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Posts for June, 2009

Russian LGBT Advocates To Picket Obama In Moscow

Jim Burroway

June 9th, 2009
U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

Nikolail Alekseev, organizer of Moscow’s Gay Pride events, has announced that they plan to stage a protest in front of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow on July 7 during a state visit of U.S. President Barack Obama. They plan to press Obama on same-sex marriage:

“We want to express our solidarity with US gay activists who are planning similar protests in Washington DC, Chicago and other cities in the coming months,” he said.

Andy Thayer of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network commended the Russian protest. ““This international support for our equal rights is particularly commendable in light of the fact that most LGBT groups in the U.S. continue to fail to help LGBTs outside of the U.S,” he told a Russian LGBT web site. Thayer participated in last month’s Slavic Pride which was broken up by Russian riot police.

Alekseev will apply for permission with Moscow authorities to hold the picket in front of the embassy. He characterizes the likelihood of receiving the proper permits “highly unlikely,” and doesn’t say what he will do if the permits are denied.

Russian Riot Police Break Up Slavic Pride

Jim Burroway

May 16th, 2009
Nikolai Alekseev being arrested by OMON riot police.

Nikolai Alekseev being arrested by OMON riot police.

Police in riot gear swept in and forcibly broke up an attempted Slavic Pride march near Moscow State University shortly after noon today just as the march was getting underway. Between twenty and forty people were arrested in all.

The march had only been underway for about a minute when OMON rushed in and began hauling off marchers to waiting buses. Riot police then began detaining other gay activists who appeared shortly after and were speaking with media. They were arrested even though they hadn’t participated in the march itself. There are reports that as police hauled away Ksenia Prilebskaya, they ripped off her shirt and bra and roughly pushed her into a police bus.

Moscow authorities had earlier denied permission to hold the march, and they vowed to break up any attempt by activists to march without permission. Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov has described Pride marches as “satanic,” and his spokesman yesterday said the march sought to “destroy the moral foundations of our society.”

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Among those in custody are Slavic Pride organizer Nikolai Alekseev and Chicago LGBT activist Andy Theyer. Alekseev and another activist were were at an adjacent park popular with newlyweds dressed as a groom and bride while giving interviews with media when police spotted and arrested them. Alekseev was held down by five riot police as he was arrested. British activist Peter Tatchell was arrested but has since been released. One activist has already been taken before a judge who pronounced him innocent, but he still remains in police custody.

There is currently no word from Alekseev since his arrest. He has reportedly been segregated from the other arrested activists and his cell phone has been confiscated.

The detentions come as Moscow prepares to host the final round of the Eurovision Song Contest, Europe’s most prestigious pop music event. Russia had reportedly spent some 24 million euros on the contest in an attempt to bolster its international image. Some singers had threatened to boycott the wildly popular world event if the Slavic Pride march was broken up. Today’s arrests are highly embarrassing for the Eurovision organizers, which has a big gay following across Europe. According to the U.K.’s Telegraph:

Advance questions about the march drew embarrassed silence from Graham Norton, the BBC’s commentator for the competition, and Andrew Lloyd Weber, who co-wrote the song for Britain’s contestant, Jade Ewen. Both men claimed not to have heard of the protest, while Lord Lloyd Weber suggested that it might have been banned to avoid traffic congestion.

A few hours earlier, Russian Orthodox nationalists held a counterdemonstration against Slavic Pride. That counterdemonstration was held with the approval of Moscow city authorities. Demonstrators there chanted “Glory to Christ! Death to the Antichrist!.”

UK Gay News continues to provide hour-by-hour updates on the situation.

Russian Police Vow To Break Up Tommorow’s Slavic Pride March

Jim Burroway

May 15th, 2009

Moscow authorities have vowed to clamp down on any gay pride march which LGBT advocates try to hold on Saturday. Organizers of Slavic Gay Pride had planned on holding a march on Saturday to coincide with the high visibility of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, which is being held in Moscow. The Dutch contestants have already threatened to boycott the Eurovision Finals if the Gay Pride march is not allowed to go ahead. the French Eurovision delegation have announced their intent to join the march while displaying their Eurovision credentials. U.K. LGBT activist Peter Tatchell has also arrived in Moscow to participate in Pride activities.

