January 23, 2018
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Russia’s New Scapegoats

A Russian journalist is murdered in St. Petersburg – not for what he’s reported, but for being gay. Reveal exposes what it’s like to be gay today in Russia, where hateful rhetoric against the LGBT community appears on a daily basis on TV and in speeches by politicians. Reveal teamed up with Coda Story to trace the roots of the anti-gay movement and shows how President Vladimir Putin uses this agenda to quash political dissent, exert influence on neighboring nations and bash the West. Coda Story is a new media venture that does in-depth crisis reporting, and for the past six months, it’s been focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

We begin in St. Petersburg, which for centuries was known as Russia’s most open and European city but now has become the epicenter of Russian homophobia, with deadly consequences. We tell the story of a gay Russian journalist who was murdered in his apartment by a young suspect who proudly calls himself “the cleaner.” We talk to a politician whose homophobic laws and rhetoric have unleashed this kind of violence and to a vigilante who has targeted dozens of gay and lesbian teachers.

Putin’s anti-gay policies are finding surprising support in our own backyard. Our next segment takes us to a conference in Tbilisi, Georgia, organized by the World Congress of Families, which is based in Illinois. We meet one of Putin’s closest allies, who is developing connections with anti-gay activists in the U.S. and around the world.

Putin and his government have been selling their anti-gay message to the Russian people using the state-run media. We hear the propaganda that Russians are consuming on a daily basis on the evening news.


  • Explore: Coda Story’s coverage of the LGBT crisis
  • Read: Politics and repression – how longtime political activists are overlooked in the West
  • Watch: The story of one man caught up in Kyrgyzstan’s homophobic violence


Support for Reveal is provided by The Reva and David Logan Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and Mary and Steven Swig.

Track list:

  • Camerado, “True Game (Reveal show theme)” (Cut-Off Man Records)
  • Aphex Twin, “s950tx16wasr10 [163.97][earth portal mix]” from “Syro” (Warp)
  • Helicalin, “Everything Is Bad (lost-radio reshape)” from “Everything So Stoned, Everything is Bad” (Southern City's Lab)
  • Helicalin, “Why Everyting So Stoned?” from “Everything So Stoned, Everything is Bad” (Southern City's Lab)
  • Cory Gray, “Low Rollers” from “Music For Film & TV” (Needle Drop Co.)
  • Helicalin, “Because (feat. lost-radio)” from “Everything So Stoned, Everything is Bad” (Southern City's Lab)
  • Ketsa, “Sun-Filled” from “Mind Music Matter” (BFW)
  • ERAAS, “Moon” from “ERAAS” (Represented Music)
  • Ketsa, “Sun-Filled” from “Mind Music Matter” (BFW)
  • ERAAS, “Moon” from “ERAAS” (Represented Music)
  • Ryan Cross, “Swingers” from “Music for Video” (Needle Drop Co.)
  • Aphex Twin, “XMAS_EVET10 [120][thanaton3 mix]” from “Syro” (Warp)
  • Monokle, “Warm Control” from “Intelligent Toys: We Make Music” (Sutemos)
  • Pk jazz Collective, “Youth Aspirations” from “Youth Aspirations” (Southern City's Lab)
  • Vespero, “Glass Rainbow” from “Liventure #19” (Accessory Takes)
  • Graham Bole, “Heebie-Jeebies” from “First New Day”
  • Vespero, “Sever” from “Liventure #19” (Accessory Takes)
  • Graham Bole, “Kirigami” from “First New Day”
  • Kölsch, “Goldfisch” from “1977” (Kompakt)
  • Graham Bole, “Sleep Seeds” from “First New Day”
  • Damon Boucher, “The Game” from “Lithium Instrumentals” (Needle Drop Co.)

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 - Originally appeared at revealnews.org