What is your first thought when someone talks about Russia nowadays? Let me guess. In all likelihood they say that it has unstable or negative relations with about one-fifth of the countries in the world.
Living in Russia, we don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. Having a stable job especially in an international company doesn’t mean that we will not be forced to look for another position a few weeks later. We can never be certain that the sector won’t be subject to sanctions in the near future.1 The same thing is the case with products where we had to abandon some European ones that we got used to.
Nowadays the situation has become even more unpredictable – it is as if the civil population should be preparing for war, but the war I want to talk about is different. It is an internal war, a figurative one, in society.
|Syktyvkar, Russia – A man in autumn|
After the Russian “Gay Propaganda Act” was passed in 2013, we saw a change in society’s attitude. Before the law, people were more neutral to same-sex interaction, but the passing of the law has made it seem like a negative attitude has developed with respect to homosexuals, and the number of crimes has risen.2 There are also groups that attack homosexuals. An example of this is when community participants meet online with homosexuals, then meet in real life and assault them.3 These organizations are in different regions of Russia with different intentions, from extortion to murder. The worst thing here is that not only an aggressive attitude has appeared in the aftermath of this law, but the police do not want to react to such cases. In this context we cannot stay calm if we don’t know how people will react to a confession.
|Saint Petersburg, Russia – Ahead|
The new law has caused lots of people to shift from neutral to negative. There is always tension when talking about ourselves. We have to decide whether we can tell our colleagues the truth about our partner and be free in conversation. We may have to change our job even if we like it.4 Furthermore, we have to counter efforts where people look for homosexuals in particular and force them to leave their job, particularly if it is connected with children. Finally, it is also possible for people to be fired just because of their sexual orientation.5
|Kazan, Russia – Teenagers|
|Saint Petersburg, Russia – Up close|
In our society it is still strange for people to observe a same-sex pair hugging or kissing. In public places, this prompts disapproving glances and comments. It is very hard to find people with whom we can talk frankly without being laughed at. In big cities like Moscow and St. Petersburg, the situation is better since people are more progressive. To some extent, it depends on the general development of the city, both in technical and social terms. Big cities are international; everything is in flux, with different opinions and experiences. They are full of new information and motion, bringing them closer to international trends and subject to influence. And thanks to the internet, we have access to any information we want, although some websites devoted to homosexuals are being closed because they allegedly engage in “propaganda” despite their intention being to help homosexuals find any help or information they need.
|Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia – In|
It is important to have access to good information online so people can know the truth. People have to know that homosexuality doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with a person, but that it is a normal process that starts to unfold in the body of the woman while pregnant. When people do not know about this, there is always a high level of homophobia.
|Sevastopol, Russia – At the market|
Nowadays the church is playing a bigger role in society. The Orthodox church has become more powerful in recent years. New churches have been built instead of kindergartens. Last year, a plan was even announced to build new Orthodox kindergartens.7 The stronger the church, the more powerful its message for the people. The Patriarch’s speeches have caused lots of religious people to dislike homosexuals. According to the Orthodox church, homosexuality is unnatural, which is why it has to be fixed, and they say that it is possible with the church’s help.8 Even if their position is unscientific, people still believe them.
|Zavodoukovsk, Russia – On the beach|
The church’s view and the mood in society have driven people to leave Russia for other places. This is not just based on observation. According to the Federal State Statistics Service,9 there has been a dramatic increase in emigration since 2012 (almost three times higher in 2016 and nine times higher than in 2011). These numbers show the rise in people’s distrust of the government.
|Moscow, Russia – At the crossing|
The picture of uncertainty in Russia is not very pretty, and the official numbers prove this. Now that the government has decided to make tough rules, people want to move to other countries. We do not believe that life will get better, even if we protest against the new laws. Since we have such discontent citizens, this means that Russia still has to make lots of changes. We hope that one day we can be free in the choice of our partner, and we can say that Russian society is tolerant of our choice.