According to continually-updated reports at UK Gay News, Slavic Gay Pride organizers have gone into hiding as police try to track them down and arrest them. One Moscow daily has reported that police are planning to arrest Moscow Pride leader Nikolai Alekseev. For his part, Alekseev isn’t deterred. Speaking from his secret location, he declared:

Nikolai Alekseev

Nikolai Alekseev

“Everyone is very excited about tomorrow and more than ever ready to go in the street despite the threats reported by the Moscow police tonight. It is just hard to believe that despite we are organizing the action for the 4th time, we have this year 55 activists from several regions of Russia and Belarus who checked in for the event and who since Thursday are just working on it and who more than everything want to march tomorrow.  For the forth time, we are just showing to Russian that gays and lesbians are not cowards and that they are not scared to march for their rights. And looking at the high number of reports in the Russian media, the message is delivered!”

The situation is getting very tense. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in UK has issued a “travel advisory” for LGBT visitors in Moscow. Russian Nationalists have already announced their own brand of an “ex-gay cure”:

Russian nationists are threatening to “cure” anyone who takes part in Saturday’s Slavic Gay Pride Parade in Moscow. “We will cure them for sure. We will help them to the hospital to be treated by the doctors. They are ill people,” Alexei Samsonov, a right-wing activist, told Reuters.

Last year’s Moscow Pride was conducted in a similarly clandestine manner, as Alekseev and other activists pulled off several different Pride activities while Moscow police scampered like Keystone cops. In 2007, an unauthorized march ended in violence and massive arrests.

Moscow Mayor Promises Further LGBT Suppression

Jim Burroway

December 4th, 2008

While speaking at an AIDS conference (no less!), Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov said that the city would continue to ban gay rights marches and other “propaganda”:

“So-called democrats consider that sexual minorities can be the main indicator and main symbol of democracy, but we will in future continue to ban propaganda of the views of sexual minorities. Of course, we will be criticised by all democrats in the world but in each society there are own views on that.”

The mayor reportedly blamed gays for the spread of AIDS in Russia, and said that condoms should not be a part of an HIV-prevention program because, he said, “contemporary science” claims that they are not 100% safe. Mayor Luzhkov has previously referred to gays as “satanic.”

For the past several years, local gay rights organizations have been denied permits to hold Pride marches in Moscow. Two years ago, an attempted Pride parade was broken up by police and local thugs. Last year, Pride organizers were able to outsmart Moscow police and hold two visible and public events before authorities were able to shut them down. This occurred despite Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s order that local authorities authorize the march.

Next year, Moscow Pride organisers plan to take advantage of increased visibility surrounding the next May’s Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow to hold a coinciding Pride celebration.

Paul Cameron’s Bedfellows At Moscow State University

Jim Burroway

June 21st, 2008

The New York Times last year ran a short profile on Moscow State University’s sociology department, where students have lodged complaints about that department’s academic standards and living conditions. Students allege that the dean, Vladimir Dobrenkov, has institutionalized anti-Western, xenophobic, nationalistic, and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in the department, which goes a long way toward explaining Cameron’s warm welcome there earlier this week. According to The Times:

The dean’s office has distributed a brochure to all students that approvingly quotes the ‘Protocols of the Elders of Zion,’ blames Freemasons and Zionists for the world wars, and claims that they control U.S. and British policy and the global financial system,” the students wrote in one of their public appeals. “Studying conditions at the department are unbearable.”

“The quality of the education has become so low that it has become terrible,” said one of the students, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of retaliation by staff members. “For the last two years all of my education has had to be self-education.”

Richard Bartholomew at Talk to Action has more information about Dobrenkov’s nationalistic views and anti-western conspiracy theories.

A working group of Russian academics from the Public Chamber of Russia responded to student complaints and inspected MSU’s sociology department. They found several deficiencies, including:

  1. The level of training among the faculty “does not meet world standards,” nor do they follow current knowledge and trends in sociology.
  2. A number of teaching aids, specifically a three-volume basic textbook that Dobrenkov co-wrote with Elena Kravchenko was found to be “totally unsatisfactory” for not taking into account the current state of sociology in Russia and abroad. Several examples of plagiarism were also found in the textbook along with conflicting interpretations of key concepts.
  3. While some graduate-level work by students were found to be “quite professional,” others offered for inspection to the working group included ideological expressions of bigotry against other cultures.
  4. Questions on final exams fell short of the current state of sociology. Students received high marks on their exams despite not knowing about the works by major well-known scientists.
  5. MSU’s faculty operates in near-complete isolation from the rest of the sociological world. With few exceptions, members of MSU’s faculty aren’t published in significant sociology journals, they don’t participate in international conferences, and they don’t invite external experts for lectures.
  6. The working group also noted that Dobrenkov plans to train students in what he calls “Orthodox sociology.” This, the working group noted, was especially troubling for a leading national university which trains sociologists who are then expected to compete in international sociology.

