News / Europe

Russia Prepares Law to Ban ‘Gay Propaganda’

Russia Prepares National Law to Ban 'Gay Propaganda'i
X
May 06, 2013
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'

TEXT SIZE - +
— 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.

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Photogallery Pope's Easter Prayer: Peace in Ukraine, Syria

Pontiff also calls for end to terrorist acts in Nigeria, violence in Iraq, and success in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians More

Abdullah Holds Lead in Afghan Presidential Election

Country's Election Commission says that with half of the ballots counted, former FM remains in the lead with 44 percent of the vote More

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites 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.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid