Olympics staff assault gay protester in Russia for waving rainbow flag

Official Olympics representatives tackled a gay protester in Voronezh, Russia today for the “crime” of simply holding a rainbow flag as the Olympic flame went by.

UPDATE: AP confirms that it was “Olympic security personnel” in the photos.

Gay rights protester Pavel Lebedev was jumped on by agents of the Olympics, who were wearing an official Olympics uniform, with the Olympics rings on it and all, for holding up a rainbow flag along the road as the torchbearer went by.  Credit goes to Queer Nation’s Duncan Osborne for spotting the identity of Lebedev’s attacker.

Here’s an image of Lebedev right before his arrest, courtesy of Russia’s Straight Alliance for LGBT Equality:


And here’s Lebedev being abducted by an official representative of the Olympics – note that the other Russian security in the picture above are not wearing the Olympic logo.  But these are:


We’ve subsequently learned that that’s the Sochi 2014 logo on his leg, and right next to is another white hexagon that contains the Coca-Cola logo in every other photo I’ve been able to find of other Olympics security personnel. Here’s a bit larger version:


Note the uniform.  It’s the same uniform being worn by official “flame keepers,” as they’re called by the official Sochi 2014 Twitter account:


And here’s another photo, via RIA Novosti, making clear that the uniform is worn by the official Olympics torchbearers:


The International Olympic Committee has been bad enough in defending Russia’s rampant homophobic, but now the official Olympics staff is taking part in the gay-bashing.  Unbelievable.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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159 Responses to “Olympics staff assault gay protester in Russia for waving rainbow flag”

  1. geebee says:

    These Olympics coverage will be replete with tear-inducing vignettes about athletes overcoming the odds, struggling through pain, and competing in the name of relatives who have died in every way imaginable. Let’s hope some thought is occasionally given to the many in the host country who every day are arrested, tortured, jailed, and shamed for being who they are.

  2. YUla Waves says:

    I’ll tell you the truth. we have specially trained brown bears who stalk gays and kill at night in the back streets

  3. YUla Waves says:

    oh yes, we have Gaylag for gays where we brutally torture them before kill)

  4. YUla Waves says:

    of course we are ruthlessly beat gays! and drink vodka all day and bears walk on Russian streets. all of this is true

  5. Erik says:

    Oh no, 100,000? You’ll sure show them.
    The Olympics will be losing mere chump change with the 100k that decide not to watch. The quarter billion that will be watching will make up for it. Now go outside, breathe some fresh air, and calm down.

  6. kewlbuwl . says:

    Bullsh*t! There is NO “gay agenda”. Period. I’ve been openly gay since the early 80’s and would know of said “agenda”. Or are you referencing the article written by Michael Swift back in 1987? The “agenda” that was read into the Congressional Record? The one where they conveniently left off the first line?

    “This essay is an outré, madness, a tragic, cruel fantasy, an eruption of inner rage, on how the oppressed desperately dream of being the oppressor.”

    The only “agenda” we support is FULL EQUALITY UNDER THE LAW.

  7. lynchie says:

    They are all professional athletes. The years of hard work are for a payday and glory. The don’t work any harder than anyone else who works for minimum wage and they sure don’t live in the same crappy apartments. I no longer think there is an olympic tradition. At one time they really did sacrifice now they live a coddled life, great food, best coaches, great healthcare for what? To claim they are #1 in 2014 in the speed skating. That is all they have ever done. I have much more respect for the guy working two jobs trying to provide for their families. Interesting that you believe the gay agenda takes away from the glory of the athlete. You forget our tax dollars go to support these athletes and make life easy for them. The gay community just wants to be recognized as equal to everyone else and putting a bunch of athletes on a pedestal, as if they deserve it, is part of what is wrong in america.

  8. Silver_Witch says:

    No actually it does not. Perhaps if your religious belief system tells you so, then you can believe that – it is a free country and we are all entitled to believe as we wish.

    And as you pointed out….I am quite old and so I am thinking I have lived the truth as I see it.

  9. anna says:

    Not “fetal cells” Life begins at conception. You’ll learn that some day..I hope.

  10. anne says:

    what? the truth? Not dramatic.

  11. anne says:

    As they SHOULD have….. athletes train a lifetime for these games. The gay agenda is taking the attention away from those athletes and their YEARS of HARD work, and that is SO WRONG!!

  12. Anne says:

    It’s DUCK Dynasty, and the man has VERY right to his opinions. This IS America. I could care less if you eat meat or not. If you don’t believe in God, however, you lose the free gift of eternal life that Christ died to give you, and believe or not we ALLL face God’s judgment, Your NOT believing does NOT change that. Leave Phil alone. If you do not believe, leave those of us who do alone, including Phil. He’s right also. Man dies and the comes the judgment. You’ll not escape it not believing or not. You have NO right to call anyone a bigot – we are not forced (except by you) to believe in your nonsense. Life doesn’t work that way. Not all believe what you do, we’re smarter than that.

