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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, Aug. 20


AmCham gets back to business after a summer hiatus with todays EHS Committee Working Group Meeting. Check their website for more details.



Thursday, Aug. 21


Time is running out to see the fantastic creations on display at the 2014 Sand Castle Festival on the beach at the Peter and Paul Fortress. Adhering to the theme of Treasure Island, visitors can wander amongst larger-than-life interpretations of pirate life or attend one of the workshops held to educate a future generation of sand artists. The castles will remain on the beach until Aug. 31.



Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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