Bashing the Law

The St. Petersburg Times № 768
In response to "Deputies Want To Outlaw Homosexuality" April 26.

Dear Editor,

As the president of the human-rights gay NGO here I support the main ideas of Kevin O'Flynn's article, published in the last issue of your newspaper on April 26, 2002.

After the pathological "idea" of lawmakers Raikov, Rogozin and others was publicly made known, we characterized it as a gender fascisms in our e-mail message to President Vladimir Putin.

It was emphasized as well that, as the authors of this provocation belong to the pro-government People's Deputy faction, their activity spreads a shadow to the President's efforts of establishing Russia as a democratic state.

Further we expressed our constant electoral support of his activity.

I am absolutely sure that the idea of recriminalizing homosexuality has no future in this country, being an example of black public relations, and that Rogozin must leave his post as the representative to the Council of Europe.

The legal position of Russian gays and lesbians is one of the best in the world: only rape is punished, the penalty is the same for homosexuals and heterosexuals and the age of consent is 14. It is the result of our many years of struggle for this legislation.

Alexander Kukharsky, PhD
St. Petersburg

Gay Freedom

The St. Petersburg Times № 1062
In response to "A Happy New Year for Putin's Russia?", a comment by Grigory Yavlinsky on Jan. 28

Editor,

Grigory Yavlinsky, the leader of the Yabloko party, which failed to overcome 5 percent limit vote during the last elections to enter the State Duma, is still trying to teach everyone how to live in the future. His absurd ambitions prevented the unification of the right-wing opposition and led him to a political catastrophe.

As the president of the "Krilija" Gay Human Rights Center, which was officially registered in 1991, I want to stress that never before in Russian history has the gay community been able to celebrate such freedoms and well- being as today.

The homophobia of the population is still very high, but from the legal point of view the gays' position is one of the best in the world: only rape is persecuted, the penalty is the same for homo- and heterosexuals and the age of consent is 16 years old.

According to my personal experience the gay infrastructure in St. Petersburg is even more colorful, than in Amsterdam or San Francisco.

Due to this I think that Yavlinsky should agree to accept the post of a highly positioned international official that the proposed to him instead of crying crocodile tears.

Alexander Kukharsky
St. Petersburg

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