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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

Saturday, Sept. 20


Starting on Sept. 18 and ending tomorrow is the Extreme Fantasy Wakeboarding Festival in Sunpark by Sredny Suzdalskoye lake in the Ozerki region of the city.


Those after something more laid back can instead head to Jazz and Wine night at TerraVino with legendary jazz guitarist Ildar Kazahanov. 12/14 Admiralteyskaya Emb.



Sunday, Sept. 21


Learn more about African culture and get some exercise during todays Djembe and Vuvuzela, a bike ride starting in Palace Square that includes several stops where riders can listen to the music of Africa or watch short films about the continent. The riders plan to set off at 4 p.m. and all you need to join is a set of wheels.



Monday, Sept. 22


Do you love puppetry? If so, then be sure to go to BTK-Fest, a five-day festival that starts on Sept. 19 celebrating the art. Contemporaries from France, Belgium, the U.K. and other countries will join Russian artists to put on theatrical performances involving a variety of themes, materials and eras. Workshops and meetings are also scheduled for a chance to discuss the artistic medium in further depth.



Tuesday, Sept. 23


Marina Suhih, Director of the External Communications Department at Rostelecom North-West, and Yana Donskaya, HR Director for Northern Capital Gateway are just some of the confirmed participants of todays round table discussion on Interaction with Trade Unions being hosted by SPIBA. Confirm your attendance with SPIBA by Sept. 22.


Kino Expo 2014, an international film industry convention, will be at LenExpo from today until Sept. 26. The third largest exhibition of film equipment in the world, the expo focuses on not only Russia but former Soviet republics as well.



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