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Thu Aug 8, 2013, 03:42 AM

Facts and Myths of RTs Gay Rights in Russia: Facts and Myths

RT wrote this propaganda piece trying to minimize the whole gay rights issue in Russia and I decided to rebut it. Thought you all would like to read my rebutal and hopefully Google picks it up as the RT article is the third damn hit for "gay propaganda law Russia."

Is being gay a crime in Russia?

No. Homosexuality was decriminalized in 1993. In the Soviet Union, “male buggery” had been a punishable offense since 1934, with several hundred people charged with it every year. The maximum term was five years. It was also a convenient tool for smears and was tacked onto spying allegations during the NKVD purges under Joseph Stalin. Lesbianism has never been criminalized.

First they say no, it's not a crime at all, then they talk about the punishment under the Soviets. Then they say it was used as a smear. Not that the current law cannot be used that way, but that another more oppressive law was at some point in the past used as a smear. So they basically minimize the impacts of the law, while hiding under the realities of the previous law. It's a nice trick, a reasonable person might read it and say "Hmm, it's not a crime, and under the previous law people used it to smear others, so it's implied that the new law doesn't allow anyone to smear, still." Of course, that's absolutely not a given, and absolutely not factual because we already have documented incidents where people have been smeared by the law.

But why are homosexuals being punished?

A law was passed earlier this summer that levies a fine of up to 50,000 rubles (about $1,500 dollars) on any individuals, and up to 1 million rubles (about $30,000) on any organizations engaged in “propaganda of non-traditional relationships to minors”. Non-traditional sexual relationships were informally defined by the lawmakers as those that cannot lead to the production of offspring. What constitutes propaganda is also unclear.

At the time, the head of Russia’s Human Rights Council Mikhail Fedotov criticized the ill-defined and overly-broad terms in the law, and also said that it created a dangerous precedent by “treating people differently based on their personal characteristics, not any criminal behavior.”

Now this is where the whole thing already starts to fall apart. They separate out the fact that the actual bill actually says that foreigners may spend up to 15 days in jail, as well as deportation, which has already happened once. Tn that case the documentarians were still banned for three years from Russia and had to pay the fine.

Not only that, for individuals they outline the utter lowest penalty that exists. Individuals get the same penalties as officials if they use the internet or mass media to express pro-gay sentiments. This means a gay person walking down the street with their iPhone who is harassed by good law upholding citizens and has their phone taken away can easily be pinned as a homosexual propagandist and be fined 50-100k rubles. But don't worry, right, because the rules are unclear.

If it was a non-crime there would simply be no penalties whatsoever. They hide the utter severity of the new law under the phrase "what constitutes propaganda is also unclear." A reasonable person coming to the table with some bit of skepticism might say, "ahh, so it's just being overblown." Except that simply is not the case.

Of course, they throw in the whole, "but it's a broad definition" to appeal to left wing sentiments abroad, as if that helps the article one fucking bit.

Does the legislation affect foreigners and Russians differently?

Yes. As well as paying the stated fines, any foreigners are automatically deported after committing this offense and may be arrested, but not necessarily, for up to 15 days.

Except the fines on foreigners go up to that of 100k rubles if they use the internet to spread their evil gay propaganda message. Arrest itself is actually if they can't pay up, it's an either or. "Pay 4k or 5k or 100k rubles or go to jail for 15 days." They don't say this because they don't want to make mention of the internet anywhere in this article and how the use of the internet or social media (twitter, facebook, whatever) as a tool to "spread propaganda" is the key way that they're going to silence and destroy gay activism.

Has anyone been arrested as a result of this legislation?

Several Russian activists had been fined as a result of previous, regional incarnations of this legislation, and dozens have been detained since the federal law came into power, including during protests against the new legislation. In July, a Dutch documentary crew became the first foreigners to be charged with violating the new propaganda law, after Murmansk police found tapes of them asking teenagers about their attitudes to homosexuality. The charges were later dropped.

Wow, what a total fabrication at the end there. They talk about how the charges were dropped on the arrested foreigners. Except those foreigners were banned from Russia for 3 years and will be unable to complete their documentary as well as having to pay a 3k ruble fine (so the charges get "dropped" if you pay the fine).

Nevermind that RT doesn't mention a damn thing about how their hard earned documentary footage was confiscated and not returned to them (how much in actual monetary terms could that be?).

Will the new law be suspended for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics?

The Russian law against “gay propaganda” is not going to apply to the participants and guests of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, according to Igor Ananskikh, the head of the Russian Duma Committee on physical training, sports and youth. The International Olympic Committee said that it “received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games” in a statement made to several media outlets.

Meanwhile Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said: "No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable."

Now, anyone reading this with any bit of sense must know that this is an absolute contradiction and pure propaganda in its own right. Of course "it won't apply to the participants and guests" because they have been instructed by the IOC that they will ban anyone who violates the law.

It's a setup. You can be gay you just can't act gay, get it? No bans for gay people just people who "act gay" or "spread gay propaganda." Dumbasses. It's the DADT of the Olympics. Imagine the potential crackdown on the Olympic Village if openly gay individuals decided to waltz right out of there and go down to a pub or something while dressed in gay regalia and being affectionate to one another. It won't happen because the IOC is likely creating instructions to tell gay people not to demonstrate or express their "evil gayness." I expect we'll even hear more about the oppressive nature of the IOC as we move forward here. It's not going to end well I think because Western and European gays aren't going to sit down and shut up. Civil rights demonstrations at the Olympics are not unheard of and you will expect it in the future.

