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

    US Watching as North Korea Holds Biggest Political Meeting in 36 Years

    Workers' Party Congress set for Friday; Washington anticipating possibility of another missile launch or nuclear test as top officials gather

    Video Pop Icon Prince Quietly Helped Afghan Orphans for Years

    He sent thousands of dollars to help an aid group rebuild a training center for orphan boy and girl scouts in Kabul, but kept his involvement secret

    Britain’s Muslims See London Mayor Race as Victory

    Mere running of 45-year-old former government minister and son of Pakistani immigrants Sadiq Khan seen by many as turning point

    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.
    Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labori
    X
    May 05, 2016 6:44 PM
    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Donations Rescue Afghan Parents, Children From Forced Labor

    A Facebook campaign organized by a VOA radio host raised 150,000 Afghan rupees to rescue a family from forced labor at a brick kiln in Nangarhar province – the result of the father’s unpaid debt. Video by a VOA reporter in Jalalabad went viral this week and triggered the Facebook campaign.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Troops Recount Firefight Which Killed US Navy SEAL

    A U.S. Navy SEAL killed Tuesday, when Islamic State fighters punched through Kurdish lines in northern Iraq, was part of a quick reaction force sent to extract other U.S. troops trapped by the surprise offensive. VOA's Kawa Omar spoke with Kurdish troops in the town of Telskuf -- the scene of what U.S. officials called a "dynamic firefight."
    Video

    Video British Lawmakers Warn EU Exit Talks Could Last A Decade

    Leaving the European Union would mean difficult negotiations that could take years to complete, according to a bipartisan group of British lawmakers. While the group did not recommend a vote either way, the lawmakers noted trade deals between the EU and non-EU states take between four and nine years on average. Henry Ridgwell reports on the mounting debate over whether Britain should stay or exit the EU as the June vote approaches.
    Video

    Video NASA Astronauts Train for Commercial Space Flights

    Since the last Shuttle flight in 2011, the United States has been relying on Russian rockets to launch fresh crews to the International Space Station. But that may change in the next few years. NASA and several private space companies are developing advanced capsules capable of taking humans into low orbit and beyond. As VOA's George Putic reports, astronauts are already training for commercial spacecraft in flight simulators.
    Video

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    The White House is expressing concern about rising political chaos in Iraq and the impact it could have on the fight against the Islamic State. The U.S. says Iraq needs a stable, central government to help push back the group. But some say Baghdad may not have a unified government any time soon. VOA's White House correspondent Mary Alice Salinas reports.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora