News / Europe

Russia Prepares Law to Ban ‘Gay Propaganda’

Russia Prepares National Law to Ban 'Gay Propaganda'i
X
May 06, 2013 7:41 PM
Last month, France became the ninth country in Europe to legalize gay marriage. But in Russia, opposition and intolerance are the trend. James Brooke reports from Moscow.
Russia Prepares National Law to Ban 'Gay Propaganda'
James Brooke
When a gay group held a film festival in Moscow in April, there were the usual anti-gay protesters. But this time, there was an unexpected visitor: a policeman armed with a Kalashnikov, checking ID’s.
 
Later this month, Russia’s Duma is expected to give final approval to a vaguely worded bill that would ban "homosexual propaganda" accessible to minors. 
 
Despite protests, the bill won nearly unanimous approval in a preliminary vote last January.
 
Last month, France became the ninth country in Europe to legalize gay marriage. But in Russia, the trend is going in the opposition direction, away from tolerance.
 
Manny de Guerre, a long-term British resident of Russia, helped organize “Side by Side,” the gay film festival in Moscow.
 
“The impact of the law is that it creates fear in society,” said de Guerre who attended the festival with her partner. “It gives the green light to Orthodox activists, to nationalists, that it’s OK to beat up lesbian and gay people, that it’s OK to discriminate against them.”
 
Putin defiant
 
With Russia increasingly standing out in isolation to the liberal trends of Western Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin faced gay protesters when he visited Holland last month.
 
Back in Moscow, Putin was defiant when asked about European criticism.
 
"How can they demand that we introduce their standards?” he demanded in a nationally televised call in show. “Or maybe we should demand that they instill our standards in that country? Let's not demand anything from each other. Let's treat each other with respect."
 
Putin’s conservatism is backed by a nationwide Levada poll conducted in February. Two-thirds of respondents backed laws banning "gay propaganda."  And large majorities said that gay propaganda could mean banning books, films, protests and parades.
 
Vladimir Ryzhkov, an opposition politician, says Putin is in step with Russian public opinion.
 
“It’s not like everyone wants a gay parade and Putin is against it,” said Ryzhkov, co-founder of the liberal Republic Party of Russia.  “In this case, his point of view is exactly the same as 90 percent of the population.” 
 
'Family values'
 
At the offices of Young Guard, a Kremlin support group, Ekaterina Stenyakina, gives voice to mainstream Russians' distaste for homosexuality.
 
“We have traditional religions in which family values are among the most important of all,” said Stenyakina, a leader of the group. “That’s why our country, our state, is not ready for this kind of manifestation - gay parades on main squares.”
 
Oleg Grannikov, a Moscow gay activist, says that in this environment most Russian gays keep their personal lives in the shadows.
 
“In Moscow, of course, the situation is better than in the regions,” he said during a break at the film festival. “But still, while people may be open with their friends, very few are open with their parents or at their job.”
 
And Russia’s new legislation seems designed to keep Russian gays firmly in the closet for years to come.

You May Like

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Gay-marriage opponents are looking for ways to maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture, one writer says More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jim Brooke from: Moscow
May 08, 2013 7:23 AM
LGBT Film Festival Faces Prosecution under 'Foreign Agent' Law
15:09 08/05/2013

MOSCOW, May 8 (RIA Novosti) - St. Petersburg prosecutors have notified an international LGBT film festival, Side by Side, that they are violating Russia's law on “foreign agents,” the event’s organizers said on Wednesday.

Russia passed a law last November requiring all NGOs engaged in political activity, and receiving finance from abroad, to register as a "foreign agent." Critics say the term has overtones of spying and treason to many Russians, an allegation rejected by the law's author, United Russia lawmaker Alexander Sidyakin.

“On 6th May, 2013, the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival, received a ruling from the local prosecutor accusing the organization of violating Article 19.7 of the administrative code relating to the conduct of non-commercial organizations and their status as ‘foreign agents’,” reads an English-language statement posted on the festival’s website.

It says the Side by Side LGBT Film Festival offices were visited by inspectors from various Russian institutions, including the Ministry of Justice, tax service and police in recent weeks. The inspections were carried out as part of nationwide checks into various NGOs.

After the checks, the prosecutors decided that the organization had violated the law on two occasions: by publishing a brochure “The Worldwide LGBT Movement: Local Practices to Global Politics” and by taking part in a social awareness campaign against the recently adopted bill banning “gay propaganda” among minors.

Festival organizer Gulya Sultanova said the prosecutors’ notification was compiled with numerous irregularities.

“Clearly, the document was put together quickly and carelessly and there are glaring errors in regards to dates mentioned - this is a very important moment. They are focusing on content and citing activities that were made prior to 21 November, 2012 when the law concerning ‘foreign agents’ actually came into force,” the statement quotes the organizer as saying.

A magistrates’ court is to hear the case in late May.

by: Steven from: Leong
May 06, 2013 12:34 PM
I used to think that Russia was advanced in education, technology, and scientific study. How did they transform into a religious dictated nation.

So, who created Gays? GOD. What does this TRUTH do to those in Russia, who condemn, discriminate, and crucify their own Gay children? It's in God's hands - what one sows, so shall they reap.

The choice is out there. Many countries have established equality among Gay and straight citizens. They have then, moved on to find solutions to important issues, like poverty, jobless and homeless.

Russia is stuck in pride and fear, fighting their Gay offspring. I will pray for their enlightenment.
In Response

by: freddy from: charlotte
May 30, 2013 2:42 PM
Welp, if USA powers lowered the chlorine et al in the drinking water then reproduction would go up.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More