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

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“Hopefully one day well get a Jack Russell terrier. 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. Fighting for them feels like being involved in a criminal cabaret show and we dont want any part of it.” -Olga, 32 and Ulia, 28 “Weve been activists for almost fifteen years.

Russia charges 14 Greenpeace activists with piracy

The charges of piracy came despite President Vladimir Putin’s last week statement that the activists “of course are not pirates.” He however said that they had broken the law by protesting close to an oil rig. Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP on Wednesday that Putin had expressed his personal opinion. “He is not an investigator, nor a prosecutor, judge or defence lawyer.” Among those already charged were a British freelance videographer and a Finnish activist, who was one of the climbers who attempted to scale a Russian oil platform. Greenpeace says it will appeal and turn to the European Court of Human Rights. ‘Charges make mockery of justice’ Russian investigators opened a probe into piracy after several of the activists tried to scale state giant Gazprom’s Prirazlomnaya oil platform in the Barents Sea last month. The group has denied the charges and accused Russia of illegally boarding its ship in international waters. The 30 activists from 18 countries are being held in detention centres in the cities of Murmansk and Apatity, which are nearly 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) north of Moscow and above the Arctic Circle. The crew members are “close to shock” over their conditions in their jails, an activist said. They have complained of cold, smoke-filled cells, and a lack of suitable clothing and food, Irina Paikacheva, the head of a state-linked prisoners’ rights watchdog, told AFP. A handout picture taken on September 29, 2013 and released by Greenpeace International shows environ The Netherlands, the icebreaker’s flag country, last month urged Moscow to release the activists and said it was considering legal action. The charges sparked an outrage among rights activists, with Amnesty International saying they “make a mockery of the Russian justice system.” Maritime expert Mikhail Voitenko said that the activists might have deserved hooliganism charges, but that the piracy accusations were likely to damage Russia. “You have to be mentally deficient and inept to label their attempt to protest at the Prirazlomnaya ‘piracy,'” he wrote. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Wednesday that the government may toughen up punishment for trespassing at energy infrastructure. Greenpeace held a similar protest at the same oil platform last year without incurring any punishment.

Soccer-Russia says FIFA investigator Garcia unwelcome

Garcia is stepping up his inquiry into voting procedures for the 2018 and 2022 soccer 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. “Questions arising in connection with visa blacklists should be addressed to the initiators and executors of the extraterritorial and discriminatory ‘Magnitsky Act’, which contradicts norms of international law,” it said. (Editing by Greg Stutchbury) Dusty Baker is out as manager of the Cincinnati Reds, three days after his team lost the National League wild-card game to Pittsburgh. Associated Press

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