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Hostile Brutes with the Mentality of Nazi Racism - Stephen Fry’s View of Saint Petersburg Politicians, Russia.

As local authorities in the city of Saint Petersburg gear up to pass criminalising legislation which prohibits the promotion of so called "sodomy, lesbianism, bisexualism and transgenderism to minors” reaction to the measures are reverberating around the world and harsh criticism from all quarters is gathering pace.

Leading British actor, comedian and writer, Stephen Fry, was among the many to express shock and outrage at the abysmal law. “Hell's teeth, he wrote on his Twitter feed, “Something must be done to stop these fantastical monsters. Will talking about Tchaikovsky be banned?” In a further display of support and show of solidarity with the Russian LGBT community Stephen Fry wrote an address to the Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival, based in Saint Petersburg:

He writes:

“I send fraternal greetings of love, sympathy and support to all the LGBT citizens of St Petersburg and Russia. That the land of Tchaikovsky, the great nation that gave us so much immortal and influential in art, the novel, drama and free thinking should allow itself to stoop so low to barbarism and hatred against those who only wish to live and love in dignity like all people, sickens and saddens my heart. Who is "against nature"? There are of scientifically verified examples of same-sex activity amongst hundreds of different species of animal. Only one species has ever been found to be prejudiced, bigoted and homophobic. It is homophobia that is unnatural. It is a sign of fear, bullying, scape-goating and self-hatred. It is no different from Nazi racism or any other kind of brutal, ignorant and degraded behaviour. The courage of Russia's LGBT community astounds me. At the risk of broken bones they continue to stand up against hostile brutes. I encircle them with a hug of love, fellow-feeling, sympathy and admiration.”

The implementation of the law prevents any individual or organization to promote what is described as “propaganda of homosexuality”. Those deemed to be involved in the: “purposeful activity and uncontrolled dissemination of public information” relating to homosexuality will incur hefty fines: 5,000 rubles (125 Euros) for an individual, 50,000 rubles (1,250 Euros) for someone in a public position and 500,000 rubles (12,500 Euros) for a legal entity.

The initiative would be a major blow for the LGBT movement in Russia as the city is home to Side by Side LGBT International Film Festival, LGBT Organization Coming Out and LGBT Network who have all been at the forefront of fighting LGBT rights in Russia. A wide range of activities, such as demonstrations, speeches and events on LGBT human rights as well as provision of information about or to LGBT people within the public space are all under threat.

The legislation, which has been forced through without any public discussion and has no scientific or medical grounding, contributes directly to spread of hatred and increase of xenophobia in society. It is a direct attack on the members of the LGBT community in Russia and violates the fundamental human rights to freedom of association, freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression which are enshrined both in the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as European Convention of Human Rights.

This continuing onslaught against LGBT people by politicians in Saint Petersburg can only lessen even further Russia’s already appalling record on human rights and democracy.


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