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Plight of gays in Russia became heated debate in the West at least for some time. Is it so bad or exaggerated by Western media?

Here on Daily Kos in front page diary Top Comments Hunted in Russia edition I learned about existence of UK Channel 4 documentary titled Hunted whose purpose to show plight of gays in today's Russia. I guessed (correctly) that "documentary" based on controversial Maxim Martsinkevich organization Occupy Pedophilia.

Martsinkevich well known as attention whore in Russia who made name for fake & staged videos which were generously (hopefully without infringing copyrights) used in Channel 4 documentary which caused so much outrage and anti-Russian feelings among its viewers.

In this diary I intend to translate some Russian sources on Martsinkevich activities in order you have full understanding of the movie and whether it presented exaggerated view on threats to gays in Russia.

Official Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported on Jan 20, 2014 arrest of Martsinkevich in Cuba on Interpol warrant:

Island of un-Liberty

Cuban pedophiles can breathe freely. Leader of notorious movement "Occupy - pedofilyay" Maxim Marcinkiewicz is arrested on Interpol warrant by Havana police.

...

Marcinkiewicz was an activist of the People's Nationalist Party of Russia, he created a nationalist association "Format 18", which in 2010 was banned as extremist. He also initiated creation of group ostensibly to fight pedophiles "Occupy - pedofilyay".

On behalf of children fighters with pedophiles had engaged in conversations on dating sites, then they filmed lured pedophiles on camera during arranged visits.

Furthermore, Marcinkiewicz recorded videos where he called for deportation of immigrants from Russia, accusing them of all sins.

The police became interested in works of the blogger. Linguistic examination showed that his videos contained statements inciting hatred or enmity on ethnic ground.

Also there is a suspicion that anti-pedophiles group activity was only cover for illegal earnings, and that not all the clips recorded with set up meetings were released on the Web.

There is no communication with Martsinkevich for comments, as his mobile was seized.

Few days ago court reportedly approved pre-trial detention of Martsinkevich and court hearing scheduled someday in June 2014.

So who is Martsinkevich (better known for nickname Tesak or Slasher)? No doubts, unsalubrious personality, in a sentence: "Racist blogger/attention whore/criminal" but how much his activities were "anti-LGBT" is matter of debate.

Take for example two his entries in Wikipedia, English and Russian.

English wiki:

Maxim Sergeyevich Martsinkevich, born 1984, is a Russian neo-Nazi activist, media personality and businessman. He was formerly the leader of the far-right extremist group Format18, which was the 'armed wing' of the Russian neo-Nazi organization NSO.

Martsinkevich established a nationwide organisation that claims to target only pedophiles, but in reality also lures and tortures LGBT people.

Videos of Martsinkevich and his following attacking and humiliating their victims have been posted on video sharing websites by gang members, in order to publicly out their victims.

He was arrested in Cuba in January 2014.

Biography

Martsinkevich lived with his parents in a relatively rich suburb in Moscow. At the time of his arrest, Martsinkevich was studying architecture at Russian State Social University. His parents do not hold the same political views as their son.

He prefers to be called by his street name "Tesak", meaning hatchet/machete. When questioned about it, he said it was because he had a passion for knives.

Format18 was best known for uploading extremely violent propaganda films to their website. The Russian police closed both websites (Format18 and the NSO-Website) after arrest of Martsinkevich. Martsinkevich and members of Format18 group appeared on the TV show "Ross Kemp on Gangs: Russian neo-Nazis", as well as on Current TV's "From Russia with Hate".

In July 2007, "Tesak" was arrested and then sentenced to 3 years in prison under article 282, part 2, of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation (“Incitement to Ethnic Strife with the Threat of the Use of Violence,” punishable by 3–5 years imprisonment). He was released in 2010 after serving his sentence.

On January 2, 2011, a video was released on YouTube with the name "Tesak has been released!". The video shows Martsinkevich giving an interview in Russian language, and the uploader calls himself "TesakST". This channel became the 6th most subscribed channel on YouTube in Russia that week.

Throughout 2013, Martsinkevich was behind the violent abduction and abuse of several Russian LGBT-teenagers. Martsinkevich along with his gang members set up false contact advertisements on social media to lure the victims. Another member of Martsinkevich's group claimedthat at least one of the victims died as a result of the abuse.

In November 2013, Martsinkevich had reportedly left Russia in fear of prosecution over a video in which he violently beats an Iraqi gay man. On December 13, a Moscow court of law approved his arrest in absentia. In January 2014, he was arrested and detained in Cuba by local authorities after arriving in December, and arrived in Moscow on January 27. He currently is jailed and awaiting trial.

Martsinkevich has over 136,000 subscribers on his account in a Russian social network service VKontakte. He did not abandon his political views. Martsinkevich is an atheist.

