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Southern Russia Goes After Feminists

There’s a lot of things that Russians are afraid of: having their leader made fun of, plunging headfirst into the next World War (which, considering the political climate, is quite possible), the entire country going into a revolt against the government, etc.

A lot of them are afraid of the entire LGBTQ+ spectrum.

This, of course, means that they’re afraid of feminists as well. So much that being feminist is considered an “extremist activity.” Any nation’s occupant would do whatever they can to stamp out extremist activities.

In the southern part of Russia, near the Black Sea region, a camp for feminists was planned. It had been scheduled to run from August 18th to the 24th, and prohibitedsexism, homophobia, transphobia and any kind of xenophobia in general.” Anyone who supported the idea of feminism or wanted to know more about it was invited, but were required to fill out a questionnaire before being considered for the camp.

Five such women – Lolita Agamalova, Lada Garina, Elena Ivanova, Taisia Simonova, and Oksana Vasyakina – had been on their way to participate in the camp. They rented a cottage in Dzhubga, an area near the campsite. Early Monday morning, five men broke into the cottage, and claimed to be policemen. The women were taken down to the police station. Their phones were confiscated, they were interrogated extensively, and they were nearly coerced into signing a document stating that they had been warned against participating in any “extremist activity.”

The camp had already been cancelled due to security reasons. The group hosting the camp had received attack threats from a another group known as the Cossacks, who claim to be a “separate ethnic group” in the country that is devoted to military rule, conservatism, and who consider themselves to be “culture warriors.” This wasn’t the first time that the group had been violent.

In 2014, they attacked the band Pussy Riot for their high-heeled dances, claiming that they were “gay propaganda.” They also played a key role in Russia’s Ukrainian crisis, fighting as individual units to the point where the only competition they had were from other separatist groups.

“The government should be thankful to us, but we haven’t seen thankfulness for either Crimea or Donbas. Although Crimea and Donbas showed that the Cossacks are a real force,” said Alexander Mozhayev, or Babay, as is his war name. With their violence, the Cossacks have indeed shown that they are willing to do whatever it takes in order to enforce their way of life.

Obviously, the idea of a feminist camp would not have sat well with them.

After being released from the police station, four of the original five women went to the town of Geledzhik, where there was a camping site housing other feminists. However, these four women were detained once more by the Cossacks, who were attempting to fingerprint them. They were asked intrusive questions about their trip as well. The police were even willing accomplices, and they helped interrogate the women’s friends in order to prevent more feminists from gathering. All were finally released, this time only after signing the document warning them against “extremist activities.”

It is quite the recession of society when women aren’t even allowed to gather to discuss ideas.

Featured Image by Jeremy Noble on Flickr
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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