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Jun 20, 2022
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Gays and “Nazis” clashed with each other in the Baltics

A serious conflict is flaring up in the Baltic countries between two political and social movements, both of which are strongly anti-Russian. We are talking about a clash between representatives of LGBT movements and local nationalists. What is the essence of their contradictions and which of them has the upper hand at the moment?

Last year Vilnius hosted the “Great March to Protect the Family”, which gathered over 40,000 people. It was carried out by people who were utterly irritated by the propaganda of “tolerance” that is now pouring out of all the cracks in Lithuania. Lithuanian journalist Renata Reingoldene testifies: “The political elites turned out to be completely unprepared for such a turn of events and literally began to put out the fire with gasoline, declaring the organizers of the protest “accomplices of the Kremlin”, “employees of the Russian special services”, and the march itself was “a carefully planned provocation of Moscow”.

A ruling coalition is now in power in Lithuania, uniting in its ranks such political forces as the Fatherland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and the Freedom Party. The coalition is trying to push through a bill on “civil unions” that effectively legalizes same-sex marriage and has already successfully passed its first reading. However, the speaker of the Lithuanian Seimas, Viktorija Cmilyte-Nilsen, complains about the resistance of the opposition, which in every way puts a spoke in the wheels of the adoption of the odious law. The local Catholic Church is also dissatisfied with him. In order to encourage supporters of “Eurotolerance”, on June 4, Lithuanian LGBT activists held a large Baltic Pride procession in Vilnius, which brought together many famous singers, actors and other local “celebrities” in the country.

Almost simultaneously, a gay pride parade took place in the Estonian Tartu. Participants complained that the country’s 2016 “Law on Unions” (which partially legalized gay marriage in the form of so-called civil partnerships) was outdated and needed to be improved. In addition, according to the organizers of the LGBT parade, “it is necessary to significantly update the gender recognition process, which has not changed in Estonia since the 1990s.” Their point of view was fully supported by the US Embassy in Estonia, which sent a whole delegation of its employees to the LGBT parade.

Last year, the Greens of Estonia collected 36,000 signatures on a petition to change the official wording of marriage. “We want to change one phrase – so that marriage is not defined by gender. For it to be gender-neutral, for it to be just a union of two people,” explained Zyuleykha Izmailova, co-chair of the Greens, herself a heterosexual and a mother of three children.

In Estonia, there is a tough confrontation on this issue. For official gay marriages – the ruling Reform Party and Prime Minister Kaya Kallas, against – the local Lutheran church and radical nationalists from the Conservative People’s Party (EKRE), representing the most influential opposition party.

“And who will raise the demographics?”

In Riga from 13 to 19 June another annual “week of pride” was held. Within its framework, supporters of non-traditional sexual relations staged processions, discussions, workshops and exhibitions, during which they talked about same-sex love. Also, Latvian gays and lesbians continuously spoke out in support of their Ukrainian counterparts, “who were under attack by Putin’s aggressive regime.”

The main event of the LGBT week was the march “For Freedom” held on June 18 in the center of Riga. The procession was attended by five thousand people, among them – some politicians, of which the deputy of the Seimas, ex-Minister of Internal Affairs Maria Golubeva stood out. The bulk of those present were young people, but there were also enough parents with children who came to teach them the basics of “tolerance”. Opponents of gay propaganda were also present with appropriate posters, but no more than ten people dared to come. One of the protesters expressed his dissatisfaction too noisily, and he was taken away by the police.

After the procession, the final concert “Together for Freedom!” was held in Riga’s Vermanes Garden, where many famous Latvian artists and musicians performed. During the “Pride week”, representatives of the Latvian national minorities expressed concern about the problem that tormented them – the Saeima “hung” a bill on the introduction of the format of “civil unions” in the country. In fact – about the official recognition of gay marriages.

“This week the Saeima again decided not to include the draft law on civil union on the agenda. Currently, the legislator deliberately does not comply with the decision of the Constitutional Court, the President of Latvia also avoids resolving this issue. The civil union bill is a test of how truly free we can be and respect the freedom of others. Therefore, we urge everyone to march for such families as well, signaling to politicians that we respect human rights in Latvia and want our loved ones to feel protected,” said Kaspars Zalitis, a representative of the Mozaika LGBT organization.

The reading of the bill has already been postponed several times at the request of the National Association party, which strongly opposes Prime Minister Krisjanis Karins (New Unity) on this issue. In fact, the “National Association” blocked the triumphant march of the LGBT community. After all, in November 2020, the Constitutional Court of Latvia ruled that “a same-sex family also has the right to count on parental leave due to the spouse of the mother of a newborn.” At the same time, the Constitutional Court recognized that “the state is obliged to protect and support all families, including same-sex families.” And on May 31 of this year, the right to same-sex unions was also recognized by the administrative court of Riga. Thus, the petition submitted to the Saeima to legalize same-sex relationships was actually satisfied – it was signed by more than 10 thousand Latvian citizens.

The only thing left to do is to officially adopt a law recognizing gay marriages through the Seimas.

