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Pussy Riot Members May Run for Seats in Moscow City Parliament

P_riot

Two members of the Russian punk band Pussy Riot, who were jailed for nearly two years for staging a protest in a Russian church, may run for seats in the Moscow assembly, the AP reports:

Nadia Tolokonnikov, appearing alongside fellow band member Maria Alekhina at an event on the sidelines of the Berlin film festival Monday, said the move into politics "is worth a try." The election will most likely be held in September, although no exact date has been set.

Make sure not to miss their recent appearance on Colbert.


10 LGBT Activists Arrested in Sochi Protest in Moscow's Red Square: WATCH

Arrest

Earlier today we reported on the arrest of four LGBT activists protesting Sochi in St. Petersburg. Among them was Anastasia Smirnova, coordingator of a coalition of six Russian LGBT advocacy organizations.

Now, Russian media reports that 10 more LGBT activists have been arrested in Moscow: Elena Kostyuchenko, Anna Annenkov, Lynn Reid, Knicks Nemeni, Olga Mazurova, Gleb Warrior, Tarja Polyakova, Daria Starshinina and two Swedish nationals.

Watch video of the arrests, AFTER THE JUMP...

At least 23 people have been detained in Moscow, according to reports.

Continue reading "10 LGBT Activists Arrested in Sochi Protest in Moscow's Red Square: WATCH" »


Manager of Gay Moscow Nightclub Targeted in Attacks to Seek Asylum in U.S.

Arkady Gyngazov, the former manager of Central Station, a gay nightclub in Moscow which in recent months has been targeted with bullets, poison gas, and vandalism, flew to the U.S. in mid-December and plans to seek asylum, the Washington Blade's Michael Lavers reports:

GyngazovHe told the Blade he has obtained a pro bono lawyer through Immigration Equality and the D.C. Center who agreed to take his case. Gyngazov has also worked with Larry Poltavtsev of Spectrum Human Rights, an organization that monitors the Kremlin’s LGBT rights record, since he arrived in the nation’s capital.

Gyngazov said he will formally seek asylum once his visa expires in June.

“I’m not going to go back to Russia because I feel my safety, even my life, is threatened,” he said.

In December, the club's roof was dismantled by over 100 people and the club robbed. This comes after a poison gas attack in late November and a shooting in mid-November in which thugs with handguns fired on the club.

Gyngazov says it has become too much to bear:

Gyngazov told the Blade during an interview from Moscow after the Nov. 16 incident the owners of the building placed a large neon sign above the club’s entrance the month before that reads “gay club here.” It also contains an arrow that points toward the door.

“I’m afraid because I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, what will happen to me,” he said on Thursday. “I’m not going to hide all my life.”


Attacks On Russia's Largest Gay Club Continue, Roof Completely Destroyed

Central Station Roof

Central Station, Moscow's largest gay club, has suffered the brunt of attack after attack recently, including a shooting and even a poison gas attack. The latest attack occurred last Saturday when over 100 people utterly dismantled the roof of the club, stealing and disabling some of the club's utility equipment in the process. Club owner Andrei Lishchinsky wrote a letter to President Putin asking for protection and arguing that the attacks on the club have been provoked by anti-gay animosity.

It is unlikely that Lishchinsky will receive any response as the government has collectively turned a deaf ear to the plights of gays in the country. The police even refuse to open a criminal investigation, and the over 30 complaints that have been filed with them have been ignored. It should be noted that the police were quick to follow through on a drug bust on the club that produced exactly zero evidence of drug trafficking or consumption.

It is suspected that the source of the conflict is between the club owners and the building owners, who are believed to be putting pressure on the club to get it to shut down.

LGBT activist Nikolai Alexeyev chimed in and gave further credence to the theory that he is really just the Kremlin's "pocket gay" by claiming that the attack was purely an economic issue, saying:

The building got a new owner recently who tried to break the lease contract with the owners of Central Station, but failed to do so even through a court, which is why the owner started to take measures that would not allow the club to function properly.

The Moscow Times made repeated calls to Central Station on Sunday that went unanswered.


Elton John Blasts Russian Government During Moscow Concert

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Despite his earlier claim that he would not speak out against the Russian government during a concert in Moscow, Elton John did just that. During last night's show, John not only condemned the country's homophobic laws but also explained why he chose to perform in the country. He also took a moment to dedicate the concert to a young victim of anti-gay hate.

John posted a transcript of his statement on his Facebook account. It reads in part:

"...I am deeply saddened and shocked over the current legislation that is now in place against the LGBT community here in Russia. In my opinion, it is inhumane and it is isolating. People have demanded that because of this legislation, I must not come here to Russia. But many, many more people asked me to come and I listened to them. I love coming here. I want to show them and the world that I care and that I don’t believe in isolating people....The spirit we share tonight is what builds a future of equality, love and compassion for my children and for your children. Please don’t leave it behind when you leave tonight. Each and every one of you please, keep this spirit in your life and in your heart. I wish you love and peace and health and happiness. And this show is dedicated to the memory of Vladislav Tornovoi."

Earlier this year, 23-year-old Tornovoi was brutally raped and murdered in southern Russia by two friends after they learned he was gay.

Watch video of John speak from the stage of Moscow's Crocus City Hall, AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Elton John Blasts Russian Government During Moscow Concert" »


Two Gunmen Open Fire on Gay Club in Moscow

Central Station

On November 16 at approximately 5am, the Moscow gay club Central Station suffered a violent attack when two thugs opened fire. The two currently-unknown attackers first began harassing patrons standing in line for the club, and then tried to gain entry. When the security guards denied them entrance, the thugs pulled out handguns and began firing on the building and crowd. Fortunately no one was injured, though the front door was damaged by two bullets.

Club administrators believe that the only purpose that the assailants had in mind was to gain entry to the club and begin shooting patrons. Though the assailants fled, they were caught on surveillance video which the club management hopes will lead to arrests. In the meantime, they have asked for additional police protection as the club has come under attacks recently.


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