Another day in the life of homophobic Russia

Published: September 27, 2011

In the latest news from homophobic Russia: Moscow police have stopped investigating the bashing of a lesbian journalist; Moscow authorities refuse to register LGBT NGOs; and another Russian region wants to outlaw LGBT and pro-gay organizing.

But, in good news, ‘liberal’ St Petersberg held a successful LGBT festival.

Elena Kostyuchenko is a well-known Russian journalist who recently came out as lesbian in her newspaper, Novaya Gazeta.

At the May Moscow Pride march she was beaten up in full view of the world’s media. But Moscow police just announced that they were closing the case due to ‘lack of evidence’. The man who bashed her, Roman Lisunova, now has the right to bring a civil action for compensation for moral damages for unlawful prosecution – this was explained to him by the police investigator.

Also this week, the Russian Ministry of Justice has again refused to register four gay organizations in Moscow, which means that the capital has still not registered a single open-social organisation of sexual minorities.

Russian activists have pledged to sue the refusal to register their groups before the European Court of Human Rights.

Russian gay leader and organiser of Moscow Pride, Nikolai Alekseev, pointed out that gay groups have been registered in St. Petersburg.

    "The impression is that Moscow and St. Petersburg are cities located in different countries," he said. "There is no unity of legal space in Russia, none."

In 2010 a request to register the ‘Movement for Marriage Equality’ was denied on ‘public morality’ grounds. A complaint against Russia about that is with the European Court of Human Rights, as is one from the LGBT organization Raduzhny Dom (Rainbow House) from the city of Tyumen, 200k east of Moscow.

In the court, the Russian state is arguing that:

    “The activities of this organization relate to propaganda for un-traditional sexual orientations that could result in an undermining of the safety of Russian society and government. The spiritual values of society are being undermined, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Russian Federation are being undermined in terms of preserving her population.  Moreover, the activities of this organization could arouse social and religious hatred and hostility, which also signifies the extreme nature of their activities. Propaganda for untraditional sexual orientations is encroaching on the institutions of marriage and family as protected under the law”

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