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Russian Pride: Beginning and Aftermath

RG CoverOn May 25, 2013, gay Russians had a gay pride parade despite the legal ban against it. Sadly, the ban has been illegal for a century, and so would legally remain into effect until 2113 unless repealed by the legislative authorities in Russia. The European Union (EU) has declared such acts to be anti-human rights, and so likewise is against the ban. Russia, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, and the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church, does not seem to care what the EU thinks on the matter.

Personally, having studied Russian history in my undergraduate years, reminds me of the Czar-Church symbiotic relationship that neatly lasted for a thousand years. The Czar (Slavic for Caesar or Emperor) was the reigning king of all of Russia, and had the cooperation of the Russian Orthodox Church to guide it. This stopped when the atheist Bolsheviks (later became known as the Communist Party) took over, and the church lost its power and prestige. When the Soviet Union (Russia and its occupied nations) fell, the church regained its influence in the area.
Nikolai Aleksee, co-founder of the Moscow Pride, said this about this year’s pride parade on Queerty,

“If me or someone else is killed or injured in Moscow Pride on Saturday,”  “then the blood will also be on the hands of the Head of European Court of Human Rights and [its] judges.”RG1

They were told by Russian authorities that the local police may attack or arrest them. This is exactly what happened on the pride day, but with a twist. Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but homophobia is rampant in Russia and most of Eastern Europe. This is likely because the Eastern Orthodox Church has a strong presence in each of these countries, and the Russian Orthodox Church is a branch of it. Thirty people were arrested at parade, but the twist was that so was the Russian Orthodox attackers. The Orthodox attackers wore or held religious icons with them, which is considered very important in this religion. The gay pride parade people held banners saying “Homosexuality is no disease” and “Human rights are my pride” in the city of Kiev.
It is unknown what will happen to the gay Russians, or the Orthodox attackers. To display Russian “gay propaganda” imposes a fine of 16,000 dollars, and Russia is a poor country by US standards. In neighboring Ukraine, gays can be sentenced to prison for up to five  years. As of today, a sentence has not been released to the international media, but they were likely imposed with a fine, and may be sentenced to prison if they cannot pay it. We need to write to the Russian riot police detain gay activistsEuropean Union headquarters, and urge them to intervene for the human rights of these LGBTQ Russians.

This is the EU website:

Feel free to contact them as you desire. Email is an option for those who do not want use international mail or call long distance. We LGBTQ’s are a family and should support our brothers and sisters everywhere possible.


UPDATE: Since the time this story was written the gay activist have been let go.

About Joshua Spencer

I am a writer for the Gay Voice since April 2013. I have contributed book reviews for The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns and wrote for Child of God Online from 2007-10 as the primary writer. I published my first article in the Christian Union Witness titled "Coat of Many Colors" in 1998. I am a gay Christian, which probably sounds strange to some of you, but it is possible to be both, and I come from a liberal theological tradition. I've worked as a librarian for 4 years and a substitute teacher for 8 years. I have a BA in History and Anthropology and two Master of Education degrees. I'm currently working on a Mastery of Theology: Ethics degree and may pursue a PhD at some point in a social sciences field. I'm also working on publishing 2 books.

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