During the 2014 Sochi Olympic, the conversation about LGBT Russians spread globally. Just months after the closing ceremony, that same conversation seems to be put on the back burner as LGBT Russians continue to struggle with safety in their own country. New bills become implemented that tighten the already horrible laws which deny LGBT citizens the rights they deserve.
As The Daily Beast reported, Tatiana Vinnichenko, director of the Russian LGBT organization Rakurs spoke to shed some light on the discrimination the LGBT community faces daily. Due to recent laws passed, the Russian government has the power to declare an organization a foreign agent as an administrative matter. In other words, any LGBT organization or an event can be labeled as spy.
As Vinnichenko reports, Russian institutions are now pressured by the government not to do business with LGBT people. This is existential as all institutions require a government issued license. The government tells banks, “Dump your LGBT customers, or we’ll shut you down,” she said. Similar rules apply to LGBT organizations. If a bank has an LGBT organization as one of their clients, they can lose their license to operate.
When asked if she would leave the country to seek asylum, Vinnichenko replied: “Everyone I know. Not everyone can leave—there are people without enough money, without specialized skills, women with children. How can I leave them?” So far she plans to stay in the country unless the new proposed law passes which would strip LGBT families of their children. “This bill is in committee and could be voted on at any time,” she said. “They could do it tomorrow.” If the bill were to become law, Vinnichenko predicts “a mass exodus” of LGBT families, including her own.
Since the Propaganda laws passed in Russia many individuals faced a great deal of discrimination. In 2013 Anton Krasovsky, a Russian political journalist and television personality came out while live on Russia's KrontrTV. He chose to come out at a very difficult time for LGBT Russians which took place during the controversial new anti-gay "propaganda" law. Immediately following his announcement, Krasovsky lost his job. Krasovsky is an example of how difficult can be to be being openly out in Russia. We are aware of his story due to the fact that he is a TV personality. The numbers of people who are denied work or housing for being LGBT is unknown.