These are some very sad times in Russia right now…
An attack against a lone protester by a group of veteran paratroopers was caught on video this week in St. Petersburg, all because he was standing in Palace Square holding a rainbow flag.
And THAT is now against the law in Russia!
The young man's name is Kirill Kalugin and his flag had words stitched into it that read, "This is propagating tolerance."
St. Petersburg is the city that first established Russia's new anti-gay legislation that bans the promotion of "non-traditional relationships" towards minors. President Vladimir Putin signed the bill into law in June.
"You don’t need to fall, stand up straight, explain what you’re doing, we’re calling the police!"
The attack continued with another soldier saying:
“What the f*ck were you thinking, showing up at Palace Square, f*ggot?”
When police arrived on scene, Kalugin was taken into custody but whether or not he was charged with any crime is unknown. Riot police were also called in however to arrest several paratroopers for their roles in the attack.
We can't imagine the fear being felt by Russian LGBT people right now. The country's anti-gay enactment comes just months before the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and many are left wondering whether the atmosphere in Russia will be safe for gay athletes competing in the games.
Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko said in a recent interview:
”No one is banning a sportsman with a non-traditional sexual orientation from going to Sochi. But if he goes out onto the street and starts to make propaganda, then of course he will be brought to responsibility.”
How do YOU think the US should handle the upcoming Olympic games and the current anti-gay legislation in Russia?