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Antigay Russian Lawmaker Takes Aim At Game Of Thrones

  • Tom Balmforth

St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov says morally bankrupt values often portrayed in Western TV "work on a subconscious level" and are seeping into the national psyche.

St. Petersburg lawmaker Vitaly Milonov says morally bankrupt values often portrayed in Western TV "work on a subconscious level" and are seeping into the national psyche.

MOSCOW -- A St. Petersburg lawmaker who styles himself as the crusading guardian of traditional Russian values has set his sights on corrupt films and the American TV fantasy series Game Of Thrones.

Vitaly Milonov has appealed to the Culture Ministry to devise a system to brand any film containing what he sees as deviant Western values as "harmful," while also listing the TV shows he feels should be banned.

Milonov, a member of United Russia who is famous for campaigning against so-called gay propaganda, told Izvestia that morally bankrupt values often portrayed in Western TV "work on a subconscious level" and are seeping into the national psyche.

Citing a popular MTV program that began in the 1990s, Milonov said he belonged to the Beavis and Butt-head era. "I'm in general a person of the old generation," Milonov told the pro-Kremlin newspaper. "I grew up when Beavis and Butt-head laughed at homosexuals and it was considered funny."

The animated characters Beavis and Butt-head were famous for their barely literate critiques of music videos and for mocking civilized society, but were not known for laughing at homosexuals.

"Certain ideological things are skillfully edited into everything. They do not affect the content so as not to appear obsessive," Milonov added. "What's more, ideas that were previously unacceptable are treated as absolutely normal. For example, there might be a lesbian or a homosexual in a film."

Milonov singled out the cult fantasy drama Game Of Thrones atop his suggested list of TV shows to be banned.

"Every one in 10 characters is a sexual deviant," he was quoted as saying. "It is precisely through these kinds of works and their popularization in our conscious that a new understanding is being laid down that certain things and phenomena are normal."

The HBO drama, which is known for its nudity, gore, and sexual violence, is hugely popular in Russia. According to Izvestia last week, some Russian parents have begun naming their children after Game Of Thrones characters.

The name Arya -- a main character in Game Of Thrones -- appeared for the first time in Russian birth registries last year, with eight Aryas registered in Moscow Oblast and four more in St. Petersburg.

Milonov has appealed to the Culture Ministry to devise a quality-control system by which the ministry would authorize films and other works of art with a "stamp of quality." Morally devious works would be branded "harmful." The lawmaker of Russia's culture capital proposed naming the quality-control system "The Concept For Defending The Information Space Of The Fatherland."

Earlier this month Milonov proposed introducing fines on people appearing in public nude or in unacceptable clothing such as undergarments or swimsuits.

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    Tom Balmforth

    Tom Balmforth covers Russia and other former Soviet republics. He can be reached at balmfortht@rferl.org

     

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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