Anti-Gay Hate in Russia Getting Worse

As the world’s attention has been focused on Vladimir Putin’s actions in the Ukraine, the situation inside Russia for LGBT people and organizations has been getting worse. The anti-”propaganda” law was just the beginning. Now Putin has new legal tools to oppress them with.

First, official state prosecutions and persecution of LGBT organizations has morphed and intensified. Previously, LGBT organizations were pressured to register as “foreign agents”—spies, basically—but those registrations were subject to judicial review. The results were uneven: Some courts rubber-stamped the government’s positions, but others found a lack of evidence and ruled for the LGBT organizations.

Earlier this year, says Vinnichenko, the law was quietly changed. Now the government has the power to declare an organization a foreign agent as an administrative matter. In other words, what was once a matter of law, however imperfect, is now a matter of bureaucracy. With one fell swoop—and one that can come at any moment, without warning—a gay community center, or film festival, or support group can be branded a spy.

The St. Petersburg-based LGBT organization Coming Out has been immersed in Russia’s Kafkaesque bureaucracy for months, having endured four hearings to ascertain whether it is a foreign agent. But it has endured, thanks to the rule of law. Without that protection, Coming Out would have no recourse. And once one is labeled a foreign agent, even routine administrative errors can result in criminal prosecution.

“We are being boiled in a pot,” Vinnichenko said.

The foreign agents law and the “anti-propaganda law” are really just the tip of the anti-gay iceberg, however. The newest phase of Putin’s campaign has been, ironically, privatization.

According to Vinnichenko, Russian authorities are putting pressure on all kinds of institutions—banks, landlords, employers—not to do business with LGBT people and LGBT organizations. Because licenses are required for just about everything in Russia, this “pressure” is existential. Banks are being told, “Dump your LGBT customers, or we’ll shut you down,” she said.

This, of course, makes Putin a hero to the American anti-gay bigots.

FRC Doesn't Heart 'It Gets Better' Project
When Hindu Nationalists Attack
Bill Donohue's Latest Bit of Buffoonery
Robert O'Brien Nominee: Gary Bauer
About Ed Brayton

After spending several years touring the country as a stand up comedian, Ed Brayton tired of explaining his jokes to small groups of dazed illiterates and turned to writing as the most common outlet for the voices in his head. He has appeared on the Rachel Maddow Show and the Thom Hartmann Show, and is almost certain that he is the only person ever to make fun of Chuck Norris on C-SPAN.

  • John Pieret

    This, of course, makes Putin a hero to the American anti-gay bigots.

    The ironic part is that Putin accuses the Ukrainians of being fascists. Pot. Kettle. Black.

  •!/TabbyLavalamp Tabby Lavalamp

    Now if any of these “family” organizations want to look for an actual, real Nazi parallel in today’s world…

  • theschwa

    Banks are being told, “Dump your LGBT customers, or we’ll shut you down,” she said.

    Yes, but it is the invisible hand of the market that is telling this to the banks.

  • Modusoperandi

    Is typical of decadent West to look with disapproving at country of us, but steps of this type are necessary for to save Russian peoples. If Russian mans are spending all nights to disco and Mother Russia is muncher of carpet, who will to have the babies?

  • busterggi

    Theocracy Eastern Orthodox style.

    Oddly enough it looks the same as evangelical western Christianity, the RCC, the Mormons, Scientology, Islam and ultra-Orthodox Judaism.

    its almost as if religion is autocratic, jingoistic, misogynistic and generally hateful no matter what name it goes by.

  • jonathangray
  • Chiroptera

    jonathangray, #6:

    According to that article, this is a law enacted by the Danish parliament. And if there is one thing the homophobes keep telling us, we must respect the decisions made by the people’s elected representatives.

  • jonathangray

    Not this one. “I would not presume to advise my sovereign on her choice of ministers.” – Evelyn Waugh (on being asked how he intended to vote).

  • Synfandel

    Modusoperandi, say “nuclear wessels.”

  • eamick


    And despite what the article implies, I’ll bet it applies only to the established church, not every last religious denomination in the country.