Thinking Of Visiting Russia? Please Don’t!

Film, Media

Two decades years after being gay was decriminalised in Russia, anti-gay legislation is making a fast comeback, with St Petersburg becoming the latest city to ban “homosexual propaganda”, and the trend set to go national.

Now a court in St Petersburg has – hilariously – summoned Madonna to appear on charges of having broken the law against promoting homosexuality. After she failed to attend a hearing on October 11 (surprise), the court sent a summons to her New York address. She has been ordered to show up on Thursday. What’s the betting she won’t?

The ‘Union of Russian Citizens’ says that it wants redress for the offence she gave at her concert in the city, when she called for tolerance. Nine anti-gay activists have filed a private lawsuit, seeking 333 million roubles (£6.7 million) from the star.

In another example of the growing homophobia in Russia, an organisation calling itself the ‘People’s Council’ has asked prosecutors to investigate children being harmed by a picture of purple cows grazing under a rainbow on the cartons of Jolly Milkman milk. They say; ‘A rainbow appeared on the cartons, a world-renowned symbol of the gay movement.’ And they’re angry.

Violent attacks against gay people are on the increase. This month, a gang of 20 masked raiders broke into Moscow’s 7FreeDays club, smashed furniture and beat up party-goers. The attack was so shocking that it prompted Victor Davidoff, writing in The Moscow Times, to compare gays to persecuted Jews. “Unfortunately, the attacks have become as much of a national trademark as St Basil’s Cathedral,” he said.

When we think of countries with backward human rights several Eastern bloc territories come to mind, but I had assumed Russia was becoming more sophisticated; after all, its wealthier residents are spreading out across Europe, buying homes in France, Italy and Greece, and have become synonymous with whores, drugs and organised crime. Now they’re adding Fascism to the agenda.

Oh, does that sound harsh? Funny, it’s the language the Russian legislators are using. On a more selfish note, it seems everywhere I’m planning to go on vacation hits trouble; I was next heading for Beirut but have cancelled the idea after spreading sectarian violence.

5 comments on “Thinking Of Visiting Russia? Please Don’t!”

  1. Dan Terrell says:

    Disgusting! Instead of striding forward, they are slidding back. And so it goes.

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    Not only are the Russians sliding back, but they have sent the last two of the girls from that Pu**y Riot business out of their Moscow prison to smaller and more distant prisons. Apparently their lawyers don’t even know where they are held now. Tickets for North Korea in May anybody?

  3. Helen Martin says:

    Okay, I guess I have to reanimate our Amnesty letter writing group. (That’s the group which does not allow my husband to participate. Letters must be polite and he always wants to start with “Dear Turkey”)
    Over the weekend I watched three programs which had incidental gay plots. “Miss Fisher’s Mysteries” from Australia is set in the 1920′s and this episode had a character blackmailing several people, one of whom was gay. He was terrified lest anyone find out because he would go to jail and couldn’t possibly survive there. “Foyle’s War” from England is set during the Second War. A young man engaged to a young woman has been hiding the fact of his homosexuality from fear and the knowledge that he would be thrown out of the air force where he is a highly esteemed fighter pilot. “Upstairs, Downstairs” again from England and set in the months preceding the outbreak of war (more or less) where the situation is two well to-do, well educated women, one of them an Egyptologist working in the British Museum. The other writes a roman a clef under a pseudonym (“No one will ever guess”)and tries to get her lover to move to her husband’s estate where there is this quaint little cottage which Blanche can have and be visited whenever her lover can come away from her family. That scene is quite wonderful as the wife explains why she can’t give up her children and her lover completely loses it. It’s as if all these stories weren’t told at the time and they are now spilling out of writers’ typewriters. I just betrayed my age again. Still, I wonder if the attempt to put the genii back in the bottle is a last ditch thing just before common sense takes over.
    I could never understand why the civil service/armed forces didn’t solve the “risk of blackmail” rationale by just decriminalising homosexuality.

  4. Alan G says:

    Helen – “Dear Turkey”. Excellent!

  5. glasgow1975 says:

    Apparently they don’t actually know her New York address, so the original summons was actually sent to Louiza Ciccone, New York. They don’t even know her name let alone her address, so it’s no wonder Madonna (her real name) failed to appear, notwithstanding the fact she’s still on the tour that so offended the ‘Union’ in the first place . . .(October 11th was LA, Thursday is Houston)

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