Will Russian Police Attempt to Arrest a Rainbow, Should One Appear at the Sochi Games?

The Winter Olympics kick off at the end of the week in Sochi, and it’s still not entirely clear how Russian authorities are going to respond to any objections to the country’s increasingly vicious targeting of its non-heterosexual citizenry.

Human Rights Watch has released a “worst of” video highlighting some of the anti-gay violence happening in Russia. Watch below:

Left out of the New York Times report is that one of the main alleged perpetrators of ant-gay violence, Maksim “Machete” Martsinkevich, has been charged with “extremism” for his videos, fled to Cuba, and was extradited back to Moscow to face a trial. So apparently there’s some sort of a limit to the amount of thuggery the state will turn its back on, though it’s not quite clear what the lines are (going viral, maybe?).

Actually, nothing about Russia’s anti-gay anti-“propaganda” law is particularly clear. ESPN points to the confusion about how the law might affect foreign visitors to the Olympics:

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the chairman of the European (including Russia) Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has studied the situation and told ESPN.com, "The Russians have said they will not use these laws to crack down during the Olympics, but I would not counsel my gay and lesbian friends to go to the Olympics. We don't know what the Russians will do."

Murphy also notes that Putin and the Russians have "blurred the lines that define what behavior will be viewed as criminal. We cannot determine with any certainty what conduct they will deem criminal."

The Russian anti-LGBT culture is particularly alarming to athletes and activists because Russia's laws and policies equate homosexuality with pedophilia, a position that comes as a complete surprise to Americans and others whose cultures and laws have moved toward increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians, their lifestyles and their rights to marriage and other benefits.

For Murphy and the DRL, it is the Russians' claim of a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia that is both wrong and potentially dangerous.

"Putin is being totally and completely irresponsible when he connects homosexuality and pedophilia. He shows this when he tells gay people to stay away from children," Murphy said.

A Russian journalist has been accused violating the law by creating a social media group called “Children-404” to help LGBT teens share their stories and find support. From RIA Novosti:

The case against Lena Klimova was opened at the request of Vitaly Milonov, an ultraconservative regional lawmaker who has spearheaded anti-gay legislation in Russia.

Milonov confirmed to RIA Novosti that he requested a check into the Children-404 pro-LGBT group on the Russian social networking site Vkontakte.

The group publishes personal statements by Russian gay teens on their struggle for acceptance and against homophobia in the country’s conservative provinces.

The group, created by Klimova, inveigles teens into questioning their sexuality, Milonov said.

“Without such groups, no kids like that would exist,” said Milonov, who has also campaigned against MTV, modern opera, abortion and the teaching of evolution in schools.

In the meantime, GLBT supporters have targeted Coca-Cola and McDonald’s for protests due to their financial support of the Olympics via sponsorships.

Whether the Olympics is going to be a big gay disaster for the Russians is up in the air at the moment. Though it’s possible the Olympics could be a disaster even without the gay issues.

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  • Paul.||

    Maksim “Machete” Martsinkevich, has been charged with “extremism” for his videos, fled to Cuba, and was extradited back to Moscow to face a trial.

    Or reworded, Maksim fled to the garage, and was extradited back to the living room to face a trial.

  • ||

    So they did get Martsinkevich. Last I saw he was in Cuba and broke hoping someone would help him out. Russian prison couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

  • Scott S.||

    He sets off my gaydar to no end, too.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

  • JW||

    With that hair and those glasses? Not a chance.

  • SugarFree||

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    How did you hack into Zangief's facebook?

  • Paul.||

    By going to facebook.com?

  • SugarFree||

    His password was "icameintohimlikeawreckingball."

    But, seriously, Milonov looks like the kind of guy that would crawl through a perfectly good whorehouse just to get at a fat boy's ass.

  • ||

    It'd be so cliché though.

    He does seem to love his tank tops and posing shirtless though.

  • playa manhattan||

    Clichè, sure. But nobody could be that obsessed without a pretty good reason.

  • playa manhattan||

    Clarification: good reason=obvious motive.

