So I have been thinking that I want to trim down the areas I cover on LGBT rights news. I’m not running a magazine, and I just want to focus in on something a bit more limited. For years, I have been fascinated by Russia and the present countries of the former Soviet Bloc, and have decided that LGBT rights developments in Eastern Europe and the Russian Federation. In keeping with that tem, here is my first story following these parameters, and even better this story involves a bit of karma, my favorite….because I’m vengeful. 🙂
If you haven’t been following the news about what is happening with Russia and Ukraine, let me fill you in a bit. Basically Russia has annexed a portion of Ukraine, called Crimea. The Crimean Peninsula was a multi-ethnic region of Ukraine. Most of the peninsula is inhabited by ethnically Russian individuals, and a minority of Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians.
In February of this year a revolution occurred in Ukraine that ousted, the now former, President Viktor Yanukovich after he fled the country’s capital. An interim president, Oleksandr Turchynov, has been appointed to serve in Yunakovich’s place. Russia claims that Yanukovich was illegally impeached and continues to recognize him as the president of Ukraine. While Germany and the United States recognize Turchynov, the new president, as Ukraine’s current leader. Beginning in the end of February 2014, the Russian Federation began sending troupes in to take control of the Crimean Peninsula, and by the end of March the region was declared part of Russia and the Ukrainian military has left the territory. As Russians came in they told Ukrainian soldiers that they had the option to stay and become members of the Russian military, if not they were to exit the peninsula.
In response to the annexation, President Obama issued an executive order authorizing U.S. officials to freeze the American assets of Yelena Mizulina, a state Duma deputy, and six other Russian officials. Mizulina was the official who first introduced the gay propaganda ban bill to the government of Russia. “We have fashioned these sanctions to impose costs on named individuals who wield influence in the Russian government and those responsible for the deteriorating situation in Ukraine,” said the White House in a statement. Gay rights activists had previously encouraged the government of the United States to freeze the assets of Mizulina when she had passed the ban on LGBT propaganda through the Duma and right onto Putin’s desk where it was later signed into law in June 2013.
Russia’s ban on LGBT propaganda makes it a crime to even mention being gay in front of minors. The ban was actually an amendment to the law “On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development”. I am glad to see that Mizulina will say goodbye to some of her wealth, at least for the time being. Sadly, the government should not just be enforcing rights when it comes to borders, but more fundamental rights like who individuals have the right to consensually love.