If you want a sense of the extent homophobia is entering Russian public life, here is what Dmitrii Kiselev, who’s wikipedia page describes him as a “Russian journalist and fascist” said on his show “Historical Process,” which airs on Russia state channel Rossiia. Keep in mind, these comments were made back in April 2012 a year before the law against “gay propaganda” was passed. The clip is only now making the rounds in Russian blogsphere. Given statements like this on state television, its no surprise violence against homosexuals in Russia is on the rise.
“For my mind, penalizing gays for homosexual propaganda among teenagers is not enough. We need to ban blood donation from them – and sperm donations too. And in case of a car accident, we should burn or bury the heart of the deceased seeing that it is unfit to continue the existence of anyone’s life.”
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By Sean — 7 years ago
When the show approached me (as a result of Kevin’s recommendation) I was wary of being on the boob tube. Having my mug plastered across the airwaves has never been a desire, and having to speak off the cuff is always intimidating. But I acquiesced when they offered to have me on via Skype. Plus the fact that Kevin was in studio was certainly an incentive since he has my mad respect.
Still I was a bit uneasy and became more so when I saw the Stream’s post about the upcoming show: “Russia’s Seliger 2011: Fueling Fascism?” I have no problem with the wanton use of the F-word, unless it ends with -ism. I was so worried that I would be asked “Is Nashi fascist?” that I did a quick review of Robert Paxton’s essay, “The Five Stages of Fascism” to make sure my conceptual Ps and Qs were straight to explain my reply of an emphatic “No.” Thankfully, the question never came. And when the issue of Nashi and nationalism came up, Kevin handled it superbly.
All in all, I though it was quite a good show. The questions were good and there was space for adding complexity. It was definitely a pleasure to participate, and I would do it again if asked.
For those who didn’t catch the broadcast here are the show in two segments:Post Views: 551
By Sean — 5 years ago
This week’s Russia! Magazine column, “Russia’s Real Middle Class,”
When protests erupted in Moscow in December 2011, pundits held them up as the Russian middle class finally finding its political voice. Press reports, like in the New York Times, described “well traveled and well mannered” throngs of “young urban professionals” clad in “hipster glasses” denouncing fraudulent elections, corruption, and Putin. The Times, like many others, emphasized that the emergence of this newly politicized middle class was not without a measure of irony. They were the sons and daughters of the economic successes of very system they were protesting. Then as now the Russian middle class are viewed as the most revolutionary. They after all were fulfilling the historicist truism that “economic growth can inadvertently undermine autocratic rule by creating an urban professional class that clamors for new political rights.”And this assertion, too, is not without irony either. Journalists and pundits, who almost universally reject Marxist theories of revolution, still embrace one of Marx’s key maxims from the Manifesto: “The bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part.”
There are many problems with this historical teleology. Russia’s middle classes have yet to fulfill its historical mission. Its revolting ranks have atrophied as members of the so-called “creative class” have retreated back into hipsterdom. Many, of course, will point to Putin’s heavy fist as the main culprit. They would perhaps be a quarter right. The government crackdown, an aimless opposition, and the banality of street rallies have all worked in concert to deflate the protests. But there’s another cause for Russia’s middle class political doldrums. The middle class aren’t the savvy upwardly mobile urban professionals desiring political change as many thought. Rather, the Russian middle class has stagnated economically, isn’t growing, and its ranks are being dominated by state bureaucrats and employees of the security organs. This class is not looking for change, but desires above all security and stability. Rather than remake Russia into their own image, this class likes things just as they are.
Image: M. Stulov/VedomostiPost Views: 532
By Sean — 10 years ago
The Exile is shutting down. Last night I met with my Russian publisher to “put one in its brain,” as George Romero’s humans would say. Except that putting this paper down is not so easy—imagine if Romero’s zombies had things like tax bills that can’t be ignored, debts to pay off, favors owed to other important zombies—because you never know when you’ll run into that zombie again.
The partners who’d financed us fled for the hills, leaving my publisher and me holding the debt-bomb in our hands. This is not an easy situation. As a rule, my publisher is unusually easy-going for a Muscovite, but he’s also quite large and intimidating—I mean Baltimore Ravens defensive end large. He also runs a massive nightclub, and, well, let’s just say that my publisher knows a lot of people, including a pal of his who runs the Rasputin Gentlemen’s Club, a multi-floor fleshpot that is everything a male wishes the Winchester Mystery House would have been: rooms that lead to everywhere, to desires and fantasies that you never even knew you had, and that you’ll never admit to the following morning. Rasputin is more than a strip-club and more than a Moscow institution: It’s the apex of a flesh-network, involving scores of smaller, lesser strip clubs that feed into Rasputin like minor league teams feeding into the major league club. For nearly five years, from 2002 to 2007, my newspaper’s office was located in the back of Rasputin’s sex club; when we’d order business lunches during work hours, strippers in see-through negligees and glass high-heels brought Borsch and Kotleti to our offices for a mere 40 rubles ($1.50), leading one American former editor to spasm in dangerous palpitation sweats.
Read on . . .Post Views: 493