Russia’s defenders, like the International Olympic Committee’s Dick Pound, like to claim that the country’s anti-gay “propaganda” law is no big deal, and that it’s just like anti-gay laws in America or Canada. But today’s actions in Russia prove otherwise.
Alexander Suturin, a Russian newspaper editor in the far east region of Khabarovsk, was fined 50,000 rubles, or around $1,400, this week for publishing an article quoting a teacher, who was fired for being gay, as saying “My very existence is proof being gay is normal.”
It is illegal in Russia to quote a gay person if the gay person does not self-incriminate.
Keep in mind that 50,000 rubles is three month’s wages in many parts of Russia. The average three-month wage in America, by comparison, is $11,445. So it’s not a small amount of money for a small-town paper, which this is.
Of course, there’s a larger story here. Not just about Russia’s draconian new gay “propaganda” law, but also of the rise of neo-Nazis who are, at the very least, in tacit cahoots with the Russian government. According to Russian news sources, Suturin’s article “detailed the claims of a local geography teacher and gay rights activist who said he was pressured into quitting his job at school and assaulted by neo-Nazis because of his sexuality.”
You’ll recall we’ve written repeatedly about anti-gay neo-Nazi vigilantes who have been given free reign over much of Russia over the past 18 months. (The Russians only recently arrested the leader of the movement, Maxim Martsinkevich, after sustained negative publicity in the west – and even then, Martsinkevich was only arrested for insulting World War II veterans, not for kidnapping and torturing gay teens.)
The vigilantes, who call themselves Occupy Pedophilia, have organized in more than two dozen cities across Russia, and routinely kidnap and then torture gay youth, while videotaping the travesty and then publishing it on Russian social media platform VK.com, which permitted the posting of videos of the kidnapping and torture of gay teenage boys, and others, and still has yet to delete the accounts of the people posting the videos (who also star in the torture videos).
VK.com was, until this week, run by Russian social media millionaire Pavel Durov, who fashions himself a Russian Mark Zuckerberg (the founder of Facebook).
Zuckerberg, to his credit, does not permit Facebook to be used as a promotional tool for ultra-nationalist criminal enterprises that kindap and torture gay youth. It’s rather amazing that Durov isn’t ostracized in the western social media world, where here is somewhat of a darling.
Durov reportedly only this week sold his shares in VK, though he admits to still having input with the company’s management. Regardless, Durov, and any future venture he forms, such as one called Telegram (a project of his company Digital Fortress), have some explaining to do as to why Durov apparently tolerated such extreme anti-gay hate – and criminal activity, as that’s what kidnapping and torture are – for so long.