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LGBT rights in Russia

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Russia has neither legislation against gay people nor anti-discrimination laws. Homosexuality was first decriminalised in 1917, re-criminalized in 1933, and then decriminalized again 1993 with an "equal" age of consent at the same time.

Tsarist RussiaEdit

Under Tsarist rule homosexuals were commonly persecuted and arrested. Official Tsarist policy in a country dominated heavily by conservative religion, was that homosexuality was a moral sin and was to be punished.

Some center-left people, including Marxists and socialists, spoke for decriminalization. Many socialists however, followed mainstream sentiment on the issue. Nevertheless, laws criminalizing consensual homosexual relations came to an end after the Russian Revolution of 1917.

After the RevolutionEdit

After the Russian Revolution in 1917 the Communist Party officially abolished all the old Tsarist laws, although these laws were still retained as a guideline where they had not been explicitly revoked.[1] This included the prohibition on homosexuality. However, prosecutions of male homosexuals did still occur, notably among Orthodox clergy.[2] Under the criminal code of 1922 and 1926, homosexual relations between consenting adults were legalized. Experts on Soviet law note that despite this, homosexual behavior in Soviet Georgia, Central Asia and Uzbek was treated as a criminal act throughout the 1920s. Moreover, in Azerbaijan in 1923, sodomy was made illegal, and then in Uzbekistan in 1926, and Turkmenistan in 1927.[3] Some official Soviet documents during this era spoke of homosexuality as a condition that should not be treated as a crime but rather a sickness that could be cured."[4]

Soviet UnionEdit

Soviet delegates were sent to the German Institute For Sexual Research, and at international conferences on human sexuality they advocated the legalization of homosexuality. In Soviet Russia, Mikhail Kuzmin and other gay poets and writers were free to publish works with homosexual themes until 1929, but the Communist Party under Joseph Stalin then made it clear that homosexuality was not a topic for public consumption. Russian gay men and women that wanted a position in government had to marry a person of the opposite sex. In 1933, Stalin introduced a new criminal code that made homosexuality a crime punishable by five years of hard labor. The Soviet government treated homosexuality as crime against the state akin to espionage.[5]

Until the 1980s, gays and lesbians were routinely forcibly committed to hospitals for conversion therapy, which involved several months of psychotropic drugs.[citation needed]

Post-SovietEdit

On May 27, 1993, homosexual acts between consenting males were legalized, and since 1999 homosexuality no longer is included on the list of mental disorders in Russia. In 2002, Gennady Raikov, who led a conservative pro-government group in the State Duma, suggested outlawing homosexual acts, but his proposal faced fierce resistance from the Russian gay community and was abandoned.

In February 2006, Grand Mufti Talgat Tadzhuddin was quoted as saying about Moscow gay pride marchers, "If they come out on to the streets anyway they should be flogged. Any normal person would do that - Muslims and Orthodox Christians alike..."[6] Days later, one of Russia's Chief Rabbis, Berl Lazar, joined Tadzhuddin in condemning the march in saying that it "would be a blow for morality", but he didn't go as far as saying that marchers should be beaten.[7]

In late April and early May 2006, protestors blockaded some popular gay clubs in Moscow. After initial complaints that police had failed to intervene, later blockade attempts were met with arrests.[8]

In May 2006, a gay rights forum was held in Moscow. An accompanying march was banned by the mayor in a decision upheld by the courts. Some activists tried to march despite the ban and attempted to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. This act and the presence of non-Russian activists aroused a nationalist reaction in addition to a religious condemnation of homosexuality, leading to the presence of both neo-Nazi groups and Orthodox protesters threatening the gay activists. According to the BBC, anti-march protestors beat the marchers, and about 50 marchers and 20 protestors were arrested when riot police moved in to break up the conflict.[9]

At a press conference on February 1, 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin was asked for his opinion on homosexuality in the midst of a row over the decision by Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov to ban a gay rights parade in Moscow. Putin said: "With regards to what the heads of regions say, I normally try not to comment. I don’t think it is my business.

My relation to gay parades and sexual minorities in general is simple – it is connected with my official duties and the fact that one of the country’s main problems is demographic. (Applause.) But I respect and will continue to respect personal freedom in all its forms, in all its manifestations."[10][11]

On May 27, 2007, a gay rights demonstration banned by Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov, who had earlier branded it as "satanic", was held in Moscow again and for the second year running degenerated into violent clashes with anti-gay extremists. For the second time police failed to protect gay rights activists. Italian MP Marco Cappato was kicked by an anti-gay activist and then detained when he demanded police protection. British gay rights veteran Peter Tatchell and Russian gay leader Nikolay Alexeyev were detained as well.[12][13]

On June 1, 2008, gay demonstrators in Moscow again attempted to hold a gay parade. Some 13 Orthodox opposers were held by police for violent actions against protesters.

Support for gay marriage in Russia is at 14% [1]

ReferencesEdit

Moscow Gay Pride

  1. Hazard, John N. "Unity and Diversity in Socialist Law". Law and Contemporary Problems, vol. 30, No. 2, Unification of Law, Spring 1965, p. 271.
  2. Healey, Dan. Homosexual Desire in Revolutionary Russia: The Regulation of Sexual and Gender Dissent. University of Chicago Press, 2001, p. 118.
  3. Healey, Dan. "Masculine purity and 'Gentlemen's Mischief': Sexual Exchange and Prostitution between Russian Men, 1861-1941". Slavic Review. Vol. 60, No. 2 (Summer, 2001), p. 258.
  4. Dan Healey GLQ 8:3 Homosexual Existence and Exisitng Socialism New Light on the Repression of Male Homosexuality in Stalin's Russia p. 349 - 378 2002
  5. Dan Healey GLQ 8:3 Homosexual Existence and Exisitng Socialism New Light on the Repression of Male Homosexuality in Stalin's Russia p. 349–378 2002
  6. Kim Murphy (2006-05-26). Gay Pride Parade Polarizes Moscow. Los Angeles Times.
  7. "Russian Chief Rabbi Echoes Muslim Leader in Protesting Gay Pride in Moscow", Moscow News, 2006-02-16. 
  8. Moscow Gay Club Blockades. GayRussia.ru (2006-05-02).
  9. "Banned Moscow gay rally broken up", BBC News, 2007-05-27. 
  10. Transcript of Press Conference with the Russian and Foreign Media, February 1, 2007
  11. Moscow Pride Banned Again.
  12. Arrests at Russian gay protests, BBC News, May 27, 2007.
  13. Eggs and punches at Russia gay march by Mike Levy, BBC News, May 27, 2007.

External linksEdit

Template:LGBT rights in Europede:Homosexualität in Russland es:Homosexualidad en Rusia nl:Homoseksualiteit in Rusland pl:Sytuacja prawna i społeczna osób LGBT w Rosji

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