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The Witch-Hunt Against Gays Has Begun

Published: February 6, 2013 (Issue # 1745)




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OnJan. 25, theState Duma passed inthe first reading abill prohibiting display ofhomosexual propaganda among minors. Thebill stipulates that anindividual found guilty ofviolating thelaw be fined up to5,000 rubles ($167) andthat alegal entity face afine ofup to500,000 ($16,667) rubles. During thevote, gay rights activists protested outside theDuma. Orthodox Christian supporters ofthe law appeared, attacked thegay activists andthrew snowballs, dirt andpaint bombs atthem all under theeyes ofthe police officers standing nearby. Andwhen thepolice finally took action, theattackers went free. Instead, 20 gay protesters were arrested.

Forthe bill tobecome law, it must go through two more readings inthe Duma. It was sent back formore work so that themeaning ofthe vague phrase homosexual propaganda could be clarified. So while all theimplications ofthe law are still unclear, two things are certain even now.

First, thebill is unconstitutional. Mikhail Fedotov, head ofthe Council ofHuman Rights, said inan interview with Interfax, If we say that propaganda ofheterosexuality is allowed, then we immediately contradict theconstitutional guarantee ofequality among citizens, since therights ofa person belonging toa sexual minority are impinged upon incontrast with therights ofa person belonging tothe sexuality majority.

Second, regardless ofhow homosexual propaganda is ultimately defined inthe bill, thelegislation, if passed, will be applied much more broadly andaffect more than homosexuals. Ananalogous law onthe books inSt. Petersburg makes it amisdemeanor topropagandize sodomy, lesbianism, bisexuality andtransgenderism tominors.

As aresult, St. Petersburg is renowned as theEuropean capital ofhomophobia, where measures are periodically taken totake rock musicians tocourt Madonna, Lady Gaga andRammstein or toblock MTV. TheDumas Committee onFamily, Women andChildren goes even further inits recommendations anddemands aban even onperformances involving homosexuals inplaces accessible tochildren. This would produce ablacklist ofgay actors andmusicians who would be banned fromtelevision screens before 11 p.m. Who knows how far these state homophobes may go? Perhaps as far as banning Oscar Wildes fairy tales andthe music ofPyotr Tchaikovsky.

It is certain that thelegislation will spark anationwide witch-hunt against public figures, journalists, teachers andothers. Ilya Kolmanovsky was almost fired froma lycee where he teaches biology after school administrators received anumber ofletters, ostensibly fromparents ofhis students, accusing him ofhomosexuality. Kolmanovsky had toprove that he isnt gay andthat he is married with two daughters. He insisted that he was thesubject ofa smear campaign simply because he defended gay rights.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 1


The St. Petersburg International Innovation Forum 2014 kicks off today at Lenexpo, where it will be presenting the latest and greatest ideas until Oct. 3. Focusing on economic development and the decisions and measures necessary to encourage development in Russias most important industries, the event is a possibility to discuss the innovations currently available in a variety of fields.


Representatives of the Russian and international media industries arrive in St. Petersburg for the first ever International Media Forum being hosted by the city until Oct. 10. With a variety of events on tap, including workshops, lectures and film screenings, the event plans to reemphasize the citys reputation as the countrys culture capital and as an emerging market and location for the visual arts.



Thursday, Oct. 2


The celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of Mikhail Lermontov continues with todays free exhibition in the citys Lermontov Library at 19 Liteiny Prospekt. Titled Under the Rustling Wings, the temporary exhibition will feature the costumes and scenery used in the 1917 production of Lermontovs play The Masquerade, which he wrote in 1835 when he was only 21 years old.



Friday, Oct. 3


Learn more about how to manage and evaluate employee performance during SPIBAs Human Resources Committee meeting this morning on Employee Assessment: Global and Local Trends. Starting at 9:30 a.m., the discussion will touch on such topics as the partnership between HR and business, reliable assessment strategies and more, with Tatiana Andrianova, the head of the SHL Russia and CIS branch in St. Petersburg, as the featured guest. Confirm your participation by Oct. 2 by emailing office@spiba.ru or calling 325 9091.


AmChams Procurement Committee Meeting is at 9 a.m. this morning in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center on Ulitsa Yakubovicha.



Saturday, Oct. 4


Wine and cheese lovers will get their chance to revel during Scandinavia Country Club and Spas Wine Market Weekend. Going on today and tomorrow, wining diners can listen to live music, take part in culinary classes and, of course, sample a variety of fine wines from around the world. The cost of admission is 400 rubles ($10.30) for adults and 200 rubles ($5.15) for children.



Sunday, Oct. 5


Look for the latest fall fashions at the Autumn Market today in Freedom Anticafe at 7 Kazanskaya Ulitsa. The minimarket plans to offer clothes more flattering than the puffy jackets that are a staple of the citys cold-weather fashion, while offering the same amount of protection from the biting winds blowing off of the Baltic.



Monday, Oct. 6


SKA St. Petersburg, the citys KHL affiliate, welcomes Slovakian club HC Slovan in a match-up tonight at the Ice Palace near the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. and tickets can be purchased on the clubs website or in person at either the arenas box office or the clubs merchandise store on Nevsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, Oct. 7


Learn more about Russias energy industry at the St. Petersburg Energy Forum that begins today and runs through Oct. 10. Attracting industry experts and political and business representatives, the forum plans to welcome more than 350 plus companies and their representatives to discuss the future of Russias largest economic sector.



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