I’ve had along and dreamy love affair with Russia. Or the idea of Russia. Always wanted to take the Midnight Express or Orient Express. You know the one, travel from Russia down to Istanbul and somehow make it into China following the silk road. Maybe I just read too many books as a kid.
In university I took political science and took every Russian politic course I could find. My favourite being taught by a crusty old Russian and we got to talk about Russia post-communist collapse and the selling off of a nuclear device here or there. This was just at the beginning of hearing about Vladimir Putin in bits and pieces. Wasn’t much of a leader yet. I do remember thinking, we have to watch him. Ex-KGB, he’ll know how to take the reins of power. For once, I was completely right.
You have to admire Putin for his ability to consolidate power and take over a vast country like Russia. There hasn’t been such stability in Russia/Soviet Union/Empire since at least Stalin. If not pre-revolution.
Putin’s politics though…
Let’s rewind briefly: Post-Revolution there was no criminalisation of homosexuality until Stalin, if you can count omission in the criminal code as a way of not prosecuting homosexuality. Even under Stalin only male homosexuality was criminalised in 1933. I snagged the following excerpt from Wikipedia which they took from the Soviet Encyclopedia, but I find it a much more reasonable take on homosexuality and particularly for the era in which it was written.
“Soviet legislation does not recognize so-called crimes against morality. Our laws proceed from the principle of protection of society and therefore countenance punishment only in those instances when juveniles and minors are the objects of homosexual interest … while recognizing the incorrectness of homosexual development … our society combines prophylactic and other therapeutic measures with all the necessary conditions for making the conflicts that afflict homosexuals as painless as possible and for resolving their typical estrangement from society within the collective”
- —Sereisky, Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 1930, p. 593
Fast forward to 2013 and now we have a Russian Propaganda Law. A law that was unanimously approved by the Duma, which many love to quote as receiving an 85% approval rate by the Russian public. This law was to protect children from any information that would put homosexuality in any light other than positive and normal. This law has been used to remove any sort of school education and to go so far as prohibit the general public from showing any sort of same sex public displays of affection .
Now we hear of Russian MPs saying that FIFA 17 is too gay because for a brief time you could kit out your team in rainbow jerseys. They want FIFA 17 banned because it’s just too gay. I can’t help put insert the biggest eye roll imaginable. I’ll try not to scream that Russia won the opportunity to host a FIFA World Cup stop looking a gift horse in the mouth (seriously, between Russia and Qatar, I can’t watch World Cup for at least 10 years). If they think the biggest threat to their existence is some rainbow kit, they clearly don’t have big enough problems.
Talk about a long winded way to get to St. Pauli. All the previous bit was to build up to why I love St. Pauli. More than a club, more than footy, more than a reason for my partner to sit down and curse each other while trying to record a podcast, they have values. Human Rights Day was on December 10th and St. Pauli tweeted a great photo saying we are all equal. I love this club for sharing its beliefs and giving us an opportunity to hang out with like minded individuals (virtually or IRL) while watching a bit of footy. Or handball. Or whatever other sport floats your boat because that is what it is about. We are all human and we deserve kindness and to be protected.
While looking for some information regarding the gay propaganda law, I found some great photos like the one below. I have a penchant for Soviet propaganda posters and they seem so much better when used for protesting this law. For more of these, check out: http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/old-soviet-propaganda-posters-get-reinvented-to-fight-russias-gay-propaganda-law/#gs.VxxEbDQ