Disturbing news from Russia tells that flyers are now being posted encouraging people to denounce those they suspect of spreading “gay propaganda” and that Russian officials have started raiding the homes of human rights activists.
The home of prominent Russian LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev was raided by government officials this past week after an anti-gay lawmaker who had a key role in passing the national homosexual propaganda ban complained about comments Alexeyev had made and called for Alexeyev to be punished.
A Reuters report captures the incident:
Alexyev is facing a criminal case on slander charges regarding alleged comments he made about State Duma Deputy Yelena Mizulina, a move that has been characterized as attempts to silence the campaigner.
Other reports have suggested that Russian landlords have begun posting signs encouraging neighbors of people they suspect to be gay to inform on them so that gay people can, in effect, be weeded out.
A copy of a poster seen by respected rights campaigner Melanie Nathan, and originating from Rostov-on-Don, a port city and the administrative center of Rostov Oblast, reads in part:
Please note, that propaganda of non-traditional relationship by such people can be determined non only directly, for example describing the advantage of living as a homosexual, offering you or members of your family to have sexual relationship with you; not only by unusual style of dressing or unnatural behavior but also propaganda can be started little by little, holding homosexual propaganda in house for several years.
Please remember, that homosexual can be dressed quite simply, he looks like you, he can be nice in communication and you can even know him.
Remember that homosexual doesn’t know the age limit and a person who does homosexual propaganda can be a person who just graduated from school or an old man.
Increase your vigilance when you talk with your neighbors, when you are checking your mail and in elevators. You can easily become a target of homosexual propaganda and there is a one step from being homosexual and to start propaganda of homosexualism and molesting decent people.
The poster goes on to encourage people to call if they suspect anyone of so-called homosexual propaganda.
It is believed that the city administration has had no hand in this and that it is not in any way an official notice, but to say that the so-called propaganda law has facilitated this kind of air of denunciation is not overstating the matter. Police are said to be investigating the incident.
In somewhat related news, police in Russia also recently seized from a St Petersburg art gallery a painting depicting President Vladimir Putin in women’s underwear combing the hair of Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s Prime Minister. The police seized in total four paintings, another of which depicted St Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov, a key architect of Russia’s propaganda laws, against a rainbow background.
The police have said that the paintings violate Russian laws, though precisely what legislation these works transgress has not been stated. The artist of the works, Konstantin Altunin, has reportedly fled to France in order to seek asylum.
Elsewhere, Russia’s propaganda law continues to earn criticism with activists applying further pressure to the sponsors of the forthcoming 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games which will be held in the Russian city of Sochi. Campaigners in New York have set their sights on Coca Cola, a main sponsor for the Games, pouring out bottles of the sugar laden drink into the streets.
Russian capital St Petersburg is set to host the G20 summit this coming week, with activists urging government officials to use this as an opportunity to apply pressure on Russian officials and have them stop Russia’s onslaught against its LGBT community and other minorities.
Image credit: Thinkstock.
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