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Russia Pushes Anti-gay Law

Jim Burroway

January 22nd, 2013

Russia’s Duma is expected to consider a proposed bill which would outlaw all public demonstrations, publications, broadcasts and other activity which it terms “propaganda” for gay rights. The Associated Press has a very good write-up:

Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia’s already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled. Orthodox activists criticized U.S. company PepsiCo for using a “gay” rainbow on cartons of its dairy products. An executive with a government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after death their hearts should be burned or buried.

The anti-gay sentiment was seen Sunday in Voronezh, a city south of Moscow, where a handful of gay activists protesting against the parliament bill were attacked by a much larger group of anti-gay activists who hit them with snowballs.

The gay rights protest that won Samburov a fine took place in December. Seconds after Samburov and his boyfriend kissed, militant activists with the Orthodox Church pelted them with eggs. Police intervened, rounding up the gay activists and keeping them for 30 hours first in a frozen van and then in an unheated detention center. The Orthodox activists were also rounded up, but were released much earlier.

Similar laws have been passed in St. Petersburg and a couple of Russia’s regions. Last October, thugs attacked patrons at a gay bar in Moscow. The Associated Press has this quote from an Orthodox priest after that attack:

On the next day, an Orthodox priest said he regretted that his religious role had not allowed him to participate in the beating.

“Until this scum gets off of Russian land, I fully share the views of those who are trying to purge our motherland of it,” Rev. Sergiy Rybko was quoted as saying by the Orthodoxy and World online magazine. “We either become a tolerant Western state where everything is allowed — and lose our Christianity and moral foundations — or we will be a Christian people who live in our God-protected land in purity and godliness.”

Comments

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Doug
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Almost makes me support the communists’ persecution of the church. Unfortunately, the communists were also anti-gay. The poisened legacy lives on in this unfortunate country.

MattNYC
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

General Ripper was right…

ZRAinSWVA
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Well, scratch another country off the list of potential vacation venues…

Ben in Oakland
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Mother Russia never changes. There was hope for a while, but the ol’ bitch got off her meds.

Reader from Bosnia
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Initial hearing is postponed indefinitely

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/22/russia-initial-hearing-of-anti-gay-bill-postponed-a-second-time/

StraightGrandmother
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

This sentence is profoundly disturbing, it shows a level of hatred not generally stated in public,

“An executive with a government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after death their hearts should be burned or buried.”

Think about that for a minute. Upon the death of a sexual minority their heart should be removed and either burried or burned. Oh.My.God!

Although sexual minorities have been persecuted in the former USSR, I think the ratcheting up has really increased since the Pope sent his lead Cardinal (Bishop?) to Russia. The pope last year praised this Bishop and transferred him to the UK where Civil Marriage for sexual minorities was starting to gain traction. He did such a good, “Hate the Gays” job in Russia the Pope praised him and sent him to the next gay rights hot spot.

I read quite a bit about this unHoly alliance by reading about the conferences that the Howard Family Foundation in southern Illinois puts on. I visited their website of their Russian Conference and watched all the videos, and there it was the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church together with this one anti gay Roman Catholic Cardinal. I took away that the Roman Catholic Cardinal (might have been a Bishop) was tutoring and collaborating with the Russian Orthadox Patriarch. It is public that they have joined forces to persecute sexual minorities in all the countries of the former USSR.

Dennis
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

It is so hard to read about what some people think is a response to preserving their Christianity and good moral foundations. This is not only an issue in Russia. Take a look at the gay bashing that goes on in areas that have significant Russian immigrant populations here in the US.

John
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

And the pope wont be able to contain his glee when they start up the gas chambers.

Reader from Bosnia
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

StraightGrandmother,

I don’t think that Pope has a great influence on Russia. Their Orthodox Church is much more aggressive and hostile towards LGBT people than the Pope himself. They also don’t like Pope and Vatican, so I think that Pope did not contribute much to the present anti-gay atmosphere in Russia and other countries where Orthodox Christians are majority. I live in Banja Luka (80-90% Orthodox population) so i know from first hand. After the fall of communism, Orthodox churches again have great power and influence in most of Eastern European countries, and their leaders are often calling for violence against LGBT community. In one of the most notorious examples of anti-gay violence, first Belgrade gay pride in 2001. was broken by group of football hooligans and religious extremists led by Orthodox priest (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUOH7nrVfys)

On the other hand, Pope has great influence in Uganda and other African countries, so his responsibility for the current atmosphere there is substantial.