  • ||

    Yeah, I'm not actually disagreeing, I've avoided watching the videos but from what I can tell he's acting out some extremely dark fetishy fantasies on unsuspecting people.

  • Almanian!||

    The videos are ultra-disgusting. Trust me...

  • ~Knarf Yenrab~||

    So apparently there’s some sort of a limit to the amount of thuggery the state will turn its back on, though it’s not quite clear what the lines are (going viral, maybe?).

    Ding ding.

    The Pink Pistols have found a solution to this particular problem here. A shame that Russians are still living in a violent, statist hellhole that denies the right to self defense all these years after the fall of communism.

  • Old Bull Lee||

    I was just thinking when watching the gay demonstrators in the video, it would be nice if they could do what the Black Panthers did and open carry rifles around their neighborhoods.

  • Tonio||

    So apparently there’s some sort of a limit to the amount of thuggery the state will turn its back on, though it’s not quite clear what the lines are (going viral, maybe?).

    Embarrassing the state, duh. Street gangs are bad publicity.

  • R C Dean||

    I look forward to H & R publishing a collection of ringing denunciations of Russia and the Sochi Games by American gay activist organizations.

    I mean, if they can work up the energy to boycott Evil American Corporations, surely they can say a few harsh words about the Russians more directly, no?

  • ||

    Wow it's crazy it took me almost 8 seconds of googling HRC and Russia to find statements like:

    “President Putin’s public interpretation of the country’s anti-LGBT law is beyond comprehension,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “This law was designed to do nothing less than secure second class status for LGBT Russians and visitors. It does nothing to protect children, but goes great lengths to harm families.”
    “Americans, and the citizens of the world are against archaic and dangerous laws that single out a group of people,” Griffin added. “The blatant lie that gays and lesbians are not discriminated against at all in Russia only serves to undermine Putin’s credibility around the globe.”

    It's almost like no harsh words have been said at all!

  • Almanian!||

    HRC = "Honda Racing Corp" MotoGP, World Superbike, AMA before it totally sucked. I have an HRC jacket...

    Oh - this is another group. Never mind.

  • ||

    Some Christian group used an identical logo as the HRC (the yellow equal sign on a blue flag) for a while. My parents donated money to them and got return address labels with the sign on it.

    Watching them use them for something they were sending out I started laughing. After they found out why they threw everything away and started over. It was gratifying.

  • Almanian!||

    that's teh awsum

  • Tonio||

    So, RC, man enough to issue a retraction?

  • R C Dean||

    There's one. I'm sure there's others.

    I'm just saying that its interesting that their high-profile efforts have been directed against corporations, rather than the government responsible.

    It would be an interesting article: here's how leading gay rights groups have responded to the Sochi Olympics: X statements attacking the private sector, and Y statements attacking the government.

    Maybe Y would be more than X, but honestly, I'd be surprised. Let's find out, shall we?

  • Tonio||

    You weasel with the best of them, RC.

  • ||

    And if they were putting their energy, screaming into the wind to change Russian politics directly, you could just chide activists for wasting their energy on impotent rage.

    Americans don't have much of a foothold for making a difference in Russian politics. Leveraging whatever domestic economic muscle they can, such as the American companies pouring money into Sochi, where the gay community has been actively driven away for the Olympics is about as much of a difference as they're going to make.

  • GILMORE||

    Well, I'm glad Russia solved all its other problems such that their attitude towards gays is the only thing anyone in the news thinks is worth talking about.

  • Almanian!||

    Talking about anything else would be gay.

    DO TRY TO KEEP UP, GILMORE.

    *walks off in a swishy manner*

  • mr simple||

    It would be helpful if you could post the ordered list of problems so we can know when to care about what.

  • GILMORE||

    I don't know, ask an expert, like ="Human Rights in Russia"

    http://hro.rightsinrussia.info/hro-org

    'Being gay' is apparently fairly low on their current list of complaints.

    perhaps noteworthy = its still *illegal* to be gay in a number of Allied counties, like India...

    http://www.foxnews.com/world/2.....l-conduct/

    ... or Indonesia, or Saudi Arabia, or most of Africa...

    But I think what's most important is that this Olympic Games be MOAR all-gay-rights all the time. Because the Olympics Wasn't Already Gay Enough.

