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Monday, January 21, 2013

Meanwhile in Russia

Posted by on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 at 12:31 PM

Today the president of the United States recognized that the struggles for women's rights (Seneca Falls), the civil rights of African Americans (Selma), and LGBT rights (Stonewall) are all the same fight: the fight for freedom and equality for all citizens. And in Russia today...

Kissing his boyfriend during a protest in front of Russia‘s parliament earned Pavel Samburov 30 hours of detention and the equivalent of a $16 fine on a charge of “hooliganism.” But if a bill that comes up for a first vote later this month becomes law, such a public kiss could be defined as illegal “homosexual propaganda” and bring a fine of up to $16,000.

The legislation being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information that is defined as “propaganda of sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgenderism.” It includes a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights. St. Petersburg and a number of other Russian cities already have similar laws on their books.... Samburov describes the anti-gay bill as part of a Kremlin crackdown on minorities of any kind—political and religious as well as sexual—designed to divert public attention from growing discontent with Putin’s rule.


Gay activists were beaten up by an angry crowd during an authorized protest on Sunday. In the city of Voronezh in southwest Russia, gay rights activists held a protest against a nationwide homophobia bill that will be discussed in parliament soon. Several hundred people opposing gay rights gathered near a monument to poet Ivan Nikitin to seal off all approaches to it to prevent the picket from taking place. When about ten gay activists appeared, the crowd pelted them with snowballs and then beat them up. According to the Associated Press, at least one of the picketers had to seek medical assistance. The legislation currently being pushed by the Kremlin and the Russian Orthodox Church would make it illegal nationwide to provide minors with information defined as ‘homosexual propaganda.’ It would include a ban on holding public events that promote gay rights, a bill St Petersburg already banning Gay Pride for 100 years.

The Russian consulate that handles affairs for Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming is located in downtown Seattle.

A gay history lesson: zaps.

The Russian Consulate at One Union Square seems like a good target for a zap.


Comments (15) RSS

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Sargon Bighorn 1
It might be worth having a protest outside the Consulate's office.
Posted by Sargon Bighorn on January 21, 2013 at 12:46 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 2
In Soviet Russia, government protest you!

What a country!
Posted by Urgutha Forka on January 21, 2013 at 1:04 PM · Report this
Tacoma Traveler 3
Russian democracy: How much of it is Russian, and how much of it is democracy?
Posted by Tacoma Traveler on January 21, 2013 at 1:09 PM · Report this
LEE. 4
it's things like this that make me furious when people decide to shit all over "socialism" because Russia. I'm pretty sure their society was fucked long before Lenin picked up a copy of Das Kapital. and it remains fucked now that the Soviet Union collapsed.
Posted by LEE. on January 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Doctor Memory 5
Just remember: 20 years ago, the GHWB administration (and, later, the Clintons) in its infinite wisdom decided that the best thing they could do for the emerging post-soviet Russian state was to apply "shock therapy" and back the wildly unpopular and incompetent Boris Yeltsin, while eliminating services that people depended on and flogging off state assets to the highest bidder, which in all cases was organized crime.

And now, 20 years later, we are shocked, shocked that anything having even the slightest whiff of western liberal values is about as popular as smallpox in modern Russia.

What's happening to the nascent gay rights movement there is a small symptom of a much larger problem. Russia is a gangster state, and that's precisely the outcome that a bipartisan consensus of the best and brightest in Washington, DC wanted. Enjoy!
Posted by Doctor Memory on January 21, 2013 at 2:07 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 6
@ 6, to be fair, Russia's issues were much larger than anything Yeltsin, or anybody else, could address, even if they did it honestly. Laying all that at the door of American foreign policy is beyond credible.

What's happening to Russia's nascent gay rights movement is scapegoating, a long favored tactic of repressive Russian regimes to distract the populace away from the shitty state of affairs. Your life sucks? 100 years ago, beating up Jews was a great way to get out some frustration, the best part being that you wouldn't have to go to jail. Well, now that you can't do that to Jews without getting the whole world on your ass, gays are the next best thing.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 7
Er, make that @ 5.
Posted by Matt from Denver on January 21, 2013 at 2:17 PM · Report this
I was in Russia briefly in the early 90's when the Soviet anti-gay laws were first repealed (Article 121) and the first gay clubs opened. It was an amazingly exciting time, when the first gay clubs and bars opened in St. Petersburg and Moscow, and the first gay-pride parade took place in St.P. The rest of Russia, of course, was pretty immune to these changes at large, however, individuals may have felt more tolerant. I've been all over Russia since, and while on a personal level people may not have negative feelings towards gays, there is lately a very significant increase in government pressure to deny LGBT any rights, and to actively oppress them as an "abnormality" coming from "Western culture". Sadly in the past few years they have targeted gays and lesbians (often physically in front of bars or clubs), in tandem with activists from the Orthodox Church and with the support of the support of the police. I'm not sure protesting at the Seattle consulate will do much; they are mainly responsible for tourist visas, support for Russian citizens, and local Russia-friendly events. The real change is going to happen in Russia, and it's going to be a really long slog. There is a lot to fight with the current legislation, and sadly, it will probably pass... But I hope that LGBT activists will still go out and fight,,, Otherwise we loose everything for gay rights in Russia, as long as Putin is in power...
Posted by Quincent on January 21, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this

Once again, the root of the problem?


Posted by Velvetbabe on January 21, 2013 at 3:03 PM · Report this
OutInBumF 10
Yep- a loving god and its followers cause human misery to increase. News at 6:00.
Posted by OutInBumF on January 21, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
You're not going to get up to the 25th floor of One Union Square for your zap, but the home of the Russian Consul-General is in Madison Park.…
Posted by Mason on January 21, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 12
George Kennan was probably the American who best understood Russians. 65 years ago he wote an article, later enlarged into a book, based on a lifetime of analysis and his service as ambassador to the USSR. The short version was: Look to Russian history, not Communist theory, to understand the USSR. Likewise, look to Russian history to understand modern Russia. It's not pretty; it's bigotted, intolerant, and murderous. It may be Russian, but it sure ain't democracy.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on January 21, 2013 at 9:49 PM · Report this
These activists are so brave, I don't think I could do what they do. I hope these laws are replealed.What a corrupt, awful place to live in. You get murdered or beaten up for questioning corrupt bureaucrats, it really is a gangster state.
Posted by arachnar on January 21, 2013 at 10:55 PM · Report this
seandr 14
That place just keeps getting scarier and scarier.
Posted by seandr on January 21, 2013 at 11:30 PM · Report this
Ophian 15
Watching Russia go retrograde is fairly disheartening.
Posted by Ophian on January 22, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this

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