This week I am mostly on the road on my way to Berlin and mostly thinking about migrants and their lives in Russia. Just two days ago spent about an hour at a train station trying to buy a Russian entry [migration] card with a relative. The train attendants sell these cards for 300 to 1000 roubles (13$ to 35$) and their usual customers are migrants who have to renew their cards but according to the law have to leave the country and return with a new card (yeah, this is especially fun if you are a migrant somewhere in Siberia and the nearest border is thousand plus kilometers away). It became a business, the train attendants on trains which cross Russian borders sometimes ask if anyone needs a spare card with valid date of entry. You van also buy the card at Moscow train stations.
Meanwhile, Labrys staff managed to put the promised videocast on Google and also on Labrys blog. The video is available at p://kyrgyzlabrys.wordpress.com/2008/03/14/videocast-on-google-video/
As I have previously written, Labrys was preparing a videocast in response to the homophobic and insulting statements presented by Russian Orthodox Church. The videocast was uploaded to Kyrgyz video portal and has been watched 409 times within the first 15 hours of being up. The video in Russian features Gulnara Kurmanova of AntiAIDS Association who is a strong LGBT ally, journalist Bektour Iskender, priest Maksim Bratukhin and head of LGBT Organization ‘Labrys’ Anna Kirey. Together they explore the view of religion on LGBT and discuss the possibility of opening a dialog on LGBT issues which most organizations are silent about. The videocast can be viewed here
The worrying trend that I see in this situation is that the word ‘sodomite’ might become part of everyday language and was presented as synonymous to LGBT in most of the media coverage of the press conference by Russian Orthodox Church.
The press release which I wrote about yesterday is now available . Labrys has contacted different local and international human rights organizations asking for recommendations for possible official reactions to the press release. Suggestions varied from keeping silent to suing the church for hate speech.