Timothy Kincaid
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Ah Russia,

This old Wendy’s ad is what I think of when I think about their “God-protected land in purity and godliness”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWAKtYGJZSM

For some reason I’ll never understand, it seems that Russians always move towards oppression. Not only of others, but an oppressive government for themselves. All that freedom is scary, too many choices.

Soren456
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

The Russian church considers the Roman church essentially as an enemy. They do not exchange notes with them, they don’t collaborate and, especially, they don’t take “tutoring” from the Catholics.

Darina
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Reader from Bosnia, I am in Bulgaria, and the Orthodox Church is much less influential here (if no less homophobic). I still wonder if the communists were more successful in secularizing the society here than in Russia, or it’s the notorious Bulgarian “heretic” spirit, or something else (the Soviet-type communists were very much against religion, any religion).

It’s not just the Church of, course. It’s a very complex mix in Russia, and even I don’t quite understand it yet. There is very clearly some downright neo-Nazism in the mix (in Russia of all places!) with the homophobic thugs who beat up protesters and their supporters. There is also the painful realization that Russia is no longer an empire of any sort, which is very frustrating for the nationalist types. There is also the old communist propaganda that the gays are a product of the Rotten West, and as such have no place in Russia (and it’s contagious, you know).

And then there is the sheer populism of the politicians who propose such bills, and the creation of an enemy to distract the electorate’s attention from the real problems in the country.

And Timothy, I understand the tendency towards “an oppressive government for themselves” only too well, but it’s not easy for me to explain it to somebody who grew up on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

I admire the Russian activists very much. The situation here in Bulgaria is nothing compared to what they have to face. “Fascists” isn’t the right word here (it seems to me that the author picked up the post-Soviet tendency to identify Nazis or modern more or less Nazi types with “fascists”, but this article is the best I can find in English about what happened at the protest against the protest against the local bill in the city of Voronezh last Saturday: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/01/20/angry-crowd-of-fascists-attack-gay-activists-in-russian-city-of-voronezh/

This material is in Russian, but I’m posting it for the from Voronezh (the video isn’t of the worst part). You can see a mannequin’s arm in a Nazi salute in the Adidas store that is mentioned in the Pink News article. My Russian sources say that one of the activists (the guy who is lying on the ground in one of the photos) was knocked unconscious, but it seems that there are no serious consequences. http://article20.org/news/piket-v-voronezhe-protiv-zakona-o-zaprete-propagandy-gomosek#.UP8Y4x2-qwy

There is a video over at Joe.My.God. of similar events at the last protest in Moscow today/yesterday depending on your time zone. I can’t find any decent material in English yet.

Timothy Kincaid
January 22nd, 2013 | LINK

Thank you Bosnian reader and Darina. Sometimes it is hard to understand from my vantage point in the States and you help give context to these stories.

Lord_Byron
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

I know it’s wrong, but I agree a little bit with Doug. As someone else stated it seems that Russia doesn’t want anything other than oppression. First the czars and other monarchies in Russia. Then the rise of soviet-communism and now it looks like Putin wants to make Russia into some form of a pseudo-theocracy.

I know this is kind of out there, but has anybody read World War Z? I only bring it up because what happens in the book to russia seems to actually be happening in real life.

StraightGrandmother
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Darin’s & Reader from Bosnia, thank you very much for your insightful contributions. I will go find the information I referred to about the Pope and provide the link. It will take me a little while to find it so keep checking back here.

Ben in Oakland
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Jus what I said, but with some actual analysis.

Al Raymond
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Here we go again! Under Lenin and early Communism, they repealed the old Imperial law (up to two years in prison for private consensual acts) and decriminalized for about 16 years. Then in 1934—at very the beginning of his bloody purges—Stalin RE-criminalized all homosexual acts (5-8 years).
In 1993, they again decriminalized; are they now getting ready to Re-re-criminalize???
Why is it the US, with a relatively thriving gay community, has no problem keeping its birthrate high, whereas Russia—which has little social tolerance for gays—still can’t get its birthrate up? Surely it can’t be because they have such a lousy government and economy!!!
They go from one extreme to another—from official atheism and turning cathedrals into stables, back to kissing the church’s ass as they did in the Imperial days.

Steve
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Russia doesn’t have a birth problem. It has a death problem:

US birth rate: est. 13.7 per 1000
US death rate: est. 8.4 per 1000

Russia birth rate: est. 12.3 per 1000
Russia death rate: est. 14.1 per 1000

You see the problem now?

