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Russian Anti-Gays Think Outside The Homophobic Box

11moscow-600-1.jpg
Quite a quaint scene you see above. Unfortunately, as we all know, it’s rare to see such open displays of Russian faggotry.

Russian homophobes certainly aren’t shy. They definitely made their presence known during Moscow’s bloody gay pride. And they raised more eyebrows when they announced they were going to wash a river to rid it of so-called gay pollutants.

Their park patrols, however, may be the most insidious of their plots against the gays. As we reported, anti-gay youths have been patrolling a local “cruising” area in an effort to reclaim their public space. While on the surface these sentinels may appear to be simply homophobes, NY Times puts the rise of Russian homophobia in a larger context.

While religion and social morals may be one of the driving forces behind anti-gay activities, NY Times suggests a larger ideological force:

The violence suggested a parallel between hostility toward gay men and lesbians and violence directed at ethnic minorities in Russia, where a current of xenophobia has grown since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Igor S. Kon, a Russian sociologist specializing in homosexuality, suggested in a recent article that antigay attitudes in Russia belie a broader distrust of society’s marginal groups.

“Homophobia is just a litmus test,” Mr. Kon said in a telephone interview. He said events like the attempted demonstration in May served as “a pretext for the mobilization of ultranationalist forces.”

Just as homophobia grows in Russia, so too do other political forces – especially among the youth, who have been inoculated by President Vladimir Putin’s Ideological Department of Nashi. This department, according to the Grey Lady, follows Putin like a political god.

While this may be a good thing on some levels – fighting skin heads, for example – it may prove dangerous when dealing with gay politics. Though he’s never explicitly come out against gays, Putin lends his support to Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who has described gays as “satanic” and attempted to ban the aforementioned Moscow pride.

If these young men and women – who claim to be 10,000 strong, and growing – join forces with out nationally-inclined groups, there could be trouble. The powder keg’s already there – the rights loathes gays and the gays are actually fighting back. Some wily gays have already resisted the park patrols – and it seems more are joining the fun.

In one incident, someone fired on the patrol group with an air gun, hitting a person in the neck, several witnesses said. Though the police refused to comment, several members of the patrol accused gay people of organizing an intimidation campaign.

Whatever the truth of the accusations, more outspoken groups have set up an unofficial protection service for the Georgiyevtsy, and on most nights, young men with shaved heads and army boots now greatly outnumber the patrol’s founders. As their movement grows, so does the specter of more violence.

Just before 10 o’clock one night in June, the Orthodox youths were barely visible on the square amid a throng of well-built Russian men, most no older than 25, standing in loose formation around the chapel. One, Simon V. Gruzinsky, dressed in black with an orange beard, said he came to recapture the square for what he called normal Russians.

“There’s a great summer feel to the place,” he said, smiling. “You could say we’re preparing for battle.”

You could say that, but we really hope you won’t…

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Jul 11, 2007
Tagged: , , , ,
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