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"You have to start improving yourself to improve Russia"

I spoke to four Russian gay men on discrimination, rights and Vladimir Putin. Here's what they said. 

Depoliticising protests in Armenia

Years of social and environmental protests in Armenia have proven one thing — our demands must be political in nature. Русский

Russia's porn stars aren't just hot, they're also ostracised and exploited

Russia’s porn stars may have a reputation on the net, but they enjoy little in terms of rights and respect offline.

 


How can we politicise labour rights in Georgia?

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In Georgia, violations of workers’ rights, low pay and negligent treatment by private corporations continue to go unnoticed. We need to politicise the world of work.

 

Is liberalism the future for Russia?

For years, ‘liberal’ has been a dirty word in Russia, a shorthand for everything undesirable. Yet state propaganda is having an unexpected side-effect: the rehabilitation of liberalism. 

#DontFuckWithUs: labour reforms and the progressive agenda in Ukraine

Ukrainian society’s extreme desire for reforms is mixing with conservative populism. The result is a dangerous cocktail. Русский

 

Why I didn’t vote in the Ukrainian local elections

Anton Dmytriiev, a journalist based in Kyiv, believes the recent elections in his country were pointless. на русском языке

Georgia’s grotesque democracy

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Neoliberal dogma has taken root and, ahead of parliamentary elections next year, our political elites have nothing else to offer us.

Why Ukraine needs its own Harvey Milk

Daniele Rumolo.jpgOn 25 October, Ukraine will vote in local elections where not a single openly gay candidate will stand. The country’s LGBT movement and public conservatism are both to blame. на русском языке

The struggle for progressive politics in Ukraine

The conflict over Kyiv's LGBT Pride march reveals the risks of conservative populism in Ukraine. 

 

What is threatening ‘traditional family values’ in Russia today?

Russia’s elite has played the cultural conservative card for several years now, and events in Ukraine mean that Russia’s reactionary bent is likely to continue.

 

The sex change commission in Ukraine

Transgender citizens in Ukraine have good reason to think that they are all but invisible. Even the EU is not pushing for inclusiveness; and then there is the sex change commission… на русском языке

The EU says no to gay rights in Ukraine

The EU has renewed talks with the Kyiv government on closer ties, but in its zeal to promote visa-free travel it has dropped gay rights from the agenda.

 

Russia's anti-gay own goal

Russia’s law outlawing ‘gay propaganda’ has brought into the open a subject that was almost unmentionable before. And ordinary Russians have turned out to be less homophobic than anyone imagined, says Sergey Khazov. 

Russia needs its own Stonewall: see Igor Yasin's contribution here

Russia needs its own Stonewall, not Western sanctions

As Western sympathizers call for a boycott on the Sochi Olympics, Igor Yasin wonders if this is quite the best way to help Russia’s LGBT community win their fight for equality. 

Russia's anti-gay own goal: see Sergey Khazov's contribution here

Life in the Chechen closet

Umar is 25 and from Gudermes in Chechnya. He is gay. What can the future hold for him in the macho, dzhigit, society he inhabits? He talked to Kseniya Leonova, the first time he has told anyone his story.

A Different Childhood

What is the experience of growing up gay in Russia? oDRussia publishes extracts of Sergey Khazov's semi-autobiographical novel — longlisted for a literary award in 2010, but deemed  'too politically sensitive' by publishers to make it into print. 

Do Russians give a damn about homosexuality?

Popular support is usually one of the reasons offered in support of Russia’s new anti-gay laws. To what extent does polling actually support such assertions? Alexander Kondakov presents the latest research data. 

From the shadows into the light – and back again

Poet and performer Olga Krause traces her life as a lesbian in Russia—from Soviet times, when the word itself was barely known, through increasing acceptance, and back to a newly violent and hostile environment. 

Kill or cure?

In Russia, homophobia is not just an attitude, but government policy, with new legislation reinforcing traditional hostility to sexual minorities and violence against gay people as common as ever. Svetlana Reiter discussed the situation with psychologist Vladimir Shakhidzhanian.

Rainbow Russia

What is life like for gay men and women in Russia? Sergey Khazov looks at the country's gay infrastructure, and discovers a very fragmented picture.

Brokeback in Belarus

Valery Sidorenko and Sergei Ostapchuk, both tractor drivers, live together happily in a remote village in the Grodinsky region of Belarus. Alyona Soiko travelled there to meet them and hear their story.

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