Standort: / Meldung: "Gay in Russia "

Charles Maynes Moscow

Journalist in Moscow

14. 10. 2012 - 11:41

Gay in Russia

The LGBT crowd at Moscow's 7 Freedays club had gathered for a "Coming Out" event Thursday night when 20 masked men entered the room. Needless to say, they weren't regulars to the gay club.

"Who wants a fight?" they shouted as they stormed the room, kicking, punching, and shoving people at random. Three people were injured seriously, one woman with broken glass embedded in her eye.

Police arrived some half an hour later, by which time the attackers had long fled the scene. No arrests were made. Nor, says Russia's leading gay rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev, are they likely to be.

Commenting on his blog, Alexeyev noted this was the 7th such incident this year in which would doubtfully bring justice. "Unfortunately, these events will continue as long as the authorities lack the will to stop inflating homophobic hysteria in society," he wrote.

In the wake of Vladimir Putin's 3rd term as Russia's president, a conservative chill has settled over Russian society - enforced by the courts, the Kremlin, and the Orthodox Christian church. In this environment, gay Russians make an easy target.

Following the attack on 7 Freedays, Alexeyev notes that an Orthodox priest endorsed the act, only expressed regret his church vows prevented him from personally taking part in the melee.

The courts, in turn, have blocked efforts to defend gay rights. Homosexuality has been technically legal in Russia since 1993, but cities regularly ban gay parades. A Moscow court recently took the additional step of banning future gay pride events in the city for the next 100 years.

Of course, little happens in Russia without the tacit support or input from the Kremlin. And in descrimination against gays - as it did with the Pussy Riot case - Vladimir Putin thinks he has found a winning issue.

Lawmakers from Putin's ruling United Russia party have been quick to endorse anti-gay laws under the premise of saving Russia's youth from "propaganda of homosexuality and pedophilia". Several regions adopted the legislation last spring, including St. Petersburg - Russia's second city and Putin's hometown.

Under the law, fines ranging from $175 to as much as $17,000 can be levied against those publicly advocating for gay rights. But certain people, it seems, may have to pay more.

This week, conservative groups in St. Petersburg brought a lawsuit against Madonna Luise Veronica Cicionne - better known simply as Madonna - for violating the anti-gay law during her tour to the city this past summer.

With the lawsuit, her accusers complained of experiencing "pschycological stress and emotional shock" as a result of the singer's "open promotion of homosexuality".

In using the concert to speak out for equal rights for gays, Madonna, they said, "abused the feelings of believers". Even if that were true, the plaintiffs, this time, are seeking $10.5 million for "moral damages".

Proof that even Russia's holiest conservaties know we're living in a material world.