  • ||

    Because the Olympics Wasn't Already Gay Enough.

    Just wait until the summer Olympics, they crank the gay up to 11. Until they take Greco-Roman out...then the summer olympics and I are going to have a serious problem.

    I do agree, Russia is nosediving from a human rights perspective generally and the pressure being put on gays is just a small part of that, but I think some of it has to do with the surprising amount of progress we've seen in the west over the last 30 years and the speed with which the situation has deteriorated in Russia over the last 5. It's a stark comparison.

    I think that's also why Uganda and Nigeria stand out while people don't talk as much about the Middle East (where nobody expects things to have improved for the gays). India has gotten a lot of attention though.

  • GILMORE||

    "I think some of it has to do with the surprising amount of progress we've seen in the west over the last 30 years and the speed with which the situation has deteriorated in Russia over the last 5. It's a stark comparison."

    Absolutely agree.

    I think there is a tad of naiveté about the respective evolution of quasi-western and non-western cultures relative to the Western World. Things aren't going to leapfrog overnight from Violent Persecution of homosexuals to 'Equal Rights' and Will & Grace in 36 languages, 'pressure' from counties participating in the Olympics be damned.

    Being especially cynical today, I'd probably point out that most of the harrumphing and crying foul about Russia is really more about LGBT issues being maintained in the forefront for a domestic Western audience... its not really about changing 'Russia' so much as it is using the convenience of a Media blitz on Russia to highlight a domestic-issue. We Put the Gay in the Olympics because dammnit, it SELLS. Human interest stories are what make the Olympics a draw for female viewers, who really drive new ad revenue for sports.

    Yes, I said I was especially cynical today. It was the fucking D.C. fire department that did it.

  • Tonio||

    Well, groups like HRC really don't have the muscle to affect Russian internal policy. But they can try. And they can also use those incidents to shame the worst of the USA Socons and their apologists.

  • ||

    Cynical, but probably not wide of the mark. There are lucrative donor pools to tap and as things get better for gays in the US those should start drying up. That has to be terrifying for these lobby groups. So far only (AFAIK) Love Makes a Family (Connecticut) has done the honorable thing and disbanded after they achieved their goals.

    What happened with the DCFD?

  • GILMORE||

    Speaking of 'lucrative'...

    ... I am guessing that sometime in the near future we will encounter a 'scandal' of an Olympic athlete from some semi-obscure nation who launches into the public eye when he/she shares their story of having to grow up gay in the face of such widespread cultural conservatism but they OVERCAME and then won the bronze in ()!@#*$ rollerblading or something and now they're on a box of Wheaties and appearing on Rosie O'Donnell when GASP!! expose! They're not really gay at all! spouse comes forward demanding alimony, their children are embarrassed, Wheaties doesn't know what to do, the TV movie deal gets scrapped....

    Basically, "JT Leroy meets Borat", sort of.

  • Tonio||

    Gilmore, what are you blathering on about?

  • Tonio||

    Someone walked into a DC fire station and reported a medical emergency literally across the street. The firemen said they couldn't respond until they had been officially dispatched.

  • ||

    The firemen said they couldn't respond until they had been officially dispatched.

    That's fucking terrible.

  • R C Dean||

    Union rules. Waddayagonnado?

  • Tonio||

    No, no, Gilmore, the gays are the root of their problem. If they didn't have to be constantly vigilant about homosexual child molesters they'd be able to have nice things.

  • Tonio||

    Gilmore, real people are being beaten up and killed for being who they are. Some of us take that seriously.

  • GILMORE||

    Tonio =

    What we have here is a failure to communicate.

  • GILMORE||

    Also = look into the JT Leroy charade. It might better explain to you what I'm on about.

  • Almanian!||

    Yeah, not glad I clicked on that video. I imagine there's much worse, but that was plenty disturbing enough.

    Fuck you, Russian homophobes. Hope you choke to death on your own blood.

  • Swiss Servator, Befehl!||

    Hand a few AKs to their victims and that just might happen...

  • ||

    That noise you hear is John jerking-off to the video posted.

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