Russian situation in schools and for LGBT youth deteriorates

Russian situation in schools and for LGBT youth deteriorates

So-called immoral behavior

The Russian situation of LGBT teenagers and of LGBT teachers has further been threatened in recent months. In December, a lesbian teacher was fired after accusations of so-called immoral action by a homophobic activist. In January, the founder of the LGBT youth website Children 404 was convicted of propaganda for non-traditional relations.
On Dec. 8, 2014, the director of School 565 in St. Petersburg fired the music teacher because she belongs to the LGBT group. He based the dismissal on information about her private life. This information was given by Timur Isayev Bulatov, an anti-gay activist who claims to have gotten 29 LGBT school teachers fired. He wrote a letter of complaint to the school saying, Its a crime to allow such teachers as around children. Communication with such teachers wont teach children good behavior, it wont give them a well-rounded view of the world, and it wont give them the ability to respect the family and Russian tradition. Isayev also showed the school photos of the teacher with her partner from her profile on a Russian social networking site. He provided the school with other evidence of her orientation, including the fact that she had liked Russian singer Zemfira. According to the Russian news site Meduza, Zemfira is believed to be a lesbian.
The Moscow Times reported that lawyers from the Russian LGBT advocacy group Way Out, filed a lawsuit the teachers behalf. They demanded that the teacher be reinstated and compensated for wages lost during her forced absence from the school. They also supported her claim by numerous teaching certificates and rewards she received.

So-called propaganda

On January 23, journalist Elena Klimova, the founder of the online LGBT youth support group Chrildren 404 ( was convicted of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors. In 2013, Vitaly Milonov (the main author of the anti-LGBT law in St. Petersburg that became the basis for the national legislation) filed an official complaint against Children 404. However, that case was dismissed in February 2014. Despite this, Roskomnadzor (Russias state agency for media oversight) opened a new case against Klimova in November. Roskomnadzor charged that Children 404 could cause children to think that to be gay means to be a person who is brave, strong, confident, persistent, who has a sense of dignity and self-respect. Obviously the media institute meant that LGBT children are cowards, weak, insecure, lacks and without dignity but did not want to appear to be so abusive of children. Last month, Judge Lyudmila Pedan refused to postpone the January 23 hearing, even though Klimovas lawyer could not attend the hearing for medical reasons. The magistrates decision violated the Russian Constitution, which guarantees the basic right to qualified legal assistance. The judge declared Elena Klimova guilty of propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors, and fined her 50,000 rubles (approximately $750 US). Klimova plans to appeal the sentence.

Campaign against dissenters labelled as foreign agents

The conviction of Children 404 and the hunt for LGBT teachers are part of the accelerating campaign by bot the government and fascist gangs against independent voices in Russia, in including nongovernmental organizations, journalists, social media, and teachers that do not fit the ultra/orthodox view. In 2012 the Duma adopted a law requiring NGOs that accept funding from abroad to register as foreign agents. In January the Duma approved the first reading of new legislation banning undesirable foreign organizations altogether.
Sergei Nikitin, who is Amnesty Internationals Moscow Office Director, commented: This law is another sobering sign of how the Russian authorities are quickly closing in on fundamental freedoms and the work of independent civil society groups in the country. Sadly, these freedoms can no longer be taken for granted in Russia.


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