Auf Bitten des St. Petersburger Aktivisten Daniil Grachev veröffentlichen wir seinen Brief an die weltweite Öffentlichkeit anlässlich des Beginns des G20-Gipfels in St. Petersburg am 5. September 2013:
My name is Daniil Grachev. G20 Summit has opened today here, in St. Petersburg. It means that Vladimir Putin, the self-proclaimed president of Russia, is going to be telling other leaders of G20 that Russia has no problems with human rights or LGBT discrimination whatsoever. Since I consider these statements to be utter lies, I’ve decided to hold an individual protest in order to debunk the lie and reveal the true face of the Sochi Olympics.
I was being interviewed by Reuters opposite the Sochi Olympics Countdown when I got assaulted with a cake – which effectively ended my communiqué to the press. I've prepared this article instead. I would be very thankful if your editorial board could publish this text so all those wonderful people all over the world who are supporting us today could learn more about what we think about Sochi and what is really going on here.
Nuremberg Trials, not Sochi Olympics
My name is Daniil Grachev. I’m a Russian LGBT rights activist. I have decided to address you in the light of growing concerns of the world community for the situation around the LGBT rights in Russia.
First off, allow me to thank you all for the ongoing support that we receive during this hardship. In the very beginning, we could not have imagined that this turn of events would be met with so much sympathy and opposition – so, thank you all very much.
In the Russia of today, a rigid authoritarian regime is at play. Exhibit A: discrimination against minorities, LGBT included, that leads to actual victims; B: religious obscurantism with full government support; C: political prisoners, in abundance - not only Pussy Riot, but also those who have been punished for not being afraid to speak their mind on what is really going on here; D: “senters of temporrary” concentration camps for immigrants; E: no working legal system, no freedom of speech, no freedom of assembly. These are the proof of a systematic and deliberate Nazism-oriented policy that pursues a single goal: to enrich the ruling elite and retain the power over the State at any cost.
This being said, I cannot perceive the upcoming Sochi Olympics as anything but the Russian government trying to legitimize its current non-legal regime and find justification for it in the eyes of the world community. That is why I believe that the global support for the 2014 Summer Olympics would only lead to strengthening of authoritarian tendencies in Russia and total disruption of human rights, on par with 1936 Berlin Olympics that allowed Hitler to keep the Nazi power in Germany and culminated in millions perishing.
And so, in this respect, Sochi Olympics can only be perceived as a venue for expression universal solidarity and support for the victims of discrimination and human rights violations taking place all over Russia. You might think that little can be done on this score since they have forbidden the gay pride in Sochi. But it seems to me, that simple acts like same-sex couples holding hands or kissing are not the worst way of civil protest, surely? Holding pride flags or pro-gay banners, too.
I use this opportunity to address you, the people of the world, and implore you to oppose the atrocities of Putin. Don’t give him the honour he doesn’t deserve. As a common dictator, someday he will get his Nuremberg trials. But I also know this day is not coming soon. Till then, we will stand strong, however difficult it might be.