Given Paul Cameron’s numerous denunciations by professional associations here in the United States — including two denunciations by the American Sociological Association — it looks like he found some kindred spirits at Moscow State who may well be receptive to his proposed pogroms against LGBT people here and abroad.

See also:
Paul Cameron’s Bedfellows At Moscow State University
Paul Cameron Urges Russia To Suppress Gays
Paul Cameron: A Fool In Moscow
Paul Cameron to Speak In Moscow

Paul Cameron Urges Russia To Suppress Gays

Jim Burroway

June 20th, 2008

Paul Cameron is continuing his tour of Moscow, where he’s spreading his virulent form of anti-gay propaganda masquerading as “science” to receptive audiences. Yesterday, he spoke at a round table sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church, where he claimed that gays are twice as likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, and avoid paying taxes. That last one is a new one, but likely a key part of his Nazi-inspired “homosexuals-as-parasites” argument.

He also said that one reason we have so many gays and lesbians in this country is because we ignored his research. He claimed that some two-thirds of us are gay because our first sexual experience was at a young age with someone of the same sex. He also said that we could have reduced the number of gays and lesbians by 60-70% if only Americans had followed his manifesto, and he urged Russians to support Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov’s Gay Pride ban. Cameron also said that the sociology faculty of Moscow State University is interested in developing an institute to perform studies similar to Paul Cameron.

They might want to ask a few professional organizations here in the U.S. first if they don’t want to taint the good name of Moscow State University. The American Sociological Association condemned him twice in 1985 and 1986 for his unethical conduct, saying that he is not a sociologist. Cameron had begun to call himself one after having been dropped from the American Psychological Association for ethical violations. He was also condemned by the Nebraska Psychological Association for his unethical misuse of other researchers’ work. Just last year, Cameron was condemned by the president of the Eastern Psychological Association for misrepresenting the nature of his “Scandinavian lifespan study.”

Cameron openly admires how the Nazi’s “dealt with” homosexuality in the 1930s and 40s, which makes it particularly egregious that he’s finding a receptive audience in Russia for his dangerous ideas. He’s not likely to ever attain his dream of rounding up gays and lesbians and tattooing them or putting them into concentration camps in this country, and it’s also not likely in Russia either. But he clearly intends to support continued violence and official oppression there. And there are countries around the world where Cameron’s lunacy doesn’t sound so crazy, which should concern all of us.

[Hat tip: Ruslan Porshnev of Anti-Dogma]

See also:
Paul Cameron’s Bedfellows At Moscow State University
Paul Cameron Urges Russia To Suppress Gays
Paul Cameron: A Fool In Moscow
Paul Cameron to Speak In Moscow

Paul Cameron: A Fool In Moscow

Jim Burroway

June 18th, 2008

Cameron in MoscowMonday we warned that Paul Cameron was to speak yesterday before the sociology faculty of Moscow State University. Now we have a report of what he told that audience. Not surprisingly, it’s the same claptrap he’s been peddling here in the U.S.

In this glowing account of his talk (they describe him as a “famous” or “renowned” scientist three times), Cameron repeats the most chilling line of his standard stump speech. He contends that gays and lesbians don’t produce children and they allegedly cost society more than they produce. In recent writings where he pursues this line of reasoning, he concludes that gays and lesbians lead parasitic lives — with all of its implications and deserved consequences. This poor translation doesn’t reveal that he actually repeated the term “parasitic lives”, but that is an integral part of his speech. In fact, we have heard it very recently.

Cameron also promoted his arsenal of discredited “studies,” claiming 20-40% of child molestations by foster parents in Illinois were done by gay people, and that gays and lesbians are much more prone to drug abuse and diseases. But his deceitful misuse of science has earned him denunciations and censure from by every professional organization he has come in contact with.

