The Winter Olympics kick off at the end of the week in Sochi,
and it’s still not entirely clear how Russian authorities are going
to respond to any objections to the country’s increasingly vicious
targeting of its non-heterosexual citizenry.
Human Rights Watch has released a “worst of” video highlighting
some of the anti-gay violence happening in Russia. Watch below:
Left out of the New York Times
report is that one of the main alleged perpetrators of ant-gay
violence, Maksim “Machete” Martsinkevich, has been
charged with “extremism” for his videos, fled to Cuba, and was
extradited back to Moscow to face a trial. So apparently there’s
some sort of a limit to the amount of thuggery the state will turn
its back on, though it’s not quite clear what the lines are (going
Actually, nothing about Russia’s anti-gay anti-“propaganda” law
is particularly clear. ESPN points to the confusion about how the
law might affect foreign visitors to the
Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the chairman of the European
(including Russia) Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, has studied the situation and told ESPN.com,
“The Russians have said they will not use these laws to crack down
during the Olympics, but I would not counsel my gay and lesbian
friends to go to the Olympics. We don’t know what the Russians will
Murphy also notes that Putin and the Russians have “blurred the
lines that define what behavior will be viewed as criminal. We
cannot determine with any certainty what conduct they will deem
The Russian anti-LGBT culture is particularly alarming to
athletes and activists because Russia’s laws and policies equate
homosexuality with pedophilia, a position that comes as a complete
surprise to Americans and others whose cultures and laws have moved
toward increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians, their lifestyles
and their rights to marriage and other benefits.
For Murphy and the DRL, it is the Russians’ claim of a
connection between homosexuality and pedophilia that is both wrong
and potentially dangerous.
“Putin is being totally and completely irresponsible when he
connects homosexuality and pedophilia. He shows this when he tells
gay people to stay away from children,” Murphy said.
A Russian journalist has been accused violating the law by
creating a social media group called “Children-404” to help LGBT
teens share their stories and find support. From
The case against Lena Klimova was opened at the request of
Vitaly Milonov, an ultraconservative regional lawmaker who has
spearheaded anti-gay legislation in Russia.
Milonov confirmed to RIA Novosti that he requested a check into
the Children-404 pro-LGBT group on the Russian social networking
The group publishes personal statements by Russian gay teens on
their struggle for acceptance and against homophobia in the
country’s conservative provinces.
The group, created by Klimova, inveigles teens into questioning
their sexuality, Milonov said.
“Without such groups, no kids like that would exist,” said
Milonov, who has also campaigned against MTV, modern opera,
abortion and the teaching of evolution in schools.
In the meantime, GLBT supporters have
targeted Coca-Cola and McDonald’s for protests due to their
financial support of the Olympics via sponsorships.
Whether the Olympics is going to be a big gay disaster for the
Russians is up in the air at the moment. Though it’s possible the
Olympics could be a
disaster even without the gay issues.
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