Yelena Mizulina, chair of the State Duma Committee on Family, Women and Childrens’ Affairs, is the infamous Russia politician who co-authored the “homosexual propaganda” law that banned advocating for gay rights. She is a member of the Just Russia party who has also been elected to parliament from the Communist Party, Yabloko, and Union of Right Forces. She also advocated adding language to the Russian constitution that would effectively identify the country with the Russian Orthodox Church.
Natalia Narochnitskaya has been a member of the constitutional Democratic Party and Derzhava [Great Power] party and is known for her radical conservativism and support of Russian military action in the Chechen wars and opposition to NATO action in the former Yugoslavia. In 2008, she was appointed head of the Paris offfice of the Russian state-sponsored Institute of Democracy and Cooperation.
On November 23, they spoke at the “For the Future of the Family” conference in Leipzig, Germany. According to Spiegel, Mizulina spoke out against gays, abortion, and the decline in family values:
Mizulina’s family policy wish list is a long one: Among the legislative initiatives she’d like to pursue are a tax on divorce, recommendations for married couples to have at least three children and a ban on emergency contraceptive pills. Mizulina denied claims that her country’s gay community is subjected to violence while standing in front of a wall with the inscription “Courage to speak truth.”
This editorial in Fontanka argues that Mizulina’s ideas would be harmful for the Russian economy, if they aren’t objectionable for other reasons. – Ed.
Yelena Mizulina made sudden progress recently in discovering the true nature of homosexuality. After spending time in Leipzig and gathering information about the local gay community, like a real professor and doctor of science, she has undertaken the classification of the specimens she has studied.
It must be admitted, to be sure, that the information came to Mizulina on its own, and even blocked her path at the conference. Representatives of sexual minorities protesting with the full permission of the police prevented Mrs. Mizulina and Mrs. Narochnitskaya from passing, and then even attacked them. After encountering such undisguised aggression (it would be impossible to call it disguised, since secretly from police, a gay old man in a cherry-colored jacket booted Mizulina in the leg), the deputy of the State Duma, fortunately, didn’t grow flustered, and was able to speak at a conference and then embarked on her philosophical generalizations.
Such things fortunately are entirely impossible in Russia, Mizulina noted. Our gays are more friendly and even more intellectual than the Germans. Mrs. Mizulina discovered this by looking the hostile gays in the eyes, as she put it.
On the whole, foreign gay capitalism demonstrated its beastly bared teeth to Mrs. Mizulina. The intolerance, aggressiveness and hostility of the Leipzig gay community seriously shocked her during the direct clash. It immediately became clear that German gays have no need of pity or empathy. Evidently, they also don’t need financial support, since, in the words of Mrs. Mizulina, young people handed out money behind the bushes to those who took part in the action. Apparently, the gay oligarchs hire gay students through gay politicians, and that is called “civil society” in their country.
Why gay Slavs are better than gay Teutons is still not completely clear from Mizulina’s story. Either it’s because under Vladislav Surkov’s sovereign democracy in Russia, even gays are inclined to display only positive features. Or it’s because such qualities as kindness, sobornost’ [Russian Orthodox term for spiritual community], Tolstoyanism, love for one’s fellow man and the effort to turn the other cheek (or whatever else they turn) in reply to a hostile attack is a priori inherent in the gay Slavic soul.
I don’t know if Professor Mizulina is familiar with the works of representatives of Russian religious thought, but it has to be admitted that her discoveries in the field of gay anthropology are entirely consistent with the national philosophical tradition. The Russian gay is better than the Western gay, who is corrupted by the world of hard cash. Those German gays became gay because they were tempted behind the bushes by a few bucks, whereas ours strayed from the path of righteousness and departed from Russian Orthodoxy because they cannot stand, like Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov, to see a single tear from an unhappy child.
Nevertheless, let us step back from dubious gay anthropology and take up regular sociology, and for that matter, without Prof. Mizulina’s help, but with the help of Prof. Richard Florida. He is one of the most popular authors today in American science who has developed a theory of the creative class. Florida has demonstrated which people society should develop if it wishes to bring about modernization in the manner in which Dmitry Medvedev used to love to talk.
I will not reiterate banal truths about the need to create a favorable investment climate for capital. I would like to draw attention only to one paradoxical issue concerning our homophobic legislation.
Florida demonstrates how in the USA, precisely in those places where there was a more tolerant attitude toward gays, a more favorable atmosphere for creative activity was formed and then accordingly, the economy grows and fundamentally new goods and services appear. In fact, this doesn’t happen at all because gays are supposedly the most creative people. In fact, the successes and invention of new ideas and products come from people of various ethnicities and sexual orientations. It’s just that homophobia is a litmus test by which intellectuals of the 21st Century judge the presence of freedom as a whole.
If in a given city, a normal atmosphere for creativity and for relaxation has formed, then most likely attitudes toward sexual minorities are tolerant. And if there are problems with gays, then apparently there will be problems one way or another with all freedoms that are required for the creative person. Thus, the best intellectuals do not try to go to a place where homophobia is established even if they are offered high pay there. After all, for intellectuals in the 21st century, the world doesn’t consist only of cash. These people appreciate lifestyle as a whole, and that means the presence of freedoms.
The strategy we have in Russia of attracting brains (including through Skolkovo [the government’s effort to make a “Silicon Valley”] is completely formed by the standards of the past centuries. It consists of the idea that you can buy any brains for money, and very big brains for very big money (even Nobel laureates). But the experience of the functioning of the creative class in America demonstrates that free creation demands not only money but also the lifestyle in which creative people can function happily. If a person is simply attracted to the bucks, then there is a great likelihood that in reality he will not turn out to be so creative after all.
In general, today in Russia an intellectual atmosphere prevails which by some parameters was characteristic of America and Europe in the 1950s, in the 20th century (when there was still homophobia in the West) but by other parameters, it’s even like the 1930s. But to try to convince the advocates of ideas of the past that their energetic patriotic and Orthodox activity is slowing the development of our country (including even the military technical sector) is completely pointless.
For those who see the basic development of hierarchical systems with brutal subordination to the bosses and the provision of the minimum of freedoms for the creative part of society, the philosophy of the creative class is virtually incomprehensible. People who consider modernization the result of strict obedience to commands find it hard to try for themselves the lifestyle of that part of society creating from internal impulses and stimuli produced in a free market.