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Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak Wants Federal Ban on Gay Protests, Marches, Propaganda

This is bad. The anti-gay bill which has already passed one reading in St. Petersburg and is being considered in Moscow, that would ban any gay rights protests or marches that would possibly be seen by children, and in its language compares homosexuality to pedophilia, is now being pushed at a federal level by Russia's Deputy Prime Minister, AFP reports:

KozakSpeaking in Saint Petersburg, where city lawmakers have backed the bill in its first reading, Kozak said he supported the bid to introduce fines for "disgusting activity," the Interfax news agency reported.

The bill proposed by United Russia would introduce fines of up to 50,000 rubles ($1,625) for "public acts aimed at promoting homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexuality and transgender identity to minors."

The deputy prime minister, a close ally of premier Vladimir Putin, spoke alongside the regional governor, Georgy Poltavchenko, who said the bill would "benefit public morality," Interfax reported.

Kozak went even further, suggesting the bill should be considered for inclusion in national legislation.

I wrote about the bill more at length HERE and yesterday posted an ad created by Side by Side, a group working against the ban in Russia. There is also an international online petition to express disgust at the bill.

The U.S. State Department earlier this week infuriated Russia by speaking out against the bill:

"Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights," the State Department said, repeating a declaration by top US diplomat Hillary Clinton. "We have called on Russian officials to safeguard these freedoms, and to foster an environment which promotes respect for the rights of all citizens."

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Comments

  1. This I could have predicted. I have said it before...don't try to tell insular societies what to do if you are an outsider. You will only get the opposite reaction of what you intended.

    Russian pride dictates that if the US chastises them they will go the opposite direction. Do not think they will react to the same pressures our officials will, and don't think that boycotting visiting the country will work either. They don't really want tourists.

    Boycott oil and opiates if you want to do damage...or better yet, appeal to the US to open the asylum quota for Russians and allow more immigration from the LGBT population in Russia.

    Posted by: Rin | Dec 2, 2011 8:56:46 AM


  2. Give me a break. Russian "str8"porn is the gayest porn around. It ALWAYS lingers on the backside of the guy. The biggest homophobes ate always the gayest ones around.

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 2, 2011 9:27:49 AM


  3. A few hours ago Kozak's press secretary said that Kozak's words about "disgusting activity" referred to pedophilia, not to homosexuality. This is why the law is so vile - it conflates them.

    Posted by: Eugene | Dec 2, 2011 9:45:50 AM


  4. This law is basically the Russian Section 28 and it didn't stop gay activists. It might take decades, but the freedom of russian gays and lesbians will happen.
    I don't understand how a country, who is so endrenched in literary culture and ballet, can be as homophobic as it is? One of their biggest icons, Tchaikovsky, was gay.

    Posted by: Sarina | Dec 2, 2011 10:05:15 AM


  5. @Sarina

    Christianity.

    Posted by: Eugene | Dec 2, 2011 10:19:43 AM


  6. Christianity's influence is quite low beyond things like holidays.

    I think you are right that US criticism is just a dare to do the opposite. US was quite influential in Russia during the 90s - particularly in economic affairs - and it was quite horrifying the way it turned out. So they are never going to trust Americans again.

    Posted by: rated m | Dec 2, 2011 10:33:23 AM


  7. Oh, and this law is NOT "the Russian Section 28". It isn't limited to schools and/or government officials. Any "public" pro-gay event may be against the law. So it's a big deal.

    Posted by: Eugene | Dec 2, 2011 10:33:36 AM


  8. It's more than just religion, but Orthodox Christianity is most certainly one of the main reasons why this country is so homophobic. What we're actually seeing are these ultra anti-gay countries like Russia, like those in Africa, like Jamaica, are growing more and more hostile towards gay people and what they see as "Western world values" and "moral relativism", especially now as countries like the UK and US are actually giving a care, this is their way of sticking it to everyone.

    It's very sad. We in America and more fortunate countries need to show our support to the gay communities in these countries where their basic humanity is at risk.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 2, 2011 10:39:02 AM


  9. @Rated M

    You're wrong about Christianity. Its effects last for centuries, and Russia is going through religious resurgence. In fact, the speaker of St. Petersburg's parliament explicitly attributed his stance on this legislation to Christianity.

    Posted by: Eugene | Dec 2, 2011 10:40:33 AM


  10. @Francis,

    During the Soviet Years homosexuality could put you in a re-education camp for 5 years or more, as could religious worship. Christianity in Russia is about as serious and relevant as it is in New England of the US. It is a holiday culture. You have only to watch television there for 24 hours to see that.

    Having lived in Russia I can tell you that by and large 90% of the population pretty much could care less about religious mores of any kind.

    People deny the role of "culture" as though it is somehow not pertinent. Russian culture is very "macho" and they perceive homosexuality as being "receptive", ergo "bad".

    There is almost a prison attitude about gay sex there. If you pitch you're somehow NOT gay. My pal Rick would love it there because all of the closeted macho gays can get away with being "straight"...of course he'd have to doink the occasional female...

    Posted by: Rin | Dec 2, 2011 10:51:18 AM


  11. @Eugene

    have you lived in Russia in recent years? Religious resurgence? Maybe people are going to churches because they are no longer falling down around their ears, but the culture could almost be considered pornographic!

    You can't watch television without having fake breasts shoved in your face. The oligarchs are back, and its not pretty.

    Sure, maybe he SAYS he's religious, but its just an excuse. People there worship money...just like everywhere else. At the risk of sounding ungrateful to all of the Russians who pay for my current livelihood...they aren't exactly living the life of saints.