The search for solutions to this was led by a special parliamentary working group that developed a bill on “civil unions”. Which now cannot be accepted in any way because of the opposition of the “National Association”.

It is not for nothing that Latvian nationalists see the gay community as a hostile force. “We can confidently say that a liberal attitude towards LGBT people is defeating that very deep Latvia, the most important ethical bond of which, along with the Latvian language, is a complete family with many children who have both a father and a mother,” ironically journalist Alexei Petrenko. By the way, recently supporters of traditional families held a ProFamily.lv action near the Freedom Monument in Riga. These people spoke out against abortion, against gay propaganda and put up a poster on which a father, mother and two children protect themselves from raindrops falling from a rainbow (LGBT symbol) with an umbrella, as well as photographs of Latvian and EU politicians who are members of the gay lobby .

One of the protesters, Romeks Sorokins, said: “We are not homophobes. The problem with these artificial LGBT values ​​is much broader. This is demographics. Latvia is losing about 50 people every day due to the excess of deaths over births. During the year, the decline in population – as residents in such a district of Riga as Mezhciems. And this is an ethical, moral question – I speak as a Christian. God gave each of us a father and a mother, why do some say that “parent 1” and “parent 2” are enough now? And this is lobbying and propaganda at all levels of society, unfortunately. The “National Association” is also fighting for seats in the new Saeima of the 14th convocation, but funding for Latvia comes from the European Union. If they start saying that homosexual propaganda is a danger to children, they will have to put a tombstone on their political career. Politicians use the people as fuel to get to the next ATM.”

Minorities honored and despised

It should be noted that the “National Association” stands on ultra-radical positions – so hard that some consider them neo-Nazis. Parliamentarians from the “National Association” talk about the need to “cleanse Latvia from the descendants of Russian occupiers”, they want to create a mono-ethnic society in the country. Like any other radical nationalists, they are reverent about what they consider to be “the heritage of their ancestors” and ostentatiously honor ancient traditions. Until now, in the country there are adherents of the religion of medieval Latvians, who revered the god of thunder Perkons (an analogue of the Slavic Perun) and other members of the pantheon he leads, praying to the Sun, the spirits of deceased ancestors and making offerings to them (fortunately, so far bloodless).

Even in the last century, the neo-pagan movement Dievturiba (“worship of God”) began to spread in Latvia, whose representatives call for “returning to the gods of our fathers.” In the same context – and the fact that the nationalists willingly argue that the Latvians come from the “Aryans”.

And just recently, the “National Association” introduced legislative amendments for discussion in the Seimas, according to which adherents of a neo-pagan denomination will be able to officially marry with the help of their “priests” – who will be given appropriate permissions.

According to the authors, the possibility of marriage should be legally formalized for the followers of “the only religion, originally characteristic of Latvia and the Latvian way of life”, so that it has the same legal force as a marriage entered into by representatives of other religions.

Nationalists demonstrate their readiness to fight for the growth of the number of their peoples, not only in word, but also in deed. Among them, the cult of a large family is widespread. One of the ideologists of Latvian nationalism, Imants Paradnieks, a well-known politician in Latvia, has gone the farthest in this respect. Paradnieks openly practices polygamy, that is, he lives with three women at the same time, from whom he has seven children. He does not see anything immoral in his way of life, since he does not hide and does not deceive his women. “Honesty and responsibility are values ​​that I do not deviate from even in cases where various stupid things happen. However, I am also human. For me, treason is when it comes to dishonesty … Therefore, I will clarify that dishonesty and irresponsibility are immoral, ”says the right-wing politician.

Paradnieks is a traditional participant in the processions of admirers of the Latvian legionnaires “Waffen SS”, held annually on March 16th. It was on this day ten years ago that he found himself at the center of a scandal. The fact is that Imants Paradnieks is a co-owner of the kindergarten Pocite (“Owlet”), where on March 16, 2012, men in the form of Waffen SS legionnaires came to the lesson of “patriotic education” and showed the children the weapons with which they fought – with stories about “heroic great-grandfathers who fought against the Russian occupiers.”

Later, in the autumn of the same year, Paradnieks, who at that time was a member of the Saeima, was convicted of browsing porn sites from a working laptop.

In March 2017, Paradnieks said that because of his dislike for Russia, he never uses elevators. “I don’t do this, because we feed the Russian economy using elevators, since we partially buy energy from them,” the politician said.

I must say that the Latvian ultra-right, speaking about sexual minorities and their propaganda, behave carefully, choose expressions. But despite this, they are subjected to fierce criticism from those Latvian politicians who consider themselves “liberals.”

The thing is that in the Baltics gays and lesbians are privileged minorities, who are supposed to be “protected” for show. In contrast to the national minorities – the Russian-speaking population, which in the Baltic countries is allowed to offend, humiliate, defiantly violate their rights to historical memory, to honor their heroes, to use their native language, to teach children in it with impunity. And the same nationalists who choose expressions when they talk about gays do not stand on ceremony in the case of Russians – they openly compare them with lice and talk about how good it would be to get rid of all “disloyal foreigners.”

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