Sacked journalist puts spotlight on Russia's gay pride march ban

 

Moscow

The sacking of a journalist at one of Russia's leading news agencies over a homophobic outburst on his blog has reignited an inflammatory debate over a ban on gay pride marches in the country.

Nikolai Troitsky, a political commentator for the state-run RIA Novosti agency, wrote on his personal blog that he dreamed of inventing a bomb to kill only gay people. He quickly deleted the post, but another blogger complained to RIA, and the company terminated Mr Troitsky's employment.

The scandal erupted last month when Mr Troitsky posted photographs from a gay parade in Berlin on his blog.

"You have to hope that this kind of abomination will never come to pass in Russia," wrote the journalist. "I don't have any time for this kind of 'freedom and democracy'. There's no tolerance for this, you can't help but think of a powerful bomb, that would only kill queers."

RIA called the remarks "unacceptable" and fired the journalist, but Mr Troitsky was then invited on a prime-time television show.

He apologised for his call to violence, which he said was made in a heated moment, but reiterated that he did not want to see gay parades in Moscow – opinions with which almost all the audience appeared to agree.

Under its previous mayor, Yuri Luzhkov, Moscow earned a reputation as one of the least gay-friendly cities in Europe. The mayor famously described homosexuals as "satanic", and vowed the city would never host a gay parade.

Gay activists hoped that with the appointment of a new mayor, Sergei Sobyanin, the homophobia may subside, but they have been disappointed.

Mr Sobyanin has said he will take the same line as his predecessor. When small gay marches have occurred, riot police have arrested the participants.

Most of the participants in the television debate, including the host, agreed that Moscow does not need gay parades.

One of Russia's best-known sociologists told viewers that if children were exposed to gay parades, it could have an effect on their sexuality.

Two gay activists on the show were interrupted every time they tried to speak by angry, middle-aged women shrieking that they were perverts.

The programme ended with the host wishing "the talented journalist" good luck in finding a new job.

Nikolai Alekseyev, Russia's best-known gay rights activist, says that the fact that the subject is discussed at all on Russian television is progress.

"There won't be any new homophobes from watching these programmes, but some intelligent people who can think for themselves will hear the messages of tolerance," he said.

Nevertheless, there is a long way to go. One of the programme's guests was an Orthodox Christian activist who arrived with a photograph of Elton John.

"This is Elton John. How did they make him a knight? Knights were supposed to be the cleanest, the most pure people," he said. "And now he has adopted a child... the child will turn out to be just as much of a faggot as he is."

With that, he ripped up the photograph and threw it on the floor, and the studio audience erupted into applause.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
footballHe started just four months ago
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
News
One father who couldn't get One Direction tickets for his daughters phoned in a fake bomb threat and served eight months in a federal prison
people... (and one very unlucky giraffe)
Travel
Streets ahead: Venice
travelWhat's trending on your wishlist?
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
Sports Quiz of the Year

Sports Quiz of the Year

So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

Christmas without hope

Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

The 'Black Museum'

After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

Chilly Christmas

Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect