While holding a one-man protest against LGBT rights violations in Russia, activist Krill Kalugin was attacked by an angry mob of Russian military paratroopers in St. Petersburg Friday, August 2.
The Russian paratroopers were celebrating Russia’s Paratroopers Day, an annual military pride celebration which according to the Animal New York traditionally involves groups of soldiers spilling into public square for merriment, flag waving, wallowing in public fountains and miscellaneous public drunkenness.
In a video captured by PaperPaper.ru, a young man is surrounded by a mob of angry paratroopers who begin attacking him and hurling profanity laden questions at the young man. “What the fuck were you thinking, showing up at Palace Square, faggot?” yells the groups leader.
Only moments earlier, activist Krill Kalugin was peacefully picketing in the Palace Square with a rainbow banner that reads “This is propagating tolerance.”
When the police finally show up to the detain the LGBT activist, the paratroopers begin attacking them as well. Russian special forces arrived (wearing “OMOH” jackets), and begin detaining the drunken soldiers only resulting in more fights between the soldiers and the police.
“What are you doing here on Airborne Army Day?”
“I am picketing,” he says, trying to keep on his feet while being manhandled by the group.
“Well, we do not agree with this and ask you to stop this sort of action and your one-man picket.” They begin to push him around. He falls.
“Oh, look he slipped and fell. Don’t do that,” the soldier says, performatively at the journalists trying to get closer. The man is visibly frightened as the soldiers form a chain around him and began to chant, smacking their fists into their palms.
“CALL THE POLICE ON HIM,” someone jeer. “STAND RIGHT THERE,” a few yell. The police arrive (blue shirts, police hats) and attempt to drag the man out of the circle, so the soldiers move closer, blocking their access and pushing them away.
“What the fuck were you thinking, showing up at Palace Square, faggot?” the leader yells.
“You guys are animals,” the protestor rasps, while another soldier chokes him and shakes him by his neck. As the cops try to remove the illegally protesting young man, the soldiers start shoving them and throwing punches. In the next shot, they encircle the police vehicle — “We’re not going to let them fucking move anywhere.” — after their leader tries to get into the cruiser and drag the protestor out, yelling, “Why are you defending him?!”
Russian special forces arrive (“OMOH” jackets), as things are clearly getting out of hand. They start putting the drunken soldiers into detention buses and more fights break out between the soldiers and the police.
“They took our guys. They attacked our guys!” A soldier screams.
“It’s our job,” a cop replies, apologetically.
“We don’t stand by your provocations,” they scream at the car. Then, the drunken leader proceeds to rant at the camera about the “evil darkness” of “the bitches” in Russia and how bothered “we, normal human men” are by their sheer existence. “This is evil. Putin is fag and the rest of it is all shit. The entire country is on its knees. We are Russians!” In the background, a soldier screams at a cop, “Why are you not ticketing the faggot parade?” Then, the soldiers start attacking journalists and smacking down their cameras.
This video comes our way from the popular Russian LiveJournal blog of Ilya Varlamov, a photojournalist whose work we admire greatly, including his coverage off the day when the anti-”gay propaganda” bill was passed and kids, thugs and Christian extremists attacked a small group of peaceful protestors in Moscow. It is very disappointing to read his statement, accompanying the video, if even the one man we’re used to seeing at every protest is confused.
Another video by RT of the incident:
Check out more photos of the incident by Fontanka here.