Posts tagged Russia
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The amendment to the Russian Federal Law, effectively banning the "propaganda" of same-sex sexual relations to minors, what are called "non-traditional sexual relations," makes for chilling reading. Stephen Fry’s likening it to anti-Semitism may not be far wrong; it is aimed at invalidating LGBT people which, in turn, fosters a climate of hate. To highlight this, the text of an "Explanatory Note" published with the Bill and the new clause of the Legal Code of the Russian Federation itself, approved by Vladimir Putin on 29th June 2013, is reproduced below with the words "non-traditional" sexual relationships and "homosexuality" replaced with "interracial" relationships, for its resemblance to Nazi racial laws of the 1930s is among this law’s most terrifying features.
What follows is based on an accurate translation of the original Russian documents. The Explanatory Note would read (with modifications in bold):
The promotion of interracial relationships has sharply increased in modern-day Russia. This promotion is carried out via the media as well as via the active pursuit of public activities which try to portray interracial relationships as normal behavior. This is particularly dangerous for children and young people who are not able to take a critical approach to this avalanche of information with which they are bombarded on a daily basis. In view of this, it is essential, first and foremost, to protect the younger generation from exposure to the promotion of interracial relationships, this being the aim of the present bill….
It is therefore essential to put in place measures which provide for the intellectual, moral and mental wellbeing of children, including a ban on any activities aimed at popularizing interracial relationships. A ban of this kind on propaganda as an activity involving the intentional and indiscriminate spreading of information which may be injurious to physical, moral and spiritual wellbeing, including instilling distorted ideas that society places an equal value on traditional and interracial sexual relations, amongst people who are incapable, due to their age, of critically assessing this information on their own, cannot in itself be considered a breach of the constitutional rights of citizens.
In view of the above, a bill has been drafted which introduces amendments to the Legal Code of the Russian Federation by making the promotion of interracial relationships to minors illegal. However, it would not be an offense to be a person in an interracial relationship but only to promote interracial relationships to minors.
The bill confers the right of drawing up charge sheets relating to activities carried out in public which are aimed at promoting interracial relationships to minors on officials of the authorities responsible for internal affairs (the police) and of considering any resulting cases on the courts.
The text of the new clause, again replacing "non-traditional" with "interracial," would be as follows:
Article 6.21. Promoting interracial sexual relations to minors:
1. Promoting interracial sexual relations to minors by spreading information aimed at instilling in minors interracial sexual arrangements, the attractiveness of interracial sexual relations and/or a distorted view that society places an equal value on traditional and interracial sexual relations or propagating information on interracial sexual relations making them appear interesting, provided that these activities do not involve criminal acts which are punishable under the law, will be punishable by the imposition of a fine ranging from four thousand to five thousand roubles for individuals, from forty thousand to fifty thousand roubles for officials, from eight hundred thousand to one million roubles or suspension of operations for up to ninety days for legal entities.
2. Activities stipulated in section 1 of the present article carried out using the mass media and/or information-telecommunications channels (including the internet) provided that these activities do not involve criminal acts which are punishable under the law, will be punishable by the imposition of a fine ranging from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand roubles for individuals, from one hundred thousand to two hundred thousand roubles for officials, of one million roubles or suspension of operations for up to ninety days for legal entities.
3. Activities stipulated in section 1 of the present article carried out by foreigners or stateless persons provided that these activities do not involve criminal acts which are punishable under the law, will be punishable by the imposition of a fine ranging from four thousand to five thousand roubles plus deportation from the Russian Federation or detention for up to fifty days plus deportation from the Russian Federation.
4. Activities stipulated in section 1 of the present article carried out by foreigners or stateless persons using the mass media and/or information-telecommunications channels (including the internet) provided that these activities do not involve criminal acts which are punishable under the law, will be punishable by the imposition of a fine ranging from fifty thousand to one hundred thousand roubles plus deportation from the Russian Federation or detention for up to fifty days plus deportation from the Russian Federation.
Clearly this modified version of the law would be wholly unacceptable. But the original text is no less obscene in targeting sexual rather than racial minorities. It has already been used against Russian citizens and foreigners. Legal sanctions also legitimize the victimization of LGBT people, which has led to some horrific violence. Minors are, of course, everywhere, and the law’s provisions are so far-reaching, including all communication channels, as to make any attempt to speak about, defend or demonstrate sexual orientation or trans-gender identity publicly under any circumstances subject to fines and imprisonment. There can be no support for gay teens in schools and even to discuss issues around bullying and suicide would break the law, as would a challenge to the law in the courts or the Duma. This is a step back to the graveyard of state-sponsored bigotry reminiscent of Nazi Germany, apartheid South Africa and some pre-1960s southern states of the U.S. [via]
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Gay Russian teens communicate in secret to avoid a law on “gay propaganda”: Young homosexuals faced with hatred and rejection in Russia turn to closed internet forum Deti-404 for support.
