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Transmission

Vicious Attack Highlights Hostility Toward Russia's Homosexuals

One of the victims of an attack on a gay bar in Moscow last week.
One of the victims of an attack on a gay bar in Moscow last week.
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Russia's embattled gay and lesbian community has had a lot to contend with in recent months.

Earlier this year, the country's second city, St. Petersburg, passed a law banning "homosexual propaganda."

The law's supporters claimed it was necessary to "protect children."

Now, LGBT activists in the city can be arrested and fined for anything that is deemed to promote homosexuality. 

Besides slamming the legislation for seemingly codifying homophobic attitudes, critics say it is very vague in its wording and open to abuse by the authorities.

Other cities, such as Arkhangelsk and Ryazon, have also adopted comparable laws and a bill to introduce a similar regulation across the entire country has been put before the State Duma.

Rights campaigners maintain that this is legitimizing widespread, often violent, hostility toward same-sex relationships in Russia.

"Such a law increases the possibly that people will consider that attacks on homosexuals are justified," Amnesty International's Frederike Vehr told RFE/RL in June. "The fear is there."

Now, it seems this fear has been justified following a frightening attack on a gay bar in Moscow late last week.

According to reports, on the night of October 11, around two dozen masked men stormed the popular 7Freedays club and started attacking patrons there who were attending a "Coming Out Day" celebration.

RFE/RL's Russian Service reports that the men cried "So, you asked for a fight?" upon entering, before smashing up the place.

Two armed men reportedly blocked the door so nobody could leave while others started assaulting customers.

A barman's face was sprayed with an unknown caustic substance while three others were said to have been hospitalized, including a woman who had a shard of glass in her eye after the attackers broke her spectacles.

Several others suffered minor injuries before the attackers left.

Although the police are conducting an investigation, many gay activists are skeptical about whether the culprits will be caught.

Prominent blogger Nikolai Alekseyev said on October 12 that the audacious assault was typical of the "sense of impunity of people who commit such crimes."

"Those who carried out the attack yesterday on the gay party knew that not a single person in Russia has been prosecuted for homophobic crimes," he added.

Other LGBT campaigners have suggested that it was no coincidence that the attack on 7Freedays came just a day or two after an Orthodox nationalist organization had called for the closure of all gay clubs in Moscow in order to help prevent the "promotion of homosexuality."

-- Coilin O'Connor
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John Harduny from: Reston, VA, USA
October 15, 2012 15:02
Attacks on gays in the former USSR is a direct consequence of the focused Western efforts to promote LGBT activism and extremism in post-socialist world, such as Western-financed "gay parades." In fact, such Western policy is entirely counterproductive because it derails the slow but steady process of affirmation of LGBT rights in those societies.
In Response

by: Turgai
October 16, 2012 08:39
Indeed. It even has a name - 'LGBT-imperialism' - and it's part of a wider agenda of societal destruction and colonization. They're trying to do it in Africa too, e.g. by making LBGT rights a condition for aid packages to Uganda. Much of it is pushed for by the freemasonry. And it's going to be completely counterproductive.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 16, 2012 10:30
Well, what can one do: Russia is definitely not a good place for the LGBTs to live in. So, they should just pack up their stuff and go to live in Miami where they will for sure become and integral part of the majority of the local population :-))).

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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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