What about Gay Pride marches?

After several one-offs refusals to let them go ahead, and unsanctioned protest rallies, Moscow’s local parliament banned gay demonstrations for a 100 years in 2011, and again in 2012. They have been allowed to take place in St. Petersburg under the guise of human rights demonstrations. These have inevitably ended in bloodshed, as LGBT campaigners have been outnumbered by religious and radical right-wing counter-protesters, with police having to separate the groups. Whether Gay Pride marches should be held at all in such a febrile atmosphere has been a hotly-debated topic among Russia’s gay community.

Aww, the poor right wingers have been allowed to beat up on gays so we should basically not allow the gays their right to express themselves because it's just a hotly-debated topic and we should all be sensitive to the asshole right wingers who have ended these pro-freedom demonstrations in bloodshed. Rather than, you know, protect the rights of the gays to protest and to crack down on the very fucking right wingers that are causing the issues to begin with. No, instead, we'll pander to the fucking right wingers and ban gay demonstrations for 100 years! That's just how wonderful and kind we are.

Seriously, this is what they just said here. They try, feably, to cover up their utter and complete nonsense by saying "Whether Gay Pride marches should be held at all in such a ferbile atmosphere has been a hotly-debated topic among Russia's gay community." Hahaha! As if the gay community has questioned its own right to self-determination! What a fucking piece of shit thing to say! Looking at the pictures coming out of the crackdowns it's obvious who the real targets are, and it's not the right wingers.

A proper article will point out the failure of the police to protect gay rights marchers and the crackdown of police on gay rights marchers. But this is RT we're talking about here...

What are Russians’ attitudes towards homosexuality?

According to a May survey conducted by Levada Center, only 21 percent of Russians believe that homosexuality is a sexual orientation people are born with. Forty five percent believe that it is a result of “being subjected to perversion or loose personal morals”, with 20 more believing that it is both a result of circumstances and nature. More than half of Russians believe that homosexuality should be either punished by law (13 percent) or treated medically (38 percent). According to a survey conducted shortly after the gay propaganda law was passed by Levada, 76 percent of Russians support it.

But, see, it's all OK because the majority of Russians are against gays. (Read that other RT article and try to spot the propaganda there, it's really riddled with it.)

Except, the long term trend, as it is in every developing country on the planet, is that gay Russian sentiment is moving toward acceptance. It's the laws and the way Russian LGBT people are treated that is changing, not the sentiment of Russians as a whole. Only 12% supported gays in 1989. That grew to 29% by 1994. In fact, going further, it's clear that most Russians don't give a shit about homosexuality and that most of it is a propaganda tactic in and of itself, much like how abortion and welfare and reverse racism and such were used in the United States.

The real reason that this legislation is being written up now is that Putin's war on gays is instrumental toward his future survival. United Russia is a right wing group that is ardently nationalist and anti-gay. Left wing activists are sympathetic to gays so the 2012-2013 protesters would be composed of those who are for gay rights and against Putin and his right wing party. The other laws passed in the last few years indicate, indeed, that the anti-gay laws are simply the right wingers shoring up any sort of resistance from the left, as opposed to some kind of morality laws that the Russian people actually want.

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Facts and Myths of RTs Gay Rights in Russia: Facts and Myths (Original post)
joshcryer Aug 2013 OP
Behind the Aegis Aug 2013 #1
SunSeeker Aug 2013 #2
AverageJoe90 Aug 2013 #3
dickthegrouch Aug 2013 #4
dbackjon Aug 2013 #5
davidpdx Dec 2013 #6
joshcryer Dec 2013 #7
davidpdx Dec 2013 #8
joshcryer Dec 2013 #9
davidpdx Dec 2013 #10

Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 03:51 AM

1. Damn fine work!!!

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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 04:54 AM

2. George Takei is pushing a petition to the IOC to move the Sochi Olympics to Vancouver.

Sounds like a great idea to me...


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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 05:59 AM

3. Very good work, Josh. (No, really, I mean that!)


K & R, man.

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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 01:17 PM

4. Excellent rebuttal, Josh. Thank you

I am becoming more and more convinced that these ridiculous laws are all just an excuse for people to hide behind when they can't, or won't, come to terms with their own sexuality.

It is ridiculous to believe that homosexuality is a contagious attribute of character. If EVERYONE were taught the truth about the shifting and confusing nature of sexuality, I think there'd be a lot less angst and bigotry.

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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Thu Aug 8, 2013, 07:47 PM

5. Great work


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Response to joshcryer (Original post)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:29 PM

6. Thank you Josh for take the time to post all this

RT News is a propaganda rag of Russia and an arm of Putin's government. I can't for the life of me understand why people on DU support either RT or Putin.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:44 PM

7. Thanks for the kind kick.

The fucked up part about this is all the stuff I said about that article came true especially the Olympic rights suppression stuff.

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #7)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:47 PM

8. I forgot to rec

So I'll kick it again.

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Response to davidpdx (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:55 PM

9. They've convicted a third protester under this law already.

And to think some were pushing the narrative that it wasn't going to be actually enforced...

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Response to joshcryer (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 21, 2013, 11:57 PM

10. I think that is the guy Maddow was talking about

Which is why I came to search for posts on this.

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