The editor-in-chief of Russian newspaper Molodoi Dainevostochnik has been accused of violating the country’s highly controversial gay propaganda laws after publishing an article about a gay schoolteacher.
Editor Alexander Suturin faces fines and possibly legal charges for publishing an interview with a gay geography teacher, Alexander Yermoshkin of Khabarovsk, who was fired due to his orientation. In the article, Yermoshkin states: “My very existence is proof being gay is normal.”
According to the Moscow Times, reporter Irina Severtseva conducted the interview, discussing a variety of topics with Yermoshkin, including his being attacked by a neo-Nazi group. The article was published in September under the title, “History of Gay-ography.” It was accompanied by an age explicit warning.
Now, authorities from the Federal Mass Media Inspection Services (FMMIS) are claiming that Suturin intentionally exposed underage readers to a “distorted” society, which “leads them astray to believe homosexuality is normal.”
Galina Yegoshina, an FFMIS specialist, said that promoting the normalcy of homosexuality is the same as promoting the normalcy of rapists and serial killers.
“This statement goes against logic,” said Yegoshina. “By offering it to underage readers, the author is misleading them about the normality of homosexuality. According to the author’s logic, it would be possible to call normal and even effective the existence of rapists and serial killers.”
Pending an investigation, the newspaper could be at risk of being shut down by the Russian government for ninety days. Should they manage to escape that, individuals involved still risk a minimum fine of 100,000 rubles ($3,039), and a maximum penalty of 1 million rubles ($30,624).