    Posted by: Rin | Dec 2, 2011 10:55:17 AM


  12. Thanks for the information Rin, and I'm not surprised, I knew that Russia isn't as backwards-religion poisoned as other countries. You're right that this is a cultural issue, pure and simple. That prison mentality towards homosexuality is extremely common worldwide, including other gays thinking this way. It's sad, but shows how much of an issue misogyny and gender stereotyping still is.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 2, 2011 11:03:53 AM


  13. Orthodox Christianity does not have the pulpit to use to organize politically. This is why so many Christian churches in the US have fixated so much on homosexuality.

    On the other hand, Imams do have this power and in the Islamic world they are in a race to prove their piety. Gays in Muslim countries have it much much worse than in Russia (which is still a lot better than Africa), though I don't know why you do not mention them. A kid was raped a few years ago in Dubai and HE was the one put on trial. Then when the Islamists came out in Iraq they started hunting gays and torturing them.

    Posted by: rated m | Dec 2, 2011 11:13:49 AM


  14. BAH! The tighter the noose, the more violent the struggle.

    What appalls me is our own government's holier than thou response; "Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights," the State Department said. They are? Prove it?

    It's taken how long to repeal "DADT"? Has our government stepped in an allowed gay couples to file as "married" for IRS purposes? or told states they MUST recognize the gay marriages of the few states and countries that allow it? Has our government stepped in to protect the state AND federal constitutions from being abused and twisted to NOT protect the rights of LGBT persons .. even though these are human rights?

    No. So how dare our government make such self-righteous remarks to another country when they don't even back it up themselves.

    Sad, sad, two-faced government we have.

    Posted by: Aaron | Dec 2, 2011 11:30:24 AM


  15. @Rin

    I'm a Russian. And you may be right that 90% of the population are only superficially religious. But that's enough for many of them to condemn gays. Being religious has never been about "living the life of saints". Even worse, it gives the 10% all the support they need. That's why the religious resurgence is real, and the religious version of "family values" has been very popular among politicians. For example, there was a successful push for Christianity lessons in state schools. And your point about "culture" makes sense - but religion affects culture, and Russia has been a Christian country for centuries. Homosexuality had been a crime for centuries. It necessarily affects "culture" - even though the connection to Christianity isn't necessarily obvious.

    Posted by: Eugene | Dec 2, 2011 11:44:49 AM


  16. I'm not sure what's worse -- Russia's 16th century regressive fascism, or the land of DOMA lecturing other countries on how "gay rights are human rights."

    Posted by: Yeesh | Dec 2, 2011 11:52:06 AM


  17. And this news is why most successful Russians (or Russians who want to be successful) get out of Russia as fast as they can. The country is in demographic collapse and suffering from an epic brain drain, with most scientists, creative people, musicians, artists, businesspeople and others scrambling for the exits.

    Imagine an entire country with the educational and economic sophistication of Alabama, with nukes, and that's Russia.

    Posted by: Yeesh Part Two | Dec 2, 2011 11:53:50 AM


  18. Russia isn't experiencing a widespread religious resurgence among its people, but the govt and Orthodox Christianity are reuniting and reinforcing each other in a way that has been repeated throughout Russian history, and it doesn't end well, at least not for us.

    Posted by: BobN | Dec 2, 2011 12:29:52 PM


  19. Hopefully the UK and some EU countries will jump on board and impose sanctions if the law passes.

    Posted by: Sam | Dec 2, 2011 1:03:04 PM


  20. The problem has less to do with Christianity than with a total ignorance and lack of education about sexuality. THAT is the Soviet legacy. Russia was quite progressive in 1905, and Nabokov's father even introduced a law to decriminalize homosexuality WELL before that happened in the West.

    But Russians, including Russian psychologists, alas, still believe that homosexuality is something that anyone can just fall into because it's "fashionable" or because they're "seduced" or "converted."

    Plus it's associated with the West, so if you want to be a good patriot...

    @Eugene: The first laws against homosexuality were introduced by Peter, and even into the 19th Century, Russian society was much more lax about it than W. Europe. Only rarely was anyone arrested for being gay -- until 1934.

    @RIN: you're right about the prison connection. Don't forget that until recently Russia (rather the USSR) had the largest prison population in the world. And contact with homosexuality in that context also didn't do civilian gays any good -- it may explain the intelligentsia's failure to embrace gay rights as civil rights, since those who were imprisoned as dissidents associate it with the criminal element and prison domination. The influence of prison culture on Russian culture is huge (language, slang, sex).

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 2, 2011 5:58:17 PM


  21. The problem has less to do with Christianity than with a total ignorance and lack of education about sexuality. THAT is the Soviet legacy. Russia was quite progressive in 1905, and Nabokov's father even introduced a law to decriminalize homosexuality WELL before that happened in the West.

    But Russians, including Russian psychologists, alas, still believe that homosexuality is something that anyone can just fall into because it's "fashionable" or because they're "seduced" or "converted."

    Plus it's associated with the West, so if you want to be a good patriot...

    @Eugene: The first laws against homosexuality were introduced by Peter, and even into the 19th Century, Russian society was much more lax about it than W. Europe. Only rarely was anyone arrested for being gay -- until 1934.

    @RIN: you're right about the prison connection. Don't forget that until recently Russia (rather the USSR) had the largest prison population in the world. And contact with homosexuality in that context also didn't do civilian gays any good -- it may explain the intelligentsia's failure to embrace gay rights as civil rights, since those who were imprisoned as dissidents associate it with the criminal element and prison domination. The influence of prison culture on Russian culture is huge (language, slang, sex).

    Posted by: KevinVT | Dec 2, 2011 5:58:17 PM


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