1. Шашина, Ольга. “Лекарство от санкций: к чему приведет запрет товаров из США.” BBC Русская Служба. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: http://www.bbc.com/russian/amp/features-43756120
2. “Десятки умирают только потому, что они геи.” Lenta.ru. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: https://lenta.ru/articles/2017/09/25/gey/
3. “В обществе усилилась агрессия к ЛГБТ” Коммерсантъ. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/2995788
4. “Уволенная за гомосексуальность учительница обратилась в суд.” РБК. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: https://www.rbc.ru/spb_sz/27/05/2015/5592b74c9a7947f6f764ac38
5. Владимирова, Виктория. “МЧС уволило лесбиянку за каминг-аут.” Сноб. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: https://snob.ru/selected/entry/95680
6. Баданин, Роман. “«Господин Путин, вы нормально спите ночами?»: рассказ «первого» чеченского трансгендера, сумевшего выжить и сбежать в США.” Дожд. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: https://tvrain.ru/teleshow/reportazh/leila-434953/
7. “Святейший Патриарх Кирилл: Важно открывать новые приходские детские сады.” Русская Православная Церковь. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: http://www.patriarchia.ru/db/text/5046065.html
8. “В РПЦ заявили, что церковь может исправить ориентацию геев.” Россия сегодня. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: https://ria.ru/religion/20180218/1514880841.html
9. Федеральная служба государственной статистики. Retrieved on August 16, 2018: http://www.gks.ru
Photo 1: Magadan, Russia – Soon – Artem Kovalev
Photo 2: Syktyvkar, Russia – A man in autumn – Aleksandr Potashev
Photo 3: Saint Petersburg, Russia – Ahead – Mark Alexandrovich
Photo 4: Kazan, Russia – Teenagers – Tatiana Nefedova
Photo 5: Saint Petersburg, Russia – Up close – Mark Alexandrovich
Photo 6: Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia – In – Timofey Logachev
Photo 7: Sevastopol, Russia – At the market – Fancycrave
Photo 8: Zavodoukovsk, Russia – On the beach – Anatoliy Matveychuk
Photo 9: Moscow, Russia – At the crossing – Alexander Popov
Cinemblem: Perypatetik youtube channel
The Codex of Uncertainty Transposed
Awdejuk, Pawel. Niepewność – The Road to Freedom – Poland. July 2018.
Bell, Sarah. The Bushfire Drive – Australia. July 2018.
Bondarenko, Evgeny. Twenty Plus Years. August 2018.
Cajoto, Christina. The Trajectory of Life – España. August 2018.
Castañeda, Martha Corzo. Worried Workers – Peru. February 2018.
Cooleridge, Tweeney. Uncertainty in the Abstract – Slovakia. March 2018.
Cordido, Veronica. The Crib of Uncertainty – Venezuela. January 2018.
Dastan, S.A. Uncertain Waters – Turkey. March 2019.
Electra P. Aβεβαιότητα: The Enemy of Romantic Relationships – Greece. February 2018
Escandell, Andrea da Silva. Compromise – Uruguay. March 2018
Goumiri, Abdennour. Uncertainty Is All There Is – France. February 2018.
Guerrero, Marilin. Crossing the Uncertain Path of Life – Cuba. February 2018.
Guillot, Iuliana. Preparing for Change – Romania. June 2018.
Huihao, Mu. Going the Uncertain Way. July 2017.
Julber, Lillian. What Will Tomorrow Bring? – Chile. July 2018.
Kanunova, Nigina. Metamporphoses in Modern Life. June 2018.
Konbaz, Rahaf. So You Say You Want A Revolution – Syria. March 2018.
Korneeva, Kate. One We – Russia. April 2018.
Krnceska, Sofija. No Name Country – Macedonia. May 2018.
Lassa, Verónica. The Old Eastern Books of Uncertainty – Argentina. May 2018.
Lozano, Gabriela. El cuchillo de la incertidumbre : Piercing Uncertainty – México. January 2018.
Phelps, Jade. Healing Journey Pulls Us Apart – America. June 2018.
Romano, Mavi. An Uncertain Democracy – Spain. April 2018
Ranaldo, Mary. Incerto or Flexible: Italia and UK. March 2018.
Çakır, Peren. Building a Future in Times of Uncertainty – Argentina and Turkey. May 2018.
Sanmartín, Virginia. Qué Será, Será – Spain. June 2018.
Samir, Ahmed. Uncertainty in Personal Life. January 2018.
Sekulić, Jelena. Nesigurnost of the Past, Present and Future – Serbia. June 2018.
Sepi, Andreea. Uncertainties Galore – Germany. April 2018.
Sitorus, Rina. When Uncertainty Reaches the Land of Certainty – Indonesia and the Netherlands. May 2018.
Quintero, Jonay. The Fear of Not Knowing – España. January 2018.
Vuka. Lacking Uncertainty in Political Culture – Serbia. April 2018.
Translators and writers from Britain, Portugal, Serbia, Germany, India and other parts of the world…