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Russian Government Spied on Meeting of LGBT Activists, Aired Audio on TV

The Russian government bugged a strategy meeting of LGBT activists last month and are using the audio to influence perceptions about gays ahead of the Sochi Games, Buzzfeed reports:

OsfThis surveillance was revealed on November 12, when a state television channel broadcast audio from the meeting as part of a program presented as an exposé of the “threat to Russia” posed by the “homosexualists who attempt to infiltrate our country.”

The inclusion of a few minutes of this audio sent a chill through human rights activists in Russia and abroad...

...By highlighting Western human rights groups’ interest in Russia, the program also appeared to be laying the groundwork for potentially accusing LGBT rights activists of being “foreign agents,” which could be grounds for huge fines if activists are found to be taking money from foreign sources without reporting it to the authorities. The “foreign agent” law, passed last year, has been widely criticized for stifling Russia’s already embattled civil society.

According to participants of the meeting, which was convened by the Open Society Foundation (a group founded by George Soros) and included members of international LGBT human rights groups and smaller Russian activist groups, the meeting was intended to strategize on how to assist the Russian groups against increased oppression ahead of the Sochi games.

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  1. If everything is being conducted to supposedly protect "the children" of Russia, why would an organizations private meeting threaten them?

    How would the Russian government exposing "the children" to what was said privately in the meeting not be propaganda itself.

    Posted by: Hey Darlin' | Nov 14, 2013 10:44:56 AM


  2. Snowden sure picked a great place to land.

    Posted by: PeteP | Nov 14, 2013 10:54:11 AM


  3. Of course they're getting money from abroad, because they can't get any from within Russia. How else would they operate?

    I'm about 2/3 of the way through the horrendous show that this was part of. Basically it has "experts" testifying that gay activists have seized western governments "by the throat" and forced them to do their will. Next up: Ukraine, and then Russia.

    They have substantial coverage from some French homophobes, according to whom France is still in shock after the marriage vote, because the vast majority of French citizens were against it. They're expecting the words "mother" and "father" to be forbidden soon, and even for children probably "boy" and "girl" will be forbidden. French people actually said this.

    One of the panelists is the American editor of Moscow Times who said that Russia is still primitive (on this front), which resulted in exclamations of horror from the Russian audience and the host of the show.

    Basically it's all part of an anti-Russian plot to destabilize the country. It's not really about gays. It's just about anti-Russian propaganda.

    Posted by: KevinVT | Nov 14, 2013 11:03:22 AM


  4. seriously, and no one in the group thought to sweep the room for bugs? its the cold war again folks, and those are the rules they are playing by. hopelessly naive.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Nov 14, 2013 11:13:39 AM


  5. I can't wait until China decides to invade Russia.

    Russia is a dying country whose population if collapsing due to mass emigration and epidemic levels of alcoholism.

    Russia has a future. And that future is Chinese.

    Posted by: MaryM | Nov 14, 2013 11:20:34 AM


  6. @ "I can't wait until China decides to invade Russia."

    MaryM, Mother of God, has spoken again. Let us know when the Four Horsemen are on their way, OK?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 14, 2013 11:31:22 AM


  7. MaryM

    since the 19th century China hasn't shown an expansionist tendency

    things could change but centuries of not being expansionist is the trend

    Posted by: Moz's | Nov 14, 2013 11:48:47 AM


  8. But OF COURSE we should attend the Sochi Olympics. Our mere presence there will surely put a halt to all this anti-gay hatred. After all, the athletes have worked hard to compete and the continued murder and slaughter of gay people should not sit on their conscience one bit. That gold medal is well worth!

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Nov 14, 2013 12:09:40 PM


  9. MOZ:
    This is not correct to say China didn't have expansionist tendency. It was supposed to originate from a small area around the Yellow river. It gradually expanded over many centuries. During the last dynasty, Tibet was incorporated into the Empire. Territory claim is a complex issue depending on which particular period of history you use to justify your claim.

    Posted by: simon | Nov 14, 2013 12:41:22 PM


  10. Moz:
    I missed your part about "since 19th century". But they "took back" Tibet after 1949. It is arguable whether this is expansion or just "retrieval".

    Posted by: simon | Nov 14, 2013 12:43:49 PM


  11. Welcome to Nazi Russia.

    Posted by: Sean | Nov 14, 2013 12:52:05 PM


  12. Wow. Does anyone have any idea how long it will likely be before Russians start rounding up gays for labor camps and extermination?
    Also, if/when this happens, and it certainly seems to be going in that direction, will the world care?
    I mean, the world hated Nazis but not over their persecution of gays. If Russians only have gays on the to-kill list, will any country care to intervene? Or are gays in other countires supposed to just watch the horror and wait for the spread to come to us?

    Posted by: BuffetOfDiversity | Nov 14, 2013 2:59:13 PM


  13. Russia should take the paper its Foreign Agents ban is printed on and shove it up Brian Brown's poop chute.

    Posted by: FFS | Nov 14, 2013 9:01:08 PM


  14. @bandanajack: how many gay activists are familiar enough with the technology used to bug the place to even know what to look for?

    BTW, it was at a Holiday Inn. If the company cooperated with the bugging, could Holiday Inn be sued? The hotel was in Russia but the Holiday Inn is not a Russian company.

    Posted by: Bill | Nov 15, 2013 2:57:59 AM


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