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Fear and Loathing in the Iron Closet: The right to freedom of assembly for LGBT rights activists in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, and the role of the Moscow Patriarchate in the invention of “gay propaganda” legislation

Andersson, Simon LU (2018) JURM02 20182
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
The Iron Closet has always been deep, and although never leading to Narnia it has on occasions had the potential to be a one-way ticket to a forced labour camp. After the decline of the Soviet Union, however, the Western world rejoiced; the second parenthesis had been set out and we now lived in the main narrative again where everything ought to make sense. Countries in the post-Soviet space would by necessity catch up and go through their transitional phases towards market economies, rule of law and the reign of human rights; Russia, Ukraine and Moldova all decriminalised the Soviet anti-sodomy statute to be able to gain access to the Council of Europe.

For the Russian LGBT community, the status quo can be regarded to have been... (More)
The Iron Closet has always been deep, and although never leading to Narnia it has on occasions had the potential to be a one-way ticket to a forced labour camp. After the decline of the Soviet Union, however, the Western world rejoiced; the second parenthesis had been set out and we now lived in the main narrative again where everything ought to make sense. Countries in the post-Soviet space would by necessity catch up and go through their transitional phases towards market economies, rule of law and the reign of human rights; Russia, Ukraine and Moldova all decriminalised the Soviet anti-sodomy statute to be able to gain access to the Council of Europe.

For the Russian LGBT community, the status quo can be regarded to have been re-established with the invention of the “gay propaganda” legislation, starting with a number of Russian regions adopting regional laws according to which undefined “gay propaganda” would render fines higher than the normal monthly income. This development culminated on 30 June 2013, when President Vladimir Putin signed into law a federal “gay propaganda” law, previously lobbied for in the Duma by an alliance of Orthodox priests and neo-conservative politicians.

The Moscow Patriarchate is deeply entrenched with the Russian state and has lobbied for “gay propaganda” legislation, as well as making joint efforts together with Russian representatives in the Council of Europe and in the United Nations. However, the goal is not only to curb LGBT rights, but to change the entire civilisational discourse on public morals. This thesis is therefore concerned with analysing the human rights agenda of the Moscow Patriarchate and its implications for Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. However, what I find is that the Orthodox view on human rights is incompatible with the whole concept of human rights law.

With this in mind, the purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the provisions of the ECHR and jurisprudence of the ECtHR, with a focus on the right to freedom of assembly for LGBT rights activists. My concern with this particular right is that securing public visibility constitutes a major part of safeguarding other rights for LGBT persons. I think that LGBT persons may be compared to the canary birds that the miners used to bring with them into the coal mines to detect high levels of carbon monoxide: when the birds stopped singing, this implied danger. With this I mean that if this right is stifled, I think that this is not only a sign that other rights for this group are also going down the drain, but of where the rest of society is headed as well.

What I find is that, from 2007 onwards, the ECtHR has crystallised its view that “real pluralism” is an inherent part of democracy, which is the only political model compatible with the ECHR, and that banning LGBT rights demonstrations under the pretext that they encourage violent counter-demonstrations is not a valid claim if the State has resources to safeguard these events.