It's pretty exhaustive English-language summary of Martsinkevich activities, Russian wiki however more detailed:
Maxim Marcinkiewicz nicknamed "Slasher" is Russian activist and advocate of the National Socialist ideology, videoblogger. He is co-founder of the social movement Restruct. Within this framework there are more than 10 projects, including "Occupy-pedofilyay" which stated purpose is the fight against pedophiles and promotion of National Socialist ideas among adolescents.
....

"Occupy-pedofilyay"

"This is show. I'm not trying to put a man in jail, I'm trying to completely break a man's life. Maybe someone (familiar with him) will see video and file case in court [on pedophilia charges]. -

Maxim Marcinkiewicz about "Occupy-pedofilyay"

... Marcinkiewicz movement called "Occupy-pedofilyay" engaged in beating and humiliation of people whom its members believe to be pedophiles. Its victims are found on websites and get acquainted with on behalf of minors.

All bullying, including favorite way Marcinkiewicz violence on "suspects" - pouring urine on them, was filmed and then posted in videos on the Internet.

In September 2013, attention of Russian television and press attracted action organized by Marcinkiewicz in apartment on Baumanskaya street, as a result the former deputy head of the Federal Bailiff Service of Moscow region was arrested and was charged with indecent assault of a sexual nature against a minor.

Marcinkiewicz calls "Occupy-pedofilyay" a "social project aimed at promoting national socialism, reveal the essence of liberal views and attract public attention to this [pedophilia] problem." To participate in the "hunt for pedophiles", which participants calling "safari", one need to pay a certain sum of money to Marcinkiewicz.

In 2013, the movement "Novosibirsk against pedophiles", which is a branch of his organization "Restruct", conducted similar actions in the city of Novosibirsk.

So Russian wikipedia entry debunks false assertion in Top Comments:
this vigilante group claims to exclusively target paedophiles. Yet their trolling to find a victim had nothing to do with that. They targetted a gay man, to have gay sex with another man, and lured him into a trap of torment. Had this incident not been the subject of a documentary crew, that man at that particular time and place might have ended up in an even worse situation.
Martsinkevich group indeed targeted pedophiles and one pedophile was arrested & tried for confessed sex with children.

Videos with pouring urine on pedophiles were made by Martsinkevich himself in order to gain notorious fame in Russia.

Here is official website of Occupy Pedophilyay with plenty of videos of Martsinkevich encounters with would be pedophiles.

From Alterpedia entry on Occupy Pedophilyay you can learn inner mechanics of Martsinkevich show, how it is done, who are its victims, how they are baited, what are its goals etc.

Occupy-pedofilyay (allusion to Occupy Wall Street) - a project of the imaginary Internet TV channel "Golden Rain" (parody on well known opposition TV Rain), created by former skinhead Maxim Marcinkiewicz nicknamed "Slasher" and businessman Vitaly Tsimodanov.

The essence of the project

This is radical or satirically philosophical (in words of creators) video show in which "bounty hunters" catch so-called "pedophiles", using as "bait" adult members of the group and underage boys. "Bait" on specialized dating sites acquainted with pedophiles and negotiate with them about the meeting. Such meeting can happen anywhere, including in the apartment of "bait".

Then members of the group surround the hero and forcibly take interview from him, asking inquisitory questions about his personal life, his sexual orientation, pedophilia, about social, legal and criminal policy towards pedophiles, as well as questions about political, religious and other views of the hero.

Maxim Marcinkiewicz traditionally takes interview, using fallos imitator as microphone.

The project has investigative nature, however uses questionable practices including moral humiliation of its heroes, complete revelations of their personal life in front of the camera, which records "interview", then video is released on the Internet.

Program hunt mainly for gay lovers of small boys. In interviews Maxim Marcinkiewicz explained complexity of having small girls as baits because girls earlier than boys reach puberty and after 14 years are no longer suitable as "baits".

During an interview to some heroes Maxim Marcinkiewicz and his associates used a mild violence: punching in the stomach, in the "solar plexus", the kidneys and liver, as well as slapping, kicking the buttocks, slapping face by fallos imitator, use gas cartridges , stun guns and cans of nitro.

Also traditionally at the end of forced interview the hero often is poured upon by urine from bottle and forced to rinse his mouth by urine. All this takes place in the presence of adolescents or children (baits) who participated in the capture of the hero of the show.

Anyone can go on Occupy Pedophilyay "safari", for a certain amount of money. On some of these "safari" journalists from different media, such as NTV, TV-Center, Ren-TV (largest private networks in Russia) and others, were present.

After the "interview"

The heroes of this show afterwards usually prefer not to go to law enforcement agencies to file complain against Martsinkevich for humiliation and beatings because they fear as pedophiles themselves they will be put behind bars, in light of recording materials in possession of Martsinkevich with incriminating evidence (on seeking pedophile sex).

However, [it is thought] victims in case of filing lawsuit have chance to win the court as show is not authorized by legal enforcement authorities, and members of Occupy Pedophilyay may fall under the article "lynching" and its chief organizer Maxim Marcinkiewicz, given his past criminal records may be imprisoned for a maximum term.

