Thursday, September 5, 2013

Goths and the New Russian Reality


Sometime around 2008, word began spreading around the internet and elsewhere that the Russian Duma, which is that country's legislative body, was in the process of passing legislation designed to ban forms of Goth and Emo music as well as Goth fashion styles from schools and public buildings.
At the time, Russian authorities were allegedly calling the subcultures a threat to national stability and a dangerous teen trend."

There seems to be some confusion in the west as to whether or not that legislation ever became law. Further, most of the online sources providing information about the proposed ban were not exactly the most credible. Still, that country's RT News Network ran a story (in English) on the topic of Goths and the proposed ban around the same time that the legislation was reportedly being considered. RT has proven itself credible over the years and it's reportage on the topic lends one to believe that anti-Goth legislation was, at a minimum, in the works during that time. A video of RT's broadcast is provided here. 

Also disturbing was some of the dialog about Goths both leading  up to and beyond the proposed legislation. In the September 15, 2008 edition of the Telegraph
its Moscow correspondent reported on the arrest of several Goths who were arrested for allegedly murdering and eating teenagers in a satanic ritual. In June, 2011 an independent online newspaper known as the Moscow News reported that a court in southern Russia had sanctioned the arrest of three Goths  suspected of destroying some 40 tombs in the city of Rostov-on-Don during the month of April. 

While none of us have all the facts in these cases we can probably agree that murder, cannibalism and the desecration of graves are not activities condoned by the Goth subculture or its individual members, most of whom are quite peaceful in nature. Still, stories such as those mentioned above can easily incite fear in the general population, thereby paving the way for the acceptance of repressive laws and even violence. 

Monday afternoon NPR's Here and Now radio-talk program ran a disturbing segment about the rise in anti-gay/lesbian violence in Russia since President Putin signed legislation earlier this year, which forbids the dissemination of any information about homosexuality. The segment goes on to report that the legislation has led to the rise of vigilante violence against the gay and lesbian community. Some of the accounts related on the program seem hideous in nature, and it is clear that the legislation and any propaganda preceding it have paved the way for sociopaths to hold an unobstructed field day against those deemed unworthy by the state. 

Taking the current situation a step further, it's not difficult to imagine those using violent behavior against gays, lesbians and transgender folk extending it a bit further by lashing out against Goths; after all, do we not wear a lot of jewelry, makeup, dress differently and in general, support equal rights for all regardless of sexual persuasion?

While certain restrictions against the Goth lifestyle may or may not have been put in place during 2008, it is certain that draconian measures are being taken against Russia's gay/lesbian community and their supporters. The psychopaths, feeling that they have a green light to commit violent acts are on the move--and there's no guaranteeing that they won't target the Goth and Emo communities as well.  

Further references: 

Here and Now - Russian Activists: Anti-Gay Violence on the Rise

The Guardian, June 30, 2013 - Russia Passes Anti-Gay Law

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