Over recent months, LGBT individuals living in Russia have faced a constant attack on their rights and their security. Not only have government officials passed aggressive anti-gay legislation, but young gays are facing extreme violence at the hands of those in power, as well as by their fellow citizens. This prompted the plea below, that we featured in June. Since then our worst fears have been realised. Sharing this is now a crime.
1. Despite protests on the streets and international condemnation, the upper house of the Russian Parliament voted last month to approve both a bill banning adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples and the nationwide anti-”propaganda” bill banning the promotion of “non-traditional” relationships to minors.
The bills, which have since been signed by President Vladimir Putin, bans foreign same-sex couples and unmarried individuals in countries where same-sex marriage is legal from adopting Russian children. At a time when the Duma's approval ratings continue to slip, the law may have been one of the most popular things the Duma has done in ages. Bigotry, as often before, is again being deployed as a unifier.
The image below shows anti-gay rights activists in central Moscow standing on a rainbow flag during a protest by gay rights activists demonstrating against the proposed new law.(Reuters/Maxim Shemetov).
2. The head of the Russian Orthodox Church told parishioners Sunday that marriage equality will destroy the world.
"This is a very dangerous sign of the apocalypse," said Patriarch Kirill in Moscow's Red Square on Sunday, according to News.com.au. "It means people are choosing the a path of self-destruction."
The Russian Orthodox priest also noted his support for President Vladimir Putin's recently enacted ban on "homosexual propaganda." No doubt he would happily endorse the kind of protest captured on film below. A cross already features!
3. Four Dutch tourists were arrested in northern Russia this weekend for violating the new anti-gay "propaganda" law while participating in a "Youth Human Rights Camp" that discussed LGBT issues.The Dutch nationals were released without being charged on Sunday, but are apparently the first to be jailed over the new ban.
Russian immigration officials apparently charged the group with violating its stated reason for being in the country, "getting acquainted with local culture", when in fact the group was filming a documentary about LGBT life in the town of Murmansk. Russian officials seized the filmmakers' footage, alleging that the team interviewed an LGBT teenager who was 17. The Dutch filmmakers, however, told the BBC that the youth in question had said that he was 18 when he agreed to be filmed. The BBC reports that each visitor was fined 3,000 rubles ($93 USD) for violating visa rules.
Russia's strict, broad-ranging "propaganda" ban prohibits the "promotion of non-traditional sexual relations" to minors, and imposes steep fines and possible jail time for any individual, organization, public official, or media outlet that discusses LGBT identity in any way. Let's hope these guys are still at liberty! The placard reads "Homophobia kills".
4. A neo-Nazi Russian group has taken to social media to publicise images and videos of gay teenagers lured by the promise of a date, before torturing them and forcing them to come out to friends and family on video.
Gay victims aged 12-16 are reportedly recruited by the group Occupy-Pedofilyay, led by Maxim Martsinkevich, known under the nickname “Cleaver”. Videos are then circulated of the victims being made to come out as gay, with a view to parents, schools, or friends finding out about their sexuality.
An uncensored image of one of the victims holding a sex toy, covered in red paint, and being held down, appeared on the Spectrum Human Rights Alliance blog. The accompanying report also included a video of the torture of one victim who was sprayed with urine in public.
In May, 19-year-old Alex Bulygin, a victim of the ‘fighters with paedophiles’ branch of the group, committed suicide after having his sexuality revealed online.
The Spectrum report says that no police action has been taken against the incidents, despite numerous victims, and that over 500 similar groups have been formed across Russia using the VK social networking site.
5. And it's not just about Moscow. After attempting to hold a gay pride rally, many gay rights demonstrators were arrested in the city of St Petersburg. Authorities claimed that the demonstration had broken the new law. Around 40 people were arrested. The image says it all.
Lustralboy says: "So now you get the picture. A nation with a traditional lack of tolerance to gays now finds its attitudes enflamed for largely political reasons. It's time to fightback. Click here to go to the better news.
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