Cameron claimed that how Russia deals with homosexuality will determine the fate of Western civilization and asks, “Do you want to be the same fools as us?” No doubt, Cameron believes that Russia could serve as a laboratory to test Cameron’s Nazi-esque solution for homosexuality.

[Hat tip: Ruslan Porshnev of Anti-Dogma]

UPDATE: Tomorrow Cameron will speak at a round table sponsored by the Russian Orthodox Church.

See also:
Paul Cameron’s Bedfellows At Moscow State University
Paul Cameron Urges Russia To Suppress Gays
Paul Cameron: A Fool In Moscow
Paul Cameron to Speak In Moscow

Paul Cameron to Speak In Moscow

Jim Burroway

June 16th, 2008

Paul CameronCalifornia may be about to issue its first marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, but that doesn’t mean anti-gay extremists are crawling back into the woodwork anytime soon. Paul Cameron, of the Family “Research” Institute has no intention of fading away. He is in Moscow, where tomorrow he will speak at Moscow State University on a panel called “Social norms and prospects of development of society.”

According to this translated news item, Cameron will be spreading his discredited “research” to Russia, where he remains an unknown quantity. There, he will speak on “Homosexuality and the demographic problem.” Population declines in Eastern Europe and Asia has been very fertile ground lately for anti-gay extremists, and part of the blame for declining birth rates have been leveled squarely at gays and lesbians. No doubt Cameron will add to this by stoking his discredited “Scandinavian Lifespan Study.” You may remember that his misrepresentations surrounding this so-called “study” prompted a stern rebuke from the Eastern Psychological Association last year.

It’s especially distressing to see Cameron speaking to the sociology faculty at Moscow State University. The American Sociological Association has the unique distinction of having denounced him twice in 1985 and 1986. The ASA couldn’t have been more clear about what they thought of his “research”:

“The American Sociological Association officially and publicly states that Paul Cameron is not a sociologist, and condemns his consistent misrepresentation of sociological research.”

Cameron was also dropped by the American Psychological Association in 1983 following allegations of professional misconduct, and he was censured by the Nebraska Psychological Association in 1984.

Anti-gay extremists have been finding a very receptive audience in Russia and Eastern Europe. The Watchmen On the Walls held a rally in Novosibirsk in which American holocaust revisionist Scott Lively excused Satander Singh’s murder in Sacramento. With holocaust revisionism proving to be so effective in Russia and Eastern Europe, Paul Cameron should feel very much at home.

[Hat tip: Ruslan Porshnev at Anti-Dogma]

See also:
Paul Cameron’s Bedfellows At Moscow State University
Paul Cameron Urges Russia To Suppress Gays
Paul Cameron: A Fool In Moscow
Paul Cameron to Speak In Moscow

Moscow Pride Organizers Jubilant

Jim Burroway

June 2nd, 2008

Moscow Pride organizer Nikolai AlekseevOrganizers of yesterday’s Moscow Pride events consider yesterday’s actions a tremendous success. Throughout the day, they were able to stage two highly visible demonstrations garnering local and international media attention while eluding police. Police had tried to preemptively detain Moscow Pride organizer Nickolai Alekseev earlier that morning, but he was able to get away.

No one was hurt during the events, but five activists were ultimately detained. One was briefly held but let go, while the four who unfurled the banner from an apartment across from Moscow City Hall were released by the court the following Monday morning.

With the release of those four activists, Alekseev declared the event over and hailed the event a success:

“Our people showed that we are not only a force for gays but a political force and won’t compromise on our rights,” he told AFP.

Alekseev elaborated further in an email:

“No human rights group or opposition [has] ever humiliated the Moscow authorities so much.

We wanted to defy the Mayor in front of his office. Not only [has the] homophobia of Mayor Luzhkov been advertised today, but also the full collapse of his administration to prevent gays and lesbians [from] realiz[ing] their constitutional rights to march.

Today, we showed that our group is powerful not only in gay and lesbian aspects, but in general. Our fight is only at its beginning.”

[Hat tip: Bob Schwartz, Gay Liberation Network]

Russian Gay Rights Activists Besieged By Police and Arrested

Jim Burroway

June 1st, 2008

Banner hung from an apartment under siege across from Moscow City Hall

In the latest attempts to hold a Pride demonstration in Moscow, activists unfurled a banner from a private apartment across the street from Moscow City Hall on Sunday. Shortly after 1:00 in the afternoon, activists unfurled the six meter banner reading, “Rights to gays and lesbians — homophobia of mayor Luzhkov to be prosecuted.”

