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How Homophobia Can Boost Your Career

Published: January 17, 2014 (Issue # 1793)


Popular actor and director Ivan Okhlobystin made headlines in December when he suggested that Russia should solve its "homosexual problem" by burning all gay people alive.

Notably, neither the Russian Orthodox Church nor the Kremlin condemned the statement. In addition, the Prosecutor General's Office showed no interest in charging him with extremism or inciting hatred toward people based on their membership in a social group crimes that it has vigorously prosecuted in cases not involving gays.

Okhlobystin, a former Russian Orthodox priest who briefly flirted with the idea of running against Vladimir Putin for president in 2011, has not retracted or apologized for his remarks.

But he seems to have softened his position somewhat over the New Year holidays. Instead of killing homosexuals, Okhlobystin now seems content with just imprisoning them. Last week, he wrote an open letter to President Vladimir Putin, asking him to return a Soviet-era anti-sodomy law that would carry a maximum five-year sentence for all homosexuals.

In his open letter to Putin, Okhlobystin wrote that the gay propaganda law that Putin signed in June does not go far enough to battle "gay fascism." He has defined this fascism as a powerful and well-financed Western propaganda campaign that attempts to legitimize homosexuality and corrupt Russia's traditional foundations.

For added emphasis, Okhlobystin wrote that since the homosexual lifestyle is offensive to Orthodox believers, gays violate another law that Putin signed in July "offending the religious feelings of others," which carries a maximum three-year prison sentence.

If that weren't enough to convince Putin to imprison all homosexuals, Okhlobystin wrote, "Since sodomites can't have their own children [they] will be forced to increase their ranks by seducing and depraving straight kids."

In response, pro-Kremlin analyst Sergei Markov wrote in a blog last week that it is not homosexuals' fault but their great misfortune that they are attracted to the same sex. Russians should show mercy toward them and try "to cure them of their disease, not send them to prison."

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

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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