Five members of the LGBT-community in the northwestern city of Murmansk are now pressing charges against what they consider to be a serious insult on state television.
“The TV-channel didn`t bother hiding the youngsters faces or changing their voices,” says Sergei Alekseenko, Head of the LGBT-community in Murmansk in a phone interview with BarentsObserver.
“It`s a serious burden to anyone. Imagine how it is for a gay teenager,” Alekseenko goes on.
According to him neither he, nor the youngsters, were told that the film would be shown on national television, as part of a talk show focusing on the Russian and foreign LGBT threat.
“Perverts” and “sodomites”
In a letter to the Murmansk prosecutor’s office, the LGBT community underlines that the term “homosexual” wasn`t mentioned once. Instead the host referred to gays as “perverts” or “sodomites,” in order to declare war against the LGBT community. Notable, the homosexual community in Russia was described as a threat that has to be defeated. Otherwise the number of homosexuals would increase. The TV host evidently suggested that the meteorite that exploded over Chelyabinsk in February was punishment brought upon Russia for tolerating gays.
Sequences out of context
The talk show started with a documentary claiming that a strong homosexual lobby in Europe is spending lots of money on campaigns in Russia, trying to persuade youngsters to take part in their abnormal life style.
Many sequences are taken directly from Dutch Kris Van der Veen`s documentary material. The young film director was arrested, together with his film crew, on a visit to Murmansk this summer. The four filmmakers were interrogated for nine hours accused for conducting homosexual propaganda on Russian soil, as they, evidently, had interviewed a minor.
“It is very upsetting for me to see that a journalist used the material the police stole from my hard drive to make this hateful reportage,” says Van der Veen to BarentsObserver. “I am worried about the people I interviewed. They are highly recognizable on national television,” he goes on, underlining that he never interviewed people under 18. “They all signed an agreement with name and date of birth, to secure the accuracy in this regard.”
Banned from entering Russia
Van der Veen and his crew were released after given a 3000 ruble (€68) fine each.
“They dropped the charges on homosexual propaganda. Instead they accused us of violating the visa regulations,” says Van der Veen. “As I spoke about human rights and LGBT rights at a seminar, I should have applied for a political visa rather than a cultural one.” Because of that the filmmaker is officially banned from entering Russia in a three year period.
Van der Veen says the aim of his documentary was to tell the stories of a few LGBT-people in Murmansk, the sister city of his hometown, Groningen, in the north of the Netherlands. The film crew came there just a couple of weeks after the new legislation banning homosexual propaganda became federal law on June 30th.
Portrayed as the devil
Van der Veen believes the Russian government is using the LGBT-question to distract the nation from bigger domestic problems.
“They are creating enemies in order to consolidate power,” says Van der Veen. “In the TV show I was portrayed as the devil himself. My eyes were made red on a black and white photo. This is tendentious propaganda from the state television,” says Van der Veen.