Only one person knew that Svetlana was gay when she wrote to Deti-404, a Russian support group for lesbian teenagers. In her letter, the 16-year-old described a life of hiding her sexuality in a small town in central Russia where a man had been killed for being gay. “I am scared that they will find out about me and lynch me. Sometimes I want to cry out: ‘Accept me for who I am! Or at least be tolerant of me’,” she wrote.
Deti-404, which takes its name from the error page that appears when a website does not exist, was set up by Lena Klimova, 25, after she wrote an article about the plight of LGBT teenagers. She had no plans to do anything further, but then she got a letter from Nadya, 15. “Nadya was hounded at school, her mother didn’t support her,” said Klimova in an interview. “She decided to die, accidentally read my article and didn’t do it.”
After Klimova had spoken to Nadya by phone and understood the depths of her despair, she asked herself: “Why does nobody ring alarm bells, not scream, not shout about it on every corner? Many of them close in on themselves, they don’t tell anyone. They are scared of parents and classmates. If they open up, parents sometimes beat them, insult them, throw them out, take away their phones, ban them from going on the internet and even lock them up in a psychiatric clinic.”
The small support group is one of the few for young gay people in Russia. It would also seem to be exactly the thing that the controversial anti-gay law passed by the Russian parliament wishes to crack down on. The law, similar to the section 28 law that was passed by Margaret Thatcher’s government in the UK in 1988, bans the dissemination of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual orientation” towards under-18s and imposes fines on anyone convicted.
When she set up the group, Klimova surveyed 115 LGBT teenagers all over Russia, creating a closed forum for the teens to interact. Her survey showed that a number had thought of suicide. Fewer than half had come out to their parents. “It is only on the internet that they can find somebody to speak to,” she said. “The feeling that most of these children feel is constant fear.” Some of the teens’ letters are shown on the Deti-404 page, with pictures of the authors with their faces obscured so that no one can recognise them.
When a teenager gets in touch, if necessary Klimova helps them speak to a sensitive psychologist. “I tell practically all of them that they are needed, unique and invaluable. I am not pretending. It is true,” she said.
Teenagers in smaller towns – where there are few, if any, openly out people and no gay scene – have it the hardest. “Our school is considered progressive, but it is quite normal for teachers to say that homosexuals will burn in hell,” wrote one 16-year-old from a small town “which isn’t even on the map”.
Svetlana was once having dinner and on one of “the damn channels of this no less damnable country there was a show about LGBT”. She remembers the scorn and contempt of her mother. “She calls homosexuals – and that means me too – mutants.” Her father said he was ready to go out with his gun and kill them, while her older sister said they should be treated in psychiatric hospitals. Svetlana has still not come out to her family.
Homosexuality was only legalised in Russia in 1993. Now the new law is in danger of breaking the morale of some of those who see only a future of concealment and unhappiness. “When they passed the law, all the teens I know were in despair. You know, in reality, the law is aimed at them,” said Klimova.
Vicious physical assaults have continued with depressing frequency. A man in Volgograd was murdered after revealing to friends that he was gay. A vigilante group lured young teens on social media by pretending to be older men looking for sex and then humiliated them on videos which they uploaded to the internet. “LGBT are called paedophiles, carriers of HIV/Aids, whatever you want, but not normal people. Of course people feel that and of course there are more hate crimes,” said Klimova.
She is certain that there will be no boycott of the Winter Olympics. But she does have one plea. “Sportsmen can go to the opening ceremony with a rainbow flag in support of Russian LGBT. It would be very valuable.”
Article by The Guardian
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President Putin’s crusade against the queer community in Russia took a new turn. Right-wing youth in the country have been advised by a top-ranking nationalist to create fake profiles on VK.com (a popular Russian social network) and lure in gay male teens for torture.
Spectrum Human Rights Alliance writes:
Infamous Russian ultranationalist and former skin head, Maxim Martsinkevich spearheaded a country wide campaign against LGBT teens using a popular social network VK.com to lure unsuspected victims through personal ads. Mr. Martsinkevich’s numerous and enthusiastic followers started two projects: "Occupy Pedophilyaj" and "Occupy Gerontilyaj". Allegedly they are trying to identify and report pedophiles using these "movements".
In reality, over 500 online groups have been created inside [the] VK.com social network in order to organize illegal militant groups in every Russian city. Oddly enough their idea of fighting paedophiles targets exclusively male teenagers who respond to the same-sex personal ads and show up for a date. Captured victims are bullied and often tortured while being recorded on video.
These self-proclaimed "crime fighters" perform their actions under the broad day light, often outside and clearly visible to general public that indifferently passes by or even commend them. Video recordings of bullying and tortures are freely distributed on the Internet in order to out LGBT teens to their respective schools, parents and friends. Many victims were driven to suicides, the rest are deeply traumatized. So far Russian police took no action against these "movements" even though Russian criminal code was clearly violated and despite numerous complaints from parents, victims and LGBT activists. Social network VK.com intermittently shuts down selected groups and profiles only to allow them to be re-open on the next day. Currently, the founder of VK.com, Pavel Durov, resides in the US and so far has not released any comments.
Towleroad has more photos & videos
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