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View Diary: Understanding Russia's homophobia (179 comments)

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  •  On that note, I'd be curious if anyone is (11+ / 0-)

    keeping an eye on the social dynamics of West Hollywood, where gays and Russians live side-by-side.  From what I know it's a largely elderly Russian population, and they've long been accustomed to the situation; I don't know how the gay community is eyeing them now, though.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:15:17 PM PDT

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    •  Somebody from Sacramento (10+ / 0-)

      posted a comment that there had been some problems between gays and Russians there.

      •  The Central Valley has some history (8+ / 0-)

        I cannot at the moment recall all of the details; there is a fairly significant community of Russian and other Slavic emigres in the Sacramento Valley. There was a particularly egregious gay-bashing incident several years ago, which resulted in either severe injury or death. If I remember correctly the perpetrators were not ethnic Russians but came from some other group. I could well be mistaken about any or all of these details.

        As for West Hollywood/Fairfax, the impression I've always had was that things were reasonably peaceful there. A large part of the Russian community there is also Jewish which may well put a different spin on things.

        •  I lived there for 12 very long years. (7+ / 0-)

          Bryte is a community across the river with a community of people descended from original post 1917 emigres.  There is another community of refugees who were settled there in thy 80's and 90s when the US was big on Russian refugees. I think that these are the people who brought their homophobia with them.

        •  I know there's an active group of Russian (6+ / 0-)

          homophobes on the West Coast - associated with the Watchmen on the Walls movement, if I'm not mistaken - but I haven't heard much about them in the last couple of years.

          Obviously their founder, Scott Lively, is still in the news.

          Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

          by pico on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 04:34:47 PM PDT

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        •  Can't speak to what's going on in West Hollywood, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pico, Miggles, sfbob, Ice Blue

          but if the Russians there are largely Jewish, you can conclude that they most likely left the Soviet Union because of anti-Semitism.  They are probably Refuseniks.  

          Persecution of Jews and persecution of gays go hand in hand.

          It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

          by Radiowalla on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 05:57:23 PM PDT

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          •  My father's family escaped Russia in about 1917 (4+ / 0-)

            for 2 reason - pogroms and my father was going to be conscripted into the army. The Revolution added more fire to those who perpetrated these attacks.

            Although the diarist says that a majority of people no longer belong to the Church, it's possible that the Church's stands still effect the thinking of many people - especially when it supports their prejudices.

            It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

            by auapplemac on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 07:44:10 PM PDT

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            •  Without doubt, although I'd note that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ice Blue, auapplemac

              antisemitism was on hyperdrive in the late Stalin years, and without a church to back it up.  Unfortunately it runs more deeply than religion there.

              Have you written about your father's family?  Because that sounds like a hell of a story.

              Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

              by pico on Mon Aug 12, 2013 at 10:27:42 PM PDT

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              •  I thought Russians were always quite spiritual (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pico

                even under Communism. In the bio of Viktor Belenko--he was the man who defected to the US in a MiG-25--there was a passage about a book falling out of the locker of a fighter pilot right next to Belenko. Belenko picked it up, and it was a Bible. The other man was terrified but Belenko handed him his Bible with a comforting smile. He'd never report anyone for their religion. In fact, Belenko said Christianity was extremely common among the Russian people even when they could be thrown in a gulag for it.

                Any jackass can kick down a barn, but it takes a good carpenter to build one.--Sam Rayburn

                by Ice Blue on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 07:40:54 AM PDT

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                •  It might depend a bit on who's asking, but (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Ice Blue

                  even today, it's not a particularly religious country (less so than the United States, for sure.)   The Soviet years were a rollercoaster when it came to persecution - they ostensibly had religious freedom, but you couldn't be a Party member if you were religious, and not being a Party member would severely curtail your ability to advance in the world... Oh, and the priesthood was routinely harassed for being among the class of parasites - then you had bouts of nostalgia and targeted "allowances" of religion when it became necessary during WWII to help motivate Russian soldiers, etc.  It's a complicated story.  

                  I think - but don't have information closehand - that the further you get from the major cities, the higher the percentage of people who'd self-identify as religious.  On the flipside, even the urban intelligentsia might argue that there's a deep current of "spirituality" that's a major constituent of the "Great Russian Soul"™.  

                  I'm slim on anecdotal data, because the only religious Russians I know are those who emigrated here, and even there a very small percentage.  The wiki information looks pretty reliable.

                  Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

                  by pico on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 01:18:54 PM PDT

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              •  Wish I had more details about my dad. He (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                pico

                died in 1972. Most of what I know I learned sitting at family dinners and listening to the adults talk about the "old country".

                They really didn't like to talk about the bad times. I do have a formal photo taken in Russia of my dad's family when he was a small child.

                I know the town he came from and have looked up it's history. Not pretty either under the Czar, Soviet rule or when the Nazis came through.

                I wish I did know more. The few times I did ask questions, I was given short answers. Even decades later they really didn't like to rehash those memories.

                It’s the Supreme Court, stupid! Followed by: It's always the Supreme Court! Progressives will win only when we convince a majority that they, too, are Progressive.

                by auapplemac on Tue Aug 13, 2013 at 03:21:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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