- Title: Russian millionaire's retail chain says gays not welcome
- Date: 26th May 2017
- Summary: MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA (MAY 24, 2017) (REUTERS) CAR DRIVING IN STREET WITH SHOP SIGN WITH NAME OF SHOP VARIOUS OF SIGN READING (Russian) 'No entry to faggots' CUSTOMERS AT SHOP BREAD ON SHELF (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) SHOP ASSISTANT, ALYONA, SAYING: "As a true Christian, I share such opinion and I am fine with the signboard. It is our guarding talisman." PHOTOS OF GERMAN STERLIGOV AND HIS SONS IN FRAME CUSTOMER AT SHOP MILK AND COTTAGE CHEESE IN FRIDGE CUSTOMER AT CASHIER DESK PRODUCTS ON SHELVES (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) CUSTOMER, YELENA, SAYING: "I view it positively, 10 out of 10." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE AT FAIR VARIOUS OF BUSINESSMAN AND FARMER GERMAN STERLIGOV TAKING HORSE BY BRIDLE WOMEN WATCHING (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) BUSINESS OWNER, GERMAN STERLIGOV, SAYING: "Homosexuals and sodomites, those who in our common, Russian lexicon we now call 'faggots' are not allowed on our territory. In front of our eyes is the historical experience of Sodom and Gomorrah when God burned these towns. And along with homosexuals and sodomites other people were burned - children, women, and those who were not sodomites." PEOPLE IN FRONT OF STALLS WITH WOODEN GOODS (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) BUSINESS OWNER, GERMAN STERLIGOV, SAYING: "We welcome the initiatives of Donald Trump who pursues the same policy in the United States, in a softer manner though. We hope that Russian leaders would support the U.S. president in all these endeavours." VARIOUS OF WOMEN DOING CATWALK PEOPLE WATCHING CATWALK VARIOUS OF WOMEN DURING CATWALK RAINBOW FLAG LGBT-ACTIVIST, NIKOLAI KAVKAZSKY, WORKING ON COMPUTER HAND ON COMPUTER MOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) LGBT-ACTIVIST, NIKOLAI KAVKAZSKY, SAYING: "It happens in Russia because every day homophobia and religious fundamentalism are relatively widespread. And German Sterligov is a representative of a radical Orthodox religious movement inside Russian Orthodox Church, and it is a state policy to discriminate LGBT." VARIOUS OF CROWDED STREET HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH RESEARCHER YULIA GORBUNOVA WORKING ON COMPUTER HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT ON TABLE (SOUNDBITE) (Russian) HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH RESEARCHER, YULIA GORBUNOVA, SAYING: "Things like these, they promote homophobia in already extremely homophobic society. And it only leads to rise in tensions, it makes society that is already fractured more fractured. And ultimately it creates resentment and it promotes hatred. And hatred results usually in the rise in hate crimes, and the state certainly has responsibility to stop that and step in." DEROGATORY SIGN OUTSIDE OF SHOP READING (Russian) 'No entry to faggots' SHOP NAME
- Embargoed: 9th June 2017 12:37
- Keywords: German Sterligov entry ban LGBT chain stores Moscow Russia
- Location: MOSCOW AND MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA
- City: MOSCOW AND MOSCOW REGION, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0016IH56BR
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A chain of Russian food stores run by a devoutly religious nationalist businessman has placed signs in its windows saying gay customers will be refused entry.
Russia decriminalised homosexuality in 1993, two years after the fall of the Soviet Union, and Russian law prohibits sexual discrimination. But prejudices still run deep and much of the gay community remains underground.
"No entry for faggots," read a wooden plate at the entrance to one of German Sterligov's shops in central Moscow.
Sterligov, 50, became a millionaire by opening a mercantile exchange shortly before the Soviet Union's demise. Later in his career he turned devoutly religious and retreated with his family to rural Russia to sell organic farm produce.
"In front of our eyes is the historical experience of Sodom and Gomorrah when God burned these towns," Sterligov told Reuters Television at a country fair outside Moscow referring to a passage from the Old Testament.
Addressing the farm fair through a loudspeaker, Sterligov praised U.S. President Donald Trump, who was swift to revoke his predecessor Barack Obama's landmark guidance to public schools allowing transgender students to use the bathroom of their choice.
Yulia Gorbunova, a Human Rights Watch researcher, said the retail chain's disregard for the law sent a dangerous message in a country where homophobia remains prevalent.
"It seems like they are promoting homophobia in an already homophobic society and it only leads to rising tensions," she told Reuters Television. "The state certainly has a responsibility to stop that and step in."
Alyona, a young assistant in one of Sterligov's Moscow stores, said she shared the chain's stance on homosexuals "as a true Christian".
"It's our guarding talisman," she said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied he discriminates against sexual minorities.
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