MattNYC
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Al & Steve,

There is another variable. Russia’s nationalism means that they have expelled many non-Russians and have made it hard/unwelcome to anyone thinking of migrating there (assuming someone really WANTS to). The U.S. birth/death rate would likely be 0 or negative if NOT for immigration (and that’s WITH the anti-immigrant attitudes of OUR right wing).

Soren456
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

I don’t know why Russia behaves as it does, and I wouldn’t try to explain it. But a stubborn resistance to change is both centuries old and the perennial kneecapper of every sort of progress.

If you’re interested, anything about Russia by Orlando Figes is immensely useful, most particularly “A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924,” a sad and harrowing book, and “Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural history of Russia.”

Figes also writes of life under Stalin in “The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia,” a book that you will lay down from time to time because you are weeping. This may be the best explanation of Russia today.

A good quick overview of Russian history from the beginning to Putin is “Russia, a Short History” by Abraham Ascher.

Also, three works by Robert K. Massie, although somewhat “popular” and book-of-the-month in conception, are actually well-researched and beautifully written. His biographies of Peter the Great and Catherine the Great are truly worth the time; his story of Nicholas and Alexandra is, I think, weaker. I haven’t read his history of the Romanovs.

I say all this not to parade, but because Russia, of all nations, can be such a conundrum. And not just today, but through all it’s history. Personally, I think that no country in history has been more able and more willing to shoot itself in the foot than has Russia. There’s something in the water.

MattNYC
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

@Soren456

“There’s something in the water.”

(sorry–I can’t resist)

Vodka?

Soren456
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

@MattNYC:

LOL. I could never claim to know that, but you may be closer to a truth than you think.

I understand that alcohol abuse and alcoholism are tremendous problems there, some of the worst in the world.

Whether that is a relic of the Soviet era, or runs through the whole history, I don’t know. But alcohol is a cheap palliative if you’re poor, and most of the people of Russia have always been poor, and Russia has never been a nice place to be poor.

StraightGrandmother
January 23rd, 2013 | LINK

Just take a look at their main web page
http://www.profam.org/

Their list of partners starts off with
The American Family Foundation
American’s for truth about homosexuality
And continues with the usual list.
http://www.profam.org/sponsors.htm

World wide leader and NOM partner
http://www.profam.org/press/wcf.pr.011613.htm

This is the video I remember watching
http://en.familypolicy.ru/
There is a slide show click on slide 10 and you get the video.

I remember more videos, specifically the video of the Russsian Orthadox Patriarch meeting with that Catholic Cardinal/Bishop I cant’t find that video, but if you change the language to Russian over on the right you get more videos in Russian.

If you listen carefully to the video the group is Catholics and Russian Orthadox. They used to have a lot more videos, my main takeaway after watching them is that they are really worried because the Muslim Russsians are out breeding the Orthodox Russians.

Although stated that the Howard Center is of many Faiths you can be darned sure they are hiding their Catholic foundations. Yeah, they really hate contraception also, big Catholic tip off there.

Anthemius
January 24th, 2013 | LINK

Russians didn’t “expel many non-Russians”, Russia is a country with one of the highest immigration numbers. That’s why the ultranationalists are so concerned about the immigration.

I also don’t think that it has much to do with the Catholics and the Howard Foundation. They seem to be minor players in this business. The Patriarch sure as hell wouldn’t accept any “tutoring” from a Catholic Cardinal.

Darina
January 24th, 2013 | LINK

Ah, at last I found a decent article in English about the attack on the activists at the kiss-in protest in Moscow on 22 January. No photos or videos.

And this is a photo post in Russian. Don’t click on this link if you can’t stand to look at blood: http://lgbt-grani.livejournal.com/1744822.html It’s actually ketchup in that young man’s hair and maybe on his cheek (because the attackers squirted ketchup at the activist, no kidding – I guess that’s the messiest thing other than eggs they thought of). But his nose is really broken and bleeding. I don’t know for sure how bad the damage is; I know his boyfriend online, but I don’t want to bother him.

Now my Russian sources say that the first reading of that federal bill was scheduled for tomorrow, and there is going to be a new protest against it. One of the organizers is a young lesbian activist whose partner got beaten up the other day. I don’t have enough imagination to imagine her courage.

Darina
January 24th, 2013 | LINK

Oops, I forgot the link to the article in English: http://www.expatica.ru/news/russian-news/russian-gay-activists-attacked-in-moscow_256323.html

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