Sunday, July 7, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Anti-Gay Hysteria in Russia ‘Analogous’ to Anti-Jewish Hysteria in Nazi Germany, St. Petersburg Group Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 7 – “Hysteria around the propaganda of homosexuality [in the Russian Federation today] has become an analogue to the hysteria about the Jewish question in Nazi Germany,” according to the Free Petesburg internet movement, which points to as yet unpunished attacks by rightwing groups on LGBT activists in the northern capital.

            In an online appeal to the liberal Yabloko Party yesterday, the Free Petersburg group argued that “a dangerous situation” had arisen in the city because “radical ultra-right marginals have begun attacks on LGBT activists,” attacks that “remain unpunished” and therefore are likely to “be repeated” (

            The group suggested that the authorities are not addressing the problem “for one simple reason: discord in society works to their benefit,” allowing them to play one group against another and thus maintain their own power.  But such attacks and the policies which allow them are extremely dangerous.”

            Indeed, the group said that what is going on in Russia today with regard to homosexuality recalls what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany, an obvious “analogy” which most Russians do not see because they know far too little about what happened 80 years ago in that country. But their ignorance “does not make the analogy any less true.”

Abroad, the group continued, “St. Petersburg and Russia as a whole will continue to suffer a loss in their reputations” as a result of such street actions and such policies. Petersburg, it noted, already is being called “the former cultural capital,” and the worse this situation will become “if we do not stop this immediately.”

To achieve that goal, the Free Petersburg movement said, it seeks to unite with the Yabloko Party and form an Anti-Fascist Front,” one based on a recognition that the Kremlin’s policy of setting one group against another – a classic example of “’divide and rule’” – “is directed exclusively to [its] retention of power.”

Ever more people in Russia recognize this and the dangers it poses for them and their country, the group continued, and “among such people are represenatives of the LGBT community and its supporters who are showing albeit not yet massive but exceptional courage in defending their rights.”

Today, the St. Petersburg group said, “the Yabloko Party is not devoting particular attention” to these developments even though the situation in St. Petersburg provides it with “a rare chance to become the single ‘legal’ channel for the civil society tht is coming into existence” and “to lead” that society in the city’s parliament.

If Yabloko agrees to form such an anti-fascist front, to engage in street actions, and to work in legislative bodies, it will win electoral support, the group said. Moreover, it will help with “the struggle against a very real danger” by focusing the attention of Russians “on the current course” of the Kremlin toward “state Nazism.”

            Such a front, the St. Petersburg group suggested, would have as “its goal the overturning of anti-legal laws” such as those about adoptions, defense of believers’ feelings, NGO registration, bans on internet sites, and homosexual propaganda as well as helping Yabloko to “become one of the main moving forces” of Russian civil society. 

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