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How Homophobia Can Boost Your Career

Published: January 17, 2014 (Issue # 1793)


Popular actor and director Ivan Okhlobystin made headlines in December when he suggested that Russia should solve its "homosexual problem" by burning all gay people alive.

Notably, neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor the Kremlin condemned the statement. In addition, the Prosecutor General's Office showed no interest in charging him with extremism or inciting hatred toward people based on their membership in a social group crimes that it has vigorously prosecuted in cases not involving gays.

Okhlobystin, a former Russian Orthodox priest who briefly flirted with the idea of running against Vladimir Putin for president in 2011, has not retracted or apologized for his remarks.

But he seems to have softened his position somewhat over the New Year holidays. Instead of killing homosexuals, Okhlobystin now seems content with just imprisoning them. Last week, he wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, asking him to return a Soviet-era anti-sodomy law that would carry a maximum five-year sentence for all homosexuals.

In his open letter to Putin, Okhlobystin wrote that the gay propaganda law that Putin signed in June does not go far enough to battle "gay fascism." He has defined this fascism as a powerful and well-financed Western propaganda campaign that attempts to legitimize homosexuality and corrupt Russia's traditional foundations.

For added emphasis, Okhlobystin wrote that since the homosexual lifestyle is offensive to Orthodox believers, gays violate another law that Putin signed in July "offending the religious feelings of others," which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence.

If that weren't enough to convince Putin to imprison all homosexuals, Okhlobystin wrote, "Since sodomites can't have their own children [they] will be forced to increase their ranks by seducing and depraving straight kids."

In response, pro-Kremlin analyst Sergei Markov wrote in a blog last week that it is not homosexuals' fault but their great misfortune that they are attracted to the same sex. Russians should show mercy toward them and try "to cure them of their disease, not send them to prison."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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