Commercialization

Almost immediately after start of "Occupy-pedofilyay" its founders mastered advertising relationships with various commercial websites. Video releases accompanied by ads of proteins, anabolic steroids, dietary supplements and similar stuff. Third-party sites with pyramidal marketing were created. Also Occupy Pedophilyay gathers donations of the project.

Imitators

The idea of ​​Moscow enthusiasts inspired people in many cities in Russia and some CIS countries. Branches of "Occupy-pedofilyay" officially recognized by Martsinkevich exist in St. Petersburg, Ust-Ilim, Kiev, Kharkov, Kazan, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad, Krasnodar, Yoshkar-Ola, Perm, Ufa, Novgorod, Samara, Tula, Omsk, Pskov, Magnitogorsk, Irkutsk, Tyumen, Orenburg, Ryazan, Cheboksary, Podolsk, Necklace and other places.

The end of Occupy Pedophilyay entry in Alterpedia lists trivia, incidents and happenings about show and includes report of another pedophile busted in Novosibirsk who was officially charged after having sex with minors.

These entries in respected online encyclopedias on well known controversial media personality in Russia in my view prove that creators of Channel 4 "documentary" distorted footage and context of Occupy Pedophilyay to present it as anti-LGBT vigilante movement.

Distortion and propaganda in Western media is nothing new. Take for example one of blistering editorials in NYTimes charging Putin's regime n homophobic policies.

NYTimes charges:

Earlier this month, he signed a law banning the adoption of Russian-born children to gay couples and to any couple or single parent living in any country where marriage equality exists.
American press tried to connect Dima Yakovlev law banning US adoptions to Magnitsky Act, however it was response to public outcry in Russia to this particular case:

US-Australian gay couple sexually abused adopted Russian boy

[Aussie] paedophile Peter Truong, who bought a newborn boy for US$8,000 and then allowed men around the world to abuse the child, has been sentenced in a US court to 30 years' jail.

Truong, 36, faced a maximum 40-year sentence, while the plea deal he struck with prosecutors could have allowed a minimum of 24 years.

US district court judge Sarah Evans Barker, in announcing the sentence on Monday in Indianapolis, took note of Truong's willingness to work with authorities to lead them to other paedophiles and his own history as a childhood abuse victim.

Truong's domestic partner, Mark Newton, 42, also from Queensland, was jailed in June for 40 years.

Prosecutors say Truong and Newton bought the boy from a woman in a "foreign" country, believed to be Russia, and then transported him around the world to engage in sex with more than half a dozen other men, all before his sixth birthday.

Russian media has even more horrific details about the case.

NYTimes continues:

Last month, Mr. Putin signed a law allowing the police to arrest tourists and foreigners suspected of being gay or pro-gay and detain them for up to 14 days.
This is completely false claim by NYTimes as there is no such law in Russia "to arrest tourists and foreigners suspected of being gay or pro-gay".
He also signed a bill classifying “homosexual” propaganda as pornography with vague wording that could subject anyone arguing for tolerance or educating children about homosexuality to arrest and fines.
This so-called anti-gay law is known in Russia as Mizulina law after its author, in essence it's censorship regulations about violent, inappropriate, indecent information available for children younger than 6 years old, 12 years old and 16 years old, specifying TV channels to show markings on screen for parents (+6, +12, +16), movie ratings etc. Information is taken in wide sense, including books, lessons, courses, that's why LGBT activists were angry with it.

However in 6 months since anti-gay amendment (the law itself valid since 2010) was adopted last summer only 3 persons were fined guilty by courts and ordered to pay fine of $115, no administrative arrests upto 14 days were reported.

And finally homophobic crimes exist everywhere on the planet, in US for example I've learned FBI report around 1500 homophobic attacks on average every year. Link

In Russia situation with LGBT rights is far from perfect and homophobic attacks happen, though official statistics report just 10-20 such crimes every year or 100 TIMES LESS THAN IN US.

So where LGBT community should be concern with plight of gays? In US or in Russia? I think everywhere, but don't make it one-sided, based on distorted information as in Channel 4 documentary.

This "documentary" attracted ire of Russian Embassy in UK which said:

the programme "smacks of well-timed and cynical propaganda."

The disparaging statement even asserted such a documentary could have been "whipped up" about a hunting season on red heads in Britain.

"Channel 4’s documentary is not intended to help “suffering” gays in Russia", it said. “The documentary’s emotional appeal is misleading, since the film falls far short of the standards of professional journalistic investigation.

“One could have easily whipped up such 'documentary' about a hunting season on redheads in the UK saying that 'ginger' people face unmotivated verbal and physical abuse on a daily basis."

Well said.

Originally posted to FarEasterner on Wed Apr 09, 2014 at 10:43 PM PDT.

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