New York Times in last edition of December 28 published article “Russia’s homophobic turn” which I will quote here extensively as newspaper is under sort of paywall and for commenting purpose.
This is not true as author of the law Mizulina said: "In final text of the law we have chosen clear language that, for example, if a person shows life of gays, it is not propaganda, it is not aimed at developing such attitudes in children, it's just information . News stories - also just information, it's not propaganda. If two people of the same sex hold each other hand in hand - this is not propaganda. And if the child is looking for some information, if he needs it, it is also not propaganda, because there is no purposeful formation of non conventional attitudes of children to sex".
There may have been only a few prosecutions, but Russia’s antihomosexual law has begun to bite, Mark Gevisser writes.The Russian port city Arkhangelsk (population 350,000) is on the White Sea, 1,230 kilometers north of Moscow. A key Allied supply line to the Soviets in both world wars, it was also the departure point for the first Soviet gulag. The city is a paradox: inaccessible for most of the year, but historically a point of contact between Russia and the world. Still, it is grim, and visiting it gives a glimpse of what Soviet deprivation must have felt like. The lumber industry that once supported the city all but collapsed in the post-Communist era.Recently, as a blizzard whipped through the city, I met a 22-year-old bus conductor named Varya. Her hair style was Gothic, shaved on top and hanging on her shoulder in a crimson curtain. She had a toddler, and lived with her girlfriend and her girlfriend’s daughter in the kind of family arrangement that some lawmakers allied with President Vladimir V. Putin want to eradicate. They have put forward a proposal — shelved for now — that would let the government remove children from homosexual parents. Most of her friends are unemployed, Varya told me, and she felt lucky to have a job. She showed me a sticker she had found on her route that morning: ‘‘Stamp out faggots,’’ it read, depicting a jackboot squashing the head of a pinkhaired youth. ‘‘It’s the neo-Nazis,’’ she told me. ‘‘The stickers are everywhere. They can do what they want because they know the authorities will not stop them.’’ Six months ago, Russia adopted a nationwide ban on ‘‘propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations,’’ which makes it a crime to so much as mention homosexuality around minors.
In other words, news stories about gays is OK, showing gays embracing each other is OK, if child discovers on web information glorifying gay life it's OK.
The ban was piloted in two provinces: Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, in 2006, and then Arkhangelsk, in the north, in 2011.
There have been only a few prosecutions,
prosecutions really happened or it was just for literary purpose? Where are facts, NYT?
but the law has begun to bite in other ways. In Arkhangelsk, it has been used to refuse authorization of street demonstrations. And the father of Varya’s child, heretofore absent, had begun using it to threaten a custody case. Varya contacted Rakurs, the city’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy organization, and after they sent a letter, the man backed off. ‘‘But something else will happen,’’ she told me. ‘‘We know we are vulnerable.’’ There are many reasons for Russia’s dramatic tilt toward homophobia. The country has always sought to define itself against the West. Now the Kremlin and the nationalist far right
this is again not true as Russian neonazi led by pro-Western Yale educated Alexey Navalny
are finding common ground in their view of homosexuality as a sign of encroaching decadence in a globalized era. Many Russians feel they can steady themselves against this cultural tsunami by laying claim to ‘‘traditional values,’’ of which rejection of homosexuality is the easiest shorthand. This message plays particularly well for a government wishing to mobilize against demographic decline (childless homosexuals are evil) and cozy up to the Russian Orthodox Church (homosexuals with children are evil).Yet one often ignored cause for this homophobic surge is perhaps the most obvious: backlash. Whatever else it is, Russian homophobia is a direct, even violent, reaction to the space created by a minority that has only come into the open over the last decade. This is certainly the case in Arkhangelsk, where Rakurs was denied registration as a nonprofit organization in 2010 on the grounds that it promoted ‘‘extremism.’’ Rakurs managed to get this judgment overturned, but soon after, the ‘‘gay propaganda’’ ban was passed. ‘‘The law was clearly designed to limit our activities,’’ Tatiana Vinnichenko, the director of Rakurs, told me. ‘‘And in many ways it has succeeded. We cannot hold protests of more than one person. And any attempts to help young people are stifled.’’ Ms. Vinnichenko, a 40-year-old professor of Russian language at the local university, is undeterred. She showed me the community center she has established. I had expected to be led to a basement on the edge of town. Instead, I found myself on an upper floor of a tall building in the middle of Lenin Square, the statue of the Soviet leader gesticulating across the river port and the snowy woodlands. City Hall was on one side, the State Duma on the other. Rakurs (the name means ‘‘Perspective’’) might be on the defensive, but no one can say it has been marginalized — yet. At Rakurs, I met with the resident psychologist and lawyer, an openly bisexual woman who had run for municipal office, and a sailor and his wife who were trying to start a support group for parents of lesbian and gay kids. I also met Varya’s friends: Vadim, who planned to leave for Moscow to begin the process of becoming a woman, and Sergei, who recently held a spontaneous one-man protest, yelling ‘‘Arrest me! I am propaganda!’’ to a passing patrol car. The police officers obliged, but decided to charge him only with littering. They seemed more interested, he said, in his involvement in the alt-music scene, or nefor (‘‘neformaly’’ means ‘‘alternative’’), than in his sexuality. Varya, Vadim and Sergei had met through the music scene a few years earlier. They would gather at a local graveyard. ‘‘It was the only place where nobody bothered you,’’ Vadim explained. Flipping through their timelines on VKontakte, a social-networking site, they showed me photos of themselves with dramatic goth hair and makeup and androgynous black clothing. The alt-music scene made space for kids who felt different, which is why so many ‘‘L.G.B.T.’s’’ — the acronym has become part of the Russian vernacular— were attracted to it. Later, in Moscow, I met a young blogger who called himself Harry. He was part of the alt-music scene in the capital, and had found other queer kids in online communities who shared an interest in Japanese animation. ‘‘We didn’t even know the words ‘gay’ or ‘ lesbian,’ ’’ he told me. ‘‘We used Japanese anime terms to describe ourselves: ‘yaoi’ for homosexual men, ‘yuri’ for homosexual women. There were hundreds of us!’’ Once the propaganda laws came into force, ‘‘I sent out a message calling for the establishment of an L.G.B.T. youth group,’’ Harry said. Between 20 and 50 kids met regularly last summer, in a park where many nefor groups hung out. Harry’s group started flash mob actions: On Valentine’s Day, for example, they gathered on historic Arbat Street and handed out messages with same-sex themes.An online initiative called ‘‘Deti-404,’’ or ‘‘Children 404’’ (‘‘404’’ being the error code that appears when a web page can’t be found), gathers testimonies from queer youth all over Russia — precisely the minors the propaganda ban is meant to protect. The accounts of these isolated kids are harrowing. But, like Harry’s activism, they are shot through with such purpose that they suggest an inevitable dynamic: Even as the rise of a queer rights movement provokes a backlash, the backlash undermines itself — by strengthening the resolve of the movement and by publicizing (even if through hate) the existence of a group of people who were so long invisible. ‘‘The government tells us that Russians are homophobic,’’ Ms. Vinnichenko told me, ‘‘ but our experience is that this is really a small minority. Arkhangelsk is a tolerant city. But of course the state’s actions can have the effect of rendering it less tolerant.’’ While the state-controlled national media is relentlessly hostile, Rakurs has found some unexpected support in the local press.
this is a again lie, Moscow-based and regional media in Russia are free unlike Western media to discuss any topic and criticize or even smear ruling establishment though more open in internet and in print than on TV.
I don’t know whether heroes of NYT article (without surnames) are real people but I believe they are real because on Livejournal.com and diary.ru and other social networks there are plenty of Russian LGBT bloggers who can say and do similar things but NYT heroes don’t say anything which is little more than their irrational fears not real persecution or limits to their activities.
Ms. Vinnichenko introduced me to a journalist, Aleksey Filatov, who has been covering Rakurs for a local news website. He saw no reason the issue should not be covered ‘‘objectively, just like any other subject.’’ He added: ‘‘Whatever one’s personal feelings, one must acknowledge that the world is changing.’’ Everyone I met at Rakurs was emphatic that Western activism on their behalf should be escalated before the Winter Olympics start in February in Sochi, if only to shine a light on their predicament. Still, actions like mass boycotts against vodka or Coca-Cola (an Olympic sponsor) carry a double edge: They reinforce the official line that lesbian and gay rights are an obsession of the decadent, commercialized West, from which Russian values must be protected. There is only one way out of this bind: for Russians themselves to speak out in support of the rights of sexual minorities. What is most inspiring about groups like Rakurs, in far-flung communities like Arkhangelsk, is the counterpoint they give, by their very existence, to the official narrative that homosexuals are dangerous outsiders or, worse, child molesters.In Arkhangelsk, Varya and her friends have graduated from the altmusic scene. ‘‘We’re adults now,’’ she said. ‘‘We have kids, we have jobs.’’ She held up the hateful sticker she had found on the bus, and kept: ‘‘And we have this to fight.’’
Hence my verdict: besides hypocrisy as NYT doesn't write about gays routinely executed in Muslim countries, they concocted charge of Russia turning homophobic and try every trick to prove unprovable because persecution of gays is not happening in Russia. In effect NYT advocates repealing so-called Mizulina law which limits access of children to pornography which I consider as NYT turn into voice of pedophiles.