‘from Russia With Love’ Series Profiles Gay Couples Living Under Putin’s Rule

Credit: Reuters/Michael Buholzer By Steve Gutterman MOSCOW | Fri Oct 4, 2013 1:25am BST MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia made clear on Thursday that FIFA’s chief investigator Michael Garcia is barred from entering the country because he is one of the Americans blacklisted in a bitter dispute with the United States over human rights. Garcia is stepping up his inquiry into voting procedures for the 2018 and 2022 football World Cups. He plans to visit every country directly involved in the voting for the finals awarded to Russia for 2018 and Qatar for 2022. But Garcia, a former U.S. federal prosecutor, is on a blacklist Moscow issued in June after Washington named 18 Russians barred from the United States for alleged involvement in lawyer Sergei Magnitsky’s death or other gross rights abuses. Garcia is barred from Russia because of his role in the prosecution of Viktor Bout, a Russian who was long wanted by U.S. authorities on suspicion of arms trafficking and is now serving a 25-year prison term in the United States. Russia’s “Guantanamo List” includes Americans it accuses of involved in torture at prisons and those involved in what it says have been the unfair, politically motivated arrests of Bout and other Russians by U.S. authorities. “Let there be no doubt: We intend to react firmly to unfriendly attacks and unceremonious infringements on the rights of Russian citizens,” the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday. “Anyone who is involved in such things should think hard.” The ministry said the United States would be to blame for any consequences of Garcia’s inability to enter Russia.

Russia charges all 30 Greenpeace activists with piracy

Right now, we just want simple human happiness.” Victoria and Dasha are just two of the fourteen LGBT subjects profiled in photographer Anastasia Ivanova’s touching series, ” From Russia with Love .” The project, covered in the queer arts and culture journal, Muff Magazine , features images of gay women living under Putin’s presidency, a regime that’s become infamous for its harsh anti-gay legislation . Victoria, 24 and Dasha, 27 “Sometimes our gay friends in Germany, America or England talk about their lives, and we feel as though its another world,” Olgerta and Lisa, two other subjects, told Ivanova. “No doubt they think the same about us, when we tell them of the situation in Russia. Our future is simple. We must leave.” Ivanova, and artistic director EA Bukanova, present the images of LGBT couples of all ages accompanied by personal stories about their relationships and personal lives. The women freely discuss how they met their significant others, the hardships they face as LGBT individuals, and the various hopes and dreams they have for their country. The stories range from beautiful accounts of romance in cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg to disheartening experiences that shed further light on the dismal human rights situation occurring overseas. Scroll through the photos of couples profiled in the story and head over to Muff Magazine for the full accounts. “In the future, all we want is to keep our little family together. Maybe if were lucky one day well have a child.” -Irina, 27 and Antonina, 31 “In public, we try not to hide our feelings, and are determined to hold hands and kiss each other freely, but the gay rights situation in Russia will end badly. The way we live makes us outlaws.” -Kate, 29 and Nina, 32 “We like to believe that one day the country will be free and happy, but in reality the policies our government is trying to implement do not seem to be ones that lead to a bright future.” -Katerina, 20 and Zhanna, 25 “There are no gay rights in Russia.

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Russian border guards then lowered themselves onto the Dutch-flagged Arctic Sunrise from a helicopter, locked up the crew and towed the ship to Murmansk located nearly 2,000 kilometres north of Moscow. Among those charged on Thursday was Russian freelance photojournalist Denis Sinyakov, a former AFP and Reuters staff photographer. The Kremlin’s council on human rights, an advisory body, said it was “extremely concerned” that the journalist covering the protest for a Russian online portal had been accused of piracy. “We unambiguously consider the arrest and the laying of the piracy charges against Denis Sinyakov as pressure on the media,” it said. Leading Russian media last week blacked out photographs on their websites in protest at his detention. Investigators on Wednesday charged a British freelance videographer. Those charged Thursday included the ship’s captain, American Peter Willcox. He was the captain of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship, bombed by French agents in New Zealand in 1985. The activists are being held in pre-trial detention centres in Murmansk and the nearby town of Apatity above the Arctic Circle. Lawyers for the 30 have filed appeals against the decision to hold them in detention. President Vladimir Putin has said that in his opinion the activists were not pirates but had breached international law by getting dangerously close to the oil rig. ‘This is not justice, it’s a reprisal’ Campaign groups including Human Rights Watch have called for their release. The unusually tough charges for a protest has sparked comparisons with the case of the Pussy Riot punks who were last year sentenced to two years in a penal colony for demonstrating against Putin in a Moscow church.

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