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A new documentary, ‘Young and Gay in Putin’s Russia’ released by Vice in association with Stonewall shines a light on the daily difficulties growing up gay in Russia.
Following the passing of Russia’s federal anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law in June last year, there has been an increase in suicides among young gay people who can no longer seek support, and homophobic attacks and murders in the country are on the rise.
To expose this state sanctioned homophobia, Vice news reporter MilÃ¨ne Larsson travelled to Moscow to speak to those most affected on the ground. Joining gay-rights protesters clashing with police outside the Sochi Winter Olympic headquarters, she hears how they do not want the West to boycott the Games.
Larsson interviews Russian gay rights activist and founder of Moscow Gay Pride Nikolay Alexeyev, who, along with a fellow activist, was the first person in Russia to be charged and convicted in court under the federal anti-gay ‘propaganda’ law.
The film also speaks to various young members of Moscow’s LGBT community and leading gay rights activists, including Katya Samutsevich of Pussy Riot and journalist and author Masha Gessen; explores the vigilante groups hunting down homosexuals over the internet to exact their own violent forms of justice; and interviews the legislator behind the new law, as well as one of Putin’s spin-doctors.
Says Sam Dick, Stonewall’s Head of Policy: ‘When Vice showed us the film, we were extremely impressed by their sensitive and detailed portrayal of what is a very complex issue, and that they spoke extensively to LGB&T activists on the ground in Russia.
‘The film touches upon a number of critical issues that Stonewall is campaigning around and we feel it should help raise awareness of the situation in the context of wider human rights abuses that affect the whole country.’
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