Who says nothing has really changed in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union? Vladimir Putin may not have gotten the memo, but clearly others have, including some journalists like those at Novaya Gazeta. Novaya Gazeta, which translates to New Gazette, was founded by its journalists, who own 51% of the paper, and former Soviet Premier,Mikhail Gorbachev, who used his Nobel Prize money to help set the paper up. He also, along with former State Duma Deputy Alexander Lebedev, owns the remaining 49% of the paper.
Elena Kostyuchenko, an activist and journalist with the Gazeta, has announced that unless the recent anti gay legislation is repealed and a plan to pass legislation which will allow the state to remove children from LGBT homes is abandoned, she will out all closeted members of the State Duma who voted for either bill. She has vowed to keep secret the names she uncovers of those closeted gays who voted against the law, but that all who hypocritically voted to enact the laws will be named.
This is a very gutsy move on Kostyuchenko’s part, as, since the founding of the Novaya Gazeta, four of its journalists have been assassinated for their activist stances. While things may have changed somewhat since the demise of the old Soviet Union, Russia, where the Soviet Union was founded, still remains a very controlled society as witnessed by Putin’s stubbornly clinging to his old KGB methodology of arresting and jailing dissenters.Kostyuchenko was arrested just this past May for her participation in a gay pride event in Moscow.
She began her campaign by offering her email address on her twitter account and soliciting anyone with information, letters, photographs, etc. showing the LGBT activities of Duma members so that she could share that knowledge, and promising that the information would be used to expose those with the hypocritical temerity to vote for this legislation. She calls publishing the names of Duma Deputies who vote for the law a “nuclear bomb” and says that it should be used only as a “last resort,” but said that after State Duma deputy Alexei Zhuravlev proposed the bill which would remove children from the homes of gay and lesbian parents, “such a time has come.”
Zhuravlev has defended his proposed legislation saying that these parents are no different than drug addicts and child abusers, and that all three groups are unfit to raise children. Since this brave woman obviously disagrees with him, as well she should, Mr. Zhuravlev should be praying that none of the skeletons in his closet have been ferreted out by Ms. Kostyuchenko lest he find himself in a very embarrassing position.