In this thesis, I examine how the legal framework of the ECHR has ameliorated the situations in Ukraine and Moldova, and what implications this has had also for the situation in the Russian Federation. When I lived in Moldova in 2018 and worked as an intern at the Embassy of Sweden in Chișinău, I participated in Moldova Pride on the first-ever occasion that the Pride march could be held without being interrupted early. I find that there have been incredible developments in Ukraine and Moldova in recent years due to their closer associations to Europe, and that in the context of the right to freedom of assembly, Pride marches are recurring events in these countries and the authorities seem to have learned from their experiences and have become more able to neutralise violent counter-demonstrators. (Less)
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author
Andersson, Simon LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20182
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
public international law, human rights, human rights law, echr, ecthr, european court of human rights, council of europe, european convention on human rights, lgbt rights, lgbt, lgbtq, lgbti, lgbt+, russian orthodox church, moscow patriarchate, freedom of assembly, pride, gay propaganda, moldova, ukraine, russia, russian federation
language
English
id
8972835
date added to LUP
2019-04-11 14:50:29
date last changed
2019-04-11 14:50:29
@misc{8972835,
  abstract     = {The Iron Closet has always been deep, and although never leading to Narnia it has on occasions had the potential to be a one-way ticket to a forced labour camp. After the decline of the Soviet Union, however, the Western world rejoiced; the second parenthesis had been set out and we now lived in the main narrative again where everything ought to make sense. Countries in the post-Soviet space would by necessity catch up and go through their transitional phases towards market economies, rule of law and the reign of human rights; Russia, Ukraine and Moldova all decriminalised the Soviet anti-sodomy statute to be able to gain access to the Council of Europe.

For the Russian LGBT community, the status quo can be regarded to have been re-established with the invention of the “gay propaganda” legislation, starting with a number of Russian regions adopting regional laws according to which undefined “gay propaganda” would render fines higher than the normal monthly income. This development culminated on 30 June 2013, when President Vladimir Putin signed into law a federal “gay propaganda” law, previously lobbied for in the Duma by an alliance of Orthodox priests and neo-conservative politicians.

The Moscow Patriarchate is deeply entrenched with the Russian state and has lobbied for “gay propaganda” legislation, as well as making joint efforts together with Russian representatives in the Council of Europe and in the United Nations. However, the goal is not only to curb LGBT rights, but to change the entire civilisational discourse on public morals. This thesis is therefore concerned with analysing the human rights agenda of the Moscow Patriarchate and its implications for Russia, Ukraine and Moldova. However, what I find is that the Orthodox view on human rights is incompatible with the whole concept of human rights law.

With this in mind, the purpose of this thesis is to evaluate the provisions of the ECHR and jurisprudence of the ECtHR, with a focus on the right to freedom of assembly for LGBT rights activists. My concern with this particular right is that securing public visibility constitutes a major part of safeguarding other rights for LGBT persons. I think that LGBT persons may be compared to the canary birds that the miners used to bring with them into the coal mines to detect high levels of carbon monoxide: when the birds stopped singing, this implied danger. With this I mean that if this right is stifled, I think that this is not only a sign that other rights for this group are also going down the drain, but of where the rest of society is headed as well.

What I find is that, from 2007 onwards, the ECtHR has crystallised its view that “real pluralism” is an inherent part of democracy, which is the only political model compatible with the ECHR, and that banning LGBT rights demonstrations under the pretext that they encourage violent counter-demonstrations is not a valid claim if the State has resources to safeguard these events.

In this thesis, I examine how the legal framework of the ECHR has ameliorated the situations in Ukraine and Moldova, and what implications this has had also for the situation in the Russian Federation. When I lived in Moldova in 2018 and worked as an intern at the Embassy of Sweden in Chișinău, I participated in Moldova Pride on the first-ever occasion that the Pride march could be held without being interrupted early. I find that there have been incredible developments in Ukraine and Moldova in recent years due to their closer associations to Europe, and that in the context of the right to freedom of assembly, Pride marches are recurring events in these countries and the authorities seem to have learned from their experiences and have become more able to neutralise violent counter-demonstrators.},
  author       = {Andersson, Simon},
  keyword      = {public international law,human rights,human rights law,echr,ecthr,european court of human rights,council of europe,european convention on human rights,lgbt rights,lgbt,lgbtq,lgbti,lgbt+,russian orthodox church,moscow patriarchate,freedom of assembly,pride,gay propaganda,moldova,ukraine,russia,russian federation},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Fear and Loathing in the Iron Closet: The right to freedom of assembly for LGBT rights activists in the Russian Federation, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova, and the role of the Moscow Patriarchate in the invention of “gay propaganda” legislation},
  year         = {2018},
}