Wednesday, August 20, 2014


Russia

Russia's 'Traditional Values' Lawmaker Faces Online Backlash

An online petition that calls for Yelena Mizulina to undergo a psychiatric evaluation has gathered more than 60,000 signatures.
An online petition that calls for Yelena Mizulina to undergo a psychiatric evaluation has gathered more than 60,000 signatures.

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Russian investigators are pressing ahead with a controversial defamation probe following a complaint by Yelena Mizulina, a lawmaker best known for her crusade to promote what she considers "traditional values."

Mizulina, who heads the parliament's committee on family, women, and children, has authored a number of controversial initiatives over the past year, including a new law targeting homosexuals that came into force last month.

The legislation, which slaps hefty fines on anyone deemed to promote "nontraditional sexual relations" to children, has sparked not only international outrage but also an active debate on what kind of sexual practices are regarded by the Russian authorities as "nontraditional."

The barrage of caustic jokes it has generated on the Internet has riled Mizulina, who now accuses several journalists and public figures of defaming her by claiming she is bent on eradicating oral sex in Russia.

Ksenia SobchakKsenia Sobchak
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Ksenia Sobchak
Ksenia Sobchak
Socialite and opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak, who was interrogated last week after making such a claim on Twitter, says investigators repeatedly asked her why she thought Mizulina held such views.

Journalists Yelena Kostyuchenko and Olga Bakushinskaya, as well as former Deputy Prime Minister Alfred Kokh, have also been questioned.

"Two lieutenant colonels from the Russian Investigative Committee clarified for three hours details about Mizulina's gay-oral phobias and my own relation to this," Kokh wrote on his blog.

Sobchak said a dozen people are on what she branded the "Mizulina List."

No Laughing Matter

While posts ridiculing Mizulina continue to flood the Internet -- including a scathing musical parody -- the current investigation is no laughing matter.

Russian youths beat a gay-rights activist during a protest against the country's new "homosexual propaganda" laws in Moscow in June.
Russian youths beat a gay-rights activist during a protest against the country's new "homosexual propaganda" laws in Moscow in June.
Insulting an official is an offense in Russia that carries fines of up to 40,000 rubles ($1,200) and up to one year of community service. Libel is punishable by a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($30,000).

Internet users accuse the authorities of seeking to silence one of the last arenas of free speech in Russia.

The news agency Rosbalt says investigators asked for the names of journalists who have written about Mizulina and denounced the request as the first "attempt by a Duma deputy to interfere in the agency's editorial policies" in its 12-year existence.

Yury KhovanskyYury Khovansky
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Yury Khovansky
Yury Khovansky
An online petition launched by stand-up comedian Yury Khovansky, who is calling for the lawmaker to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, has already gathered more than 60,000 signatures.

If signed by 100,000 people, the petition will be submitted to the State Duma.

"What she is doing, and this 'Mizulina List,' is an unprecedented threat to freedom of speech," Khovansky says. "If people are now prosecuted and fined for expressing their opinion on the actions of officials -- who are actually elected by the people -- you can just imagine what will happen to media freedom and openness more generally."

'Generating Hatred'

Mizulina, whom detractors have nicknamed "The Inquisitor," has tirelessly warned against Russia's moral and demographic decline. She and her committee have penned a string of initiatives aimed at instilling traditional values in Russians, including a ban on cursing and a tax on divorce.

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But critics have dismissed such measures, particularly the antigay law, as harmful.

Andrei Yurov, a member of the presidential human rights council, published an open letter last week charging Mizulina with inciting hatred in Russian society. "My aim," he wrote," is to draw your attention to how strongly your words and deeds are influencing society, generating almost exclusively aggression and hatred from all sides."

Written by Claire Bigg, based on reporting by Dmitry Volchek of RFE/RL's Russian Service
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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Camel Anaturk from: Sodom and Gommorrah
August 14, 2013 18:41
Shame on comrade Mizulina,shame,shame shame!!! How could she ban promoting propaganda of non-traditional sexual practices to children-thats a blatant violation of children`s rights!!! We all think RFE/RL should air special programs targeted at children,explaining the joy of LGBT practices exercised between Eugenio from Vienna and Jack from the US of A!!! LGBT or die!!!

by: Jane from: Prague
August 15, 2013 06:06
The poor delicate flower!

by: Bruce from: London
August 15, 2013 13:28
I wonder if Mizulina's husband has been having sex with men behind her back.
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Sodom and Gommorrah
August 15, 2013 20:10
Dearest Bruce Almighty,please,stop wondering-her husband was the active member of some non-trad.sexual practices usually associated with one of my hometowns-he brought joy unlimited to 5 MI5 members and now 3 others are eagerly awaiting to get more of the same!!! Next comes the turn of the Langley Virgins!!!

by: Jane from: Prague
August 15, 2013 20:06
LGBT or die?
Pathetic troll or missing the point entirely, I'm not quite sure.
The blatant violation of children's rights is in not recognizing that some of those children might not be attracted to who you want them to be attracted to and will most likely suffer horribly for it.
Perhaps you should try to convince them reeeeeeeal hard to be attracted to people you think they should be attracted to.

by: David
August 16, 2013 05:03
I'm genuinely terrified of this country. Which is not to say that Jamaica, Uganda, Zimbabwe are any better, but for some reason I am surprised to find the Russians to be so unbelievably barbaric. Yuck and Yikes!

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
August 16, 2013 16:41
If this is an article about Mizulina, why is there a picture of a man?

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