glorious cultural history. That's all.
Tchaikovsky, Diaghilev, Eisenstein and Nureyev, among others, will need to be airbrushed. Not that that's been a problem in the past.
It's ironic because many of ruling United Russia party members are gay. I guess that's how they try to flirt with conservative electorate, exactly like Republicans did in US. Large liberal protests really scared them so they try to find allies on other side.
I liked Russia better when it was the communist USSR and very few people made it to the US. TheRussians I deal with through work are frightening.
[quote] Russians have this inexplicable notion that they are culturally superior and should rule the world.
Is that why they are big welfare and medicaid fraudsters?
I was so scared for the Beekman Boys in Moscow on The Amazing Race. I understand the producers provide you with a lecture on decorum, but one slip and they both could have been shot by the state.
Just when I was getting nostalgic about the two years I lived in Saint Petersburg. I was looking at old photos just a few minutes ago, wishing I could do it all over again. Yet, it was so miserable in many ways and I am not surprised about the worsening conditions for gays in Russia. Add them to the long list of people that are intensely and openly HATED by Russians.