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Gay Laws Author Rejects Criticism

Published: March 14, 2012 (Issue # 1699)



  • Vitaly Milonov, the laws author.
    Photo: SERGEY CHERNOV / SPT

St. Petersburg Governor Georgy Poltavchenko signed into law a controversial bill against promoting sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism to minors Sunday, drawing a new wave of criticism from around the globe.

On Monday, the Human Rights Watch described Poltavchenkos failure to use his right of veto to stop this deplorable legislative initiative as profoundly disappointing and urged the prosecutors office of St. Petersburg to use its authority to insist that the city Legislative Assembly annul the law.

Criticism of the new law also came from the diplomatic quarters of St. Petersburg.

I am concerned that this legislation does not match Council of Europe guidelines on preventing discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people (LGBT), Gareth Ward, the U.K. Consul General, wrote in emailed comments this week.

I hope that St. Petersburg remains an open and welcoming city for all, and that the important activities of Russian LGBT organizations to support gay people will be able to continue.

The law will take effect on March 21, 10 days after its official publication.

The Legislative Assembly lawmaking committee chair, Vitaly Milonov, who authored the bill in November, dismissed the criticism.

Speaking by phone Tuesday, Milonov, a deputy for the United Russia party, said the bill was inspired by societys demands, though he did not mention any specific incidents.

If society believes that some model of behavior doesnt correspond to societys interests, then society reacts to it, Milonov said.

We will be very happy if this bill isnt applied even once, because its not directed against somebody specifically or in regard of a specific case, but it does outline certain additional rules of behavior toward minors.

Answering criticism from the LGBT rights organization Coming Outs chair Igor Kochetkov, Milonov argued that the law would not be used against the media, which, he said, is regulated by federal law.

It has nothing to do with Kochetkov, either if, of course, he doesnt go to a school and start talking about how wonderful it is to be a homosexual, he said.

[The law] will only affect childrens environments.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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