“Entry for faggots forbidden!” – Disturbing open homophobia in Russia

Sign in ‘Bread and Salt’ which reads: “Pidarasam wchod sapreschtschen”, or “Entry for child-molesting faggots forbidden”, Moscow, 2017

The sight of a sign in the shop window of the exclusive natural products store “Bread and Salt”, on the central Moscow business street Twerskaya-Jamskaya 7, robs a German tourist of breath. An inhuman sign with the caption “Entry for child-molesting faggots forbidden!” in a shop window on an elitist shopping street in Moscow is apparently acceptable and has no consequences for the perpetrator. This shocking manner in which human dignity is so publicly abused in Russia is new and disturbing. The International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) calls on the international community to increase the pressure on Russia to prevent a new hunt against gay people.

Russia has repeatedly been criticized for human rights violations against sexual minorities. On a sign in the window of the Moscow shop “Bread and Salt” is a caption reading “Entry for child-molesting faggots forbidden”. This despicable statement places homosexual men on par with pedophiles. The owner of the Moscow business is Hermann Sterligov, known to be strictly Russian-orthodox, reactionary, and a critic of the status of civilization. Sterigov has repeatedly received attention due to his uncompromising and hostile views against LGBT people. For example, in a television broadcast in 2010, he stated that all gays and lesbians should be killed, as the Bible says. He was never prosecuted for this.

An extermination campaign à la Sterligov has already been implemented in the Autonomous Republic of Chechnya, which belongs to Russia, in April of this year. Alleged gay men were kidnapped, tortured, and killed by Chechen security services. Ramsan Kadyrov and the Russian government denied the accusations confirmed by several human rights organizations. It was only when international pressure increased, that Putin promised investigations.

Although homosexuality has not been punishable in Russia since 1993, and has no longer been officially regarded a disease as of 1999, it is seen as abnormal and societally disruptive in the strictly orthodox eastern-Slavic society. Violence against gay men and women continues to rise, in incidences which are considered “normal”. A law came into effect in June 2013 which punishes any positive or neutral statements about homosexuality in public. The law violates both the principle of non-discrimination and the freedom of assembly and expression guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

LGBT-hostile attitudes are openly represented and advocated by the public and the Orthodox Church. In Germany, very little is reported about the atrocities in Chechnya. It seems as if these crimes were silently forgotten. Without international and public pressure, the situation for LGBT people in Russia will not change and Putin will most certainly not hold Kadyrov accountable, says ISHR Germany’s Eastern Europe expert, Dr. Carmen Krusch-Grün.

ISHR Germany

Hermann Sterligow, a Russian Orthodox Ex-Oligarch who issues hate speech against LGBTs. Source: Wikimedia