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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

Thursday, Aug. 28


Learn more about the citys upcoming municipal elections during the presentation of the project Road Map for the Municipal Elections being presented this evening in the conference hall on the third floor of Biblioteka at 21 Nevsky Prospekt. Steve Kaddins, a coordinator for Beautiful St. Petersburg, which gives residents an online forum to lodge complaints about infrastructure problems in the city, will be on hand to answer any questions. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is open to all.



Friday, Aug. 29


Park Pobedy will feature the sights and sounds of the world outside of Russia during the Open Art International Festival today. Taste foreign cuisine, learn how to make tea like the Chinese or relax in a hammock during the free event. Although entrance is free, you must register beforehand if you wish to attend.



Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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