Four unidentified activists were in the apartment, which was immediately besieged by Moscow police who spend the rest of the day trying to gain forced entry into the apartment without a court order. At one point, the police threatened to plant drugs on the four and charge them with false drug charges.

Shortly after 9:00 that evening, police were able to force their way into the apartment and arrest the four activists.

UK Gay News is facilitating a rolling update on their web site of continuing coverage from Russian bloggers. It’s a very riveting account. Bloggers also report that the Russian LGBT websites GayRussia.ru and Gay.ru were taken offline for unknown reasons. (Gay.ru appears to be back online.)

The action across from Moscow City Hall followed a cat-and-mouse game of chase between gay activists and Moscow police. LGBT activists, who had been keeping their plans secret, eluded police and staged a short protest in front of the Tchaikovsky statue at the Moscow music conservatory. Thirty-five people unfurled a banner and flag and shouted pro-gay slogans, and then left before police could arrive.

Protesters in front of the Tchaikovsky statute at the Moscow music conservatory

There are no other reports of arrests of pro-gay activists, although it has been reported that perhaps as many as fifteen anti-gay and nationalist protesters were also arrested.

It had been reported earlier that Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev ordered the Prefecture of the Central Administrative area of Moscow to authorize a Gay Pride demonstration. Since his election the the Russian presidency, there has been widespread speculation that he would be a mere figurehead president as former president Vladimir Putin takes the role as Prime Minister. It appears that Moscow city authorities have adopted a similarly dismissive view of Medvedev’s authority as well.

Russian President Intervenes on Moscow Pride

Jim Burroway

May 30th, 2008

It has been learned that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered the Prefecture of the Central Administrative area of Moscow to authorize a Gay Pride demonstration. This came after Moscow Pride organizers had applied for permission to hold five marches every day in May. All of the applications have been denied by Moscow municipal authorities however, claiming that the marches would “endanger public order and cause negative reaction of the majority of the population.”

Local organizers say they have not received confirmation from Moscow City officials of permission to hold the event. They plan on conducting a small demonstration this Sunday in front of Moscow City Hall.

Moscow had banned Pride events in 2006 and 2007. Last year’s Pride demonstration ended in violence. Moscow mayor Mayor Yuri Luzhkov has branded gay Pride parades as “satanic” and vowed that they would never be permitted in the capital.

Moscow’s Banned Pride Day Becomes Pride Month

Jim Burroway

April 25th, 2008

Russian gay rights advocate Nikolai Alexeyev’s bid for a gay pride parade during the May Day holidays was rejected by Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov. Segei Tsoi, the mayor’s spokesman, warned that if they went ahead with the march, there “could be blood, which no one wants. He also accused Alexeyev of trying to “spoil” a traditional labor holiday, a charge which Alexeyev adamantly rejected:

“As if gays don’t support peace and don’t work,” said an incredulous Alexeyev. “Don’t we pay the taxes that support this government? I don’t understand this at all.”

In response, Alexeyev has announced that he will submit notifications for five marches per day for each day in May on different streets around Moscow’s city center. Anticipating that none of these marches will be permitted to take place, Alexeyev says it will demonstrate to the Council of Europe that “homosexuals are not allowed to freely express their opinions in Moscow — in any day in any form, in any street and in any time.” Russia is a member of the Council of Europe and a signatory to the European Convention of Human Rights, which obligates Russia to observe the rights to peaceful assembly and demonstrations. A complaint has been filed in the European Court in Strasbourg.

Mayor Luzhkov has branded gay pride parades as “satanic” and vowed that they would never be permitted in the capital.

Nikolai Alexeyev’s arrestLast year’s Moscow Pride gathering was broken up by violent thugs, Russian Orthodox clergy and police. None of the anti-gay assailants who instigated the violence were arrested. Instead, police hauled off Alexeyev, British gay rights advocate Peter Tatchell, Right Said Fred singer Richard Fairbrass, Italian Member of European Parliament Marco Cappato, German Member of Parliament Volker Beck, and 27 others.

Homosexuality was legalized in Russia in 1993, but discrimination against gays and lesbians remains widespread.

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