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Russia's Foreign Ministry Opines on “Queers”

The Russian Government's never-ending conflict with gay rights. Images mixed by Kevin Rothrock.

The Russian Government's never-ending conflict with gay rights. Images mixed by Kevin Rothrock.

On January 14, 2014, for the second year in a row, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs published its report [ru] on human rights in the European Union. The initiative was most likely started as a symmetrical reply to similar (often critical) reports on human rights in Russia that the European Union has published over the years. Entitled “Report on the Human Rights Situation in the European Union”, the report was made available as a Word document on the Ministry's website, in both Russian and in an “unofficial translation” into English. 

The majority of the report dealt with cases of police brutality, refusals of asylum and discrimination on racial and gender grounds. In what was most likely a barbed reply to sustained western criticism of Russia's “gay propaganda” law, the report criticised the European Union for:

Attempts […] to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon that deserves support at the state level.

The Russian version of the report continued and noted:

Подобный подход встречает сопротивление не только в странах, придерживающихся традиционных ценностей, но и там, где всегда существовало либеральное отношение к людям с нетрадиционной ориентацией.

A similar approach encounters resistance not only in countries maintaining traditional values, but also in those, where there has always existed a liberal attitude to people with non-traditional orientations

The English translation of the report, however, was phrased somewhat differently.

Screenshot taken from report

Screenshot taken from report by Daniel Kennedy on January 15, 2004

While the translation is labelled as “unofficial”, Russia watchers were somewhat taken aback that a homophobic slur could end up on a government website. Author Oliver Bullough commented:

The gaffe seems likely to overshadow the contents of the report, which contains detailed information on alleged human rights abuses in each EU member state. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not yet commented on the matter.

  • Mr Trainbeans

    but they call each other queers, i don’t understand? is it like black ppl using the n-word? cos thats just racist

  • Jake Turk

    The irony is that every same-sex couple I know or work with either already has at least one child (the majority) or is actively trying. Sounds like a “problem” Russia could use right now. Perhaps “queers” would be more acceptable if they were drunk 24/7, injecting themselves with synthetic heroin substitutes, and attacking gastarbeiters.

  • Pingback: Russia’s Foreign Ministry Opines on “Queers” | Freedom, Justice, Equality News

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