Russian newspaper editor fined for quoting gay person in article

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.

Alexander Suturin, courtesy of RFE/RL

Alexander Suturin, courtesy of RFE/RL

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).

Pavel Durov, founder of VK.com, a Russian social media site used by Russian ultra-nationalists to broadcast their gay-bashing videos and photos.

Pavel Durov, founder of VK.com, a Russian social media site used by Russian ultra-nationalists to broadcast their gay-bashing videos and photos.

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.


(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • emjayay

    That’s Justin Vivian Bond. And some clips from the Leni Riefenstahl film Olympia (which, if you ignore the fact that it is pro-Nazi propaganda, is really amazing).

  • HeartlandLiberal

    Chart of historical per capita income by state since 1990.

    Highest by state in 2012:Connecticut 59,908
    Lowest by state in 2012: West Virginia 34,477

    http://bber.unm.edu/econ/us-pci.htm

    Census Bureau pdf on Household Income in 2012

    Median US Household Income 2012: 51,371 (half more, half less)
    Range Maryland 71,122 to Mississippi 37,095.

    http://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr12-02.pdf

  • Thom Allen

    Amazing how Durov suddenly sold all of his shares in VK.com just after being outed as a major stockholder.

  • Thom Allen
  • Thom Allen

    It’s VK.com
    I followed one of the links that I had for it when I was looking at what Maksim Martsinkevich posted when he was in Cuba. Apparently, this link leads to a group on VK where the neo-nazis post their hate videos. The neo-nazis act like kidnapping, beating, humiliation and torture are all some kind of a game – something like a frat hazing. Or that it’s some kind of acceptable pseudo-vigilanteism. I can’t imagine what the victims go through: the fear, pain, shame and the aftereffects. Then having the vids posted on such a popular site. They’re then publicly outed in such a homophobic country. Setting them up for more hate, possibly loss of family, friends, jobs, seats at universities and maybe targeting them for another round of kidnapping and brutality from the same thugs.

  • 4th Turning

    Thanks for posting this link. Followers may think it might only contain a handful
    of videos. But they apparently run into the hundreds? Hopefully not all are about
    “documenting” this unforgivable behavior? Do you know anything else about
    that site?

  • 4th Turning

    I’d like to think maybe ubiquitous cell phone snaps would have lessened the genocide
    in Cambodia or Rwanda, but they haven’t had much effect in Syria. I agree with you
    that all of us need to summon the courage to watch these heart-rending videos.
    The temporary “discomfort” we may feel is nothing to what those tormented human beings
    are enduring in real time. I still replay what Matthew Shepard’s last moments on that fence
    must’ve been like in my head.

  • KC Jenner

    That is interesting about self-incriminate laws in the the USA, but I did not know they have that in Russian have that law. So the school teacher did get fired. So that laws about publishing did back-firing on the news reporter. It is a little funny but here in the USA we have newspapers that report news because of our 1st amendment rights for Freedom of Speech. So that is Russia’s tragedy.

  • Indigo

    Thank you.

  • perljammer

    I hope you’re not serious about being unsuited for commentary. I for one enjoy reading your posts, and I doubt I’m alone in that.

  • Indigo

    That’s interesting to know and also intensely alienating from whatever society it is that the Bureau measures. I wonder what the average income on this blog is. I can claim $25,000 annually. Perhaps I’m demographically unsuited for commentary here.

  • perljammer

    True. On the other hand, if you put 100 people who have annual incomes of $1 billion each in a room with 80 million people who have annual incomes of $45,000 each, the average for the 80,000,100 people is $46,250. So, yeah, the income of the very rich skew the national average, but not by as much as you might think.

    As a footnote, I’m pretty sure there aren’t 100 people in this country pulling in $1 billion or more a year. The last year I can find data for is 2010; that year, there were 72 people who made at least $50 million, and together they earned a total of about $6 billion.

  • perljammer

    Bureau of Labor Statistics says $45,790, as of May, 2012.

    Edit: by the way, that’s individual, not household, income.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well, I suspect it’s like the old saying: If you put the Koch brothers in a room with 98 destitute homeless people, on average they’re all multimillionaires.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No thanks. I mean, I trust your take on it, but I’m already assuming it’s way more poison than I can handle right now.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    I wish Christopher Hitchens were still alive.

    I have to admit, I don’t.

  • Indigo

    That sounds more like the America I see around me. But what do I know? I’m not inside the beltway where all is well, apparently.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Half that

  • Strepsi

    I wish Christopher Hitchens were still alive, and one of his favorite lines in debate was,

    “Well you’re making a distinction without a difference.”

    So true for all these ‘assurances’ including Putin’s and the IOC’s – because the very fact of our existence IS controversial and IS offensive and IS political to Russians, simply neutrally stating the fact of gayness is a controversial, offensive, political act.

  • Indigo

    That’s creepy.

  • Indigo

    The “average American” earns $45,780 a year? That’s the national average? It sure doesn’t look that high from where I’m sitting.

  • keirmeister

    I didn’t make it past the first sentence. “Dick Pound”?!? Get huh.

  • Thom Allen

    Here’s one I just viewed at VK.com. WARNING: It’s graphic! What adds to the brutality is how much the captors enjoy what they’re doing. It’s like bullies gone wild. http://vk.com/video49481147_167639678

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    But gee, Russian leaders, including Vladimir “Behold My Nipples!” Putin, continue to insist they haven’t made it illegal to be gay.

    At this point, it’s clearly a pointless distinction, since clearly the intent of their Final Solution laws is to make LGBTs completely invisible. I fear it won’t be much longer before some politician decides the best way to make that happen is to “concentrate” the gay people in “camps”, far away from everybody else.

  • jomicur

    Not “may be.’ IS. But you’re right.

  • Tor

    Durov may be scum, but it is good that these videos are online for all to see. Yes, disgusting to view, but important for the rest of the world to see what is really going on in Russia.

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