Russia on verge of banning pro-gay speech; jailing gay (and pro-gay) tourists, businesspeople

Vladimir Putin’s Russia continues its decline into third world dictatorship and despotism today with the passage of legislation in the lower house (the State Duma) which bans the public display of anything pro-gay, including words.

The law would also permit the government to jail gay foreigners for up to two weeks before throwing them out of the country.

In true Soviet fashion, the legislation passed unanimously, 436-0.  And the bill has widespread support in the Federation Council, where it goes next. Putin is then expected to sign it.

Per the WSJ, the law will literally make it a crime to even speak in defense of gay rights, or to say that gay relationships are equal to straight ones.

As part of its downward spiral into irrelevancy since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Putin’s Russia is doing the usual striking out at minorities that Russia, and most dictatorships and authoritarian states, are famous for.  In the past it was Jews, now it’s gay people.

Russian police attack gay protesters outside the State Duma today. (A href="!">Video by Dmitry Zykov)

Russian police attack gay protesters during a “kiss-in” outside the State Duma today. (Video by Dmitry Zykov)

Putin decided years ago to scapegoat Russian gays as the new Jews

Russian police routinely beat up Gay Pride protesters, and Moscow banned Gay Pride parades for the next 100 years.  And St. Petersburg banned the mention of anything pro-gay, even wearing rainbow suspenders, which got one activist arrested in that city.  Russia is also now clamping down on foreign adoptions, but particularly adoptions by gay people.

Rainbow suspenders, banned in St. Petersburg, soon to be illegal in all of Russia. (Tomasz Bidermann /

Rainbow suspenders, banned in St. Petersburg, soon to be illegal in all of Russia. (Tomasz Bidermann /

Towleroad has a horrific photo of a Russian gay rights activist being attacked by anti-gay Russians. You can also see a nasty series of photos of Russians, with police complicity, beating up gay protesters today.

It’s funny, because it’s not like gays have all of our civil rights here in America either.  But then again, we don’t generally treat gay people like dogs.  Leave it to Russia to successfully point out the difference between discrimination and despotism.

Nazis: $62 fine. Gays: $31,000 fine.

Back to the latest outrage. Local Russian activists point out that the law bans “non-traditional sexual relations,” and any effort to promote them, which can be as simply as saying you are gay, or saying that being gay is okay.  The law provides for fines up to 1 million rubles, or about $31,000.

To contrast, Russian law also bans the propaganda and display of pro-Nazi sentiment, with a 2,000 ruble fine, or $62.

So just to recap: Russia thinks being a Nazi is worth a $62 fine. And being gay is worth a $31,000 fine.

Take a guess where their sentiments lie.

Law would imprison gay, and pro-gay, tourists, businesspeople

The law also provides for the imprisonment of foreign gays, or any foreigner who says or does anything that suggests that being gay is okay.  When the first gay-American tourist, or simply any American tourist, is thrown in a Russian prison for being gay, or simply being okay with gays, the proverbial sh*t is going to hit the fan.  But foreign businesses had better look out too.  Not just for their staff, but for their policies.  If a business has a non-discrimination policy that covers sexual orientation – or “worse,” partner benefits – that counts as pro-gay propaganda, especially if it has anything written on the topic.

Take Google, for instance, that has a lovely office in Moscow.  Are any of their staff gay?  Are any of their staff pro-gay?  Do Google’s employment policies say anything pro-gay, and is any of that information available in Moscow?  If it is, it will soon be a crime.  Here’s the soon-to-be crime scene, otherwise known as Google’s Moscow office:

The soon-to-be crime scene, otherwise known as Google's Moscow office.

The soon-to-be crime scene, otherwise known as Google’s Moscow office.

Microsoft has an office in Moscow too:


Putin was asked about his country’s Nazi-like fascination with bashing gays while visiting Amsterdam earlier this year.  In classic fashion, Putin invoked pedophilia:

“Can you imagine an organization promoting pedophilia in Russia? I think people in many Russian regions would have started to take up arms. The same is true for sexual minorities: I can hardly imagine same-sex marriages being allowed in Chechnya. Can you imagine it? It would have resulted in human casualties,” he said, according to state-run news service Ria-Novosti.

Russia govt-TV exec thinks gays heart should be burned

Well, I also can’t imagine that a country that barely survived the onslaught of the Nazis, and nearly a century of Soviet dictatorship, would then turn around and act like the very Nazis and Soviet despots it once fought.  But that’s Russia today:

Lawmakers have accused gays of decreasing Russia’s already low birth rates and said they should be barred from government jobs, undergo forced medical treatment or be exiled.

An executive with a government-run television network said in a nationally televised talk show that gays should be prohibited from donating blood, sperm and organs for transplants, while after their death their hearts should be burned or buried.

The bill’s adoption comes 20 years after a Stalinist-era law punishing homosexuality with up to five years in prison was removed from Russia’s penal code as part of the democratic reforms that followed the Soviet Union’s collapse.

Anyone who plans a vacation in Russia should have their head examined.  Same goes for business investment.  Russia is clearly not a democracy, nor is it a developed country.  But worse, these constant, and increasing, spasms of intolerance only go to show what a backwards and dangerous place Russia has become once again.

And anyone who attends the 2014 Olympics in Russia, that already have been marred by Russia’s, and the IOC’s anti-gay prejudice, should have their head examined.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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