  13. Anne says:

    Why? Aside from terrorism which Putin has under control as best he can, there is no reason to boycott anyone. Another of the LGBT not having it their way? Putin only said leave the children alone, Not difficult.

  14. Silver_Witch says:

    Hi Anna…

    First, you don’t know what pro-lifers I was protesting so you do not have the capacity to judge whether they were crazy or not, they were crazy and deserved to be acted against. I am did not say “all pro-lifers are crazy”. I did say that I protested against some “Crazy pro-lifers”.

    Second, I was protesting the medical torture of dogs…it seemed valid to me.

    Third, no one is “murdering humans”. Abortion is about fetal cells – not sentient humans.

    I am pretty old and I think I am pretty wise. I have lots of empathy for people and I have empathy for you as well. Sorry I made you so mad.

    Peace be with you

  15. Anne says:

    It’s amazing those who think that they are so “enlightened” are the ones with the least human morals and the poorest of them all.. The “enlightened aren’t, else they’d be for preserving human life, the survival of the traditional family, and the actual true meaning of the word “marriage.” Believing morality is wrong does not make anyone “enlightened.”

  16. Anne says:

    WHO gives you any right to call Pro-lifers “crazy?” They’re crazy because you happen to disagree with you? Now that you are old, perhaps it’s time to up your empathy towards those you don’t agree with – or just plain up them because you cannot understand that others also have their right to their own opinions. Actually what’s crazy is to protest saving animals but being okay with murdering human lives. THAT is crazy!

  17. Anne says:

    Since when is disrupting a part of the Olympic torch ceremony “courage?” It’s assine, that’s what it is. The LGBT insists they want peace and to be left alone, and WHO is the first of them between them and Putin who starts something totally out of line? Hint: not Putin.

  18. Anne says:

    Westboro has their own “religion” so leave true believers alone.

  19. Gordon Geise says:

    How about “USurpers”?

  20. Meri Justus says:

    I have never vandalized a veterans memorial, nor burned, shredded or stolen an American Flag, and no one I know has either. and I and my friends are Liberals, and LGBT, and VETERANS so If I were to catch any one doing those things i would kick their (well ) where the sun doesn’t shine. ,

  21. Tcith says:

    I was not commenting on Lebedev, I was commenting on the inaccurate depiction of the picture above posted by Greenhatman of Natalia Tsymbalova and posted the article and other pictures prior to their arrest
    (use a translator page if you cannot read Russian)

  22. Ketutar Jensen says:

    Sorry to say this, but because nothing happened to him while he was standing and waving the flag on the RIGHT side of the rope, and he had to duck under the rope and start jumping and waving the flag on the WRONG side of the rope to get “roughed up and arrested”, it’s hardly for holding a flag.
    Also, where are the photos of him being roughed up and arrested? What I’ve seen is some security guards holding him. No beating, no roughing up, no being wrestled in the snow.
    This is the worst I’ve seen: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/sochi-winter-olympics-first-arrest-lgbt-activist-reported-1433259 – and that’s a Russian police, not an Olympic security personnel.

    Everyone knows that there are not much rights and freedoms in Russia, what ever some Russians try to claim, but this kind of made-up and blown-up stories just damage the credibility of the people trying to fight for the rights, freedom and equality.

    So perhaps your hate of ‘Murikans have made you overreact. Understandable, but doesn’t warrant you labeling everyone not screaming about this as “‘Murikan”, “rethuglican”, “teatard” or “right-wingnut”, or to claim we are applauding this. That’s just another black-and-white view that creates ‘Murikans.

    BTW, stop calling USonians Americans. “American” is a person who lives on the continent of America, like Asians, Africans and Europeans, all named after the continent. USA citizens are USonians.
    (Also, using that word makes the ‘Murikans really upset. :-D)

  23. Ketutar Jensen says:

    And not even for waving a flag. He was arrested for ducking under the rope that separated the flame bearer from the audience. Hardly gay bashing or violating anyone’s rights.

    We all know the situation in Russia is horrible and one cannot even speak of equal rights, human rights, civil rights or fair treatment of people in context of Russia, but every made-up and blown up story like this just damages the credibility of people supporting the rights of everyone.

  24. Ketutar Jensen says:

    Do you have any evidence of that?
    Or just more words?
    They say that there was supposed to be MANY photos of how Lebedev was “wrestled in the snow”, but where are those photos?
    I haven’t heard anything about cameras being taken from people and destroyed, or the government doing anything to get hold of these photos and stop the spreading. Where is the real evidence?

    I hate Russia and Putin, and I would so much like this to be true, but when even “All Out” says Lebedev ducked under the rope, this all seems very much like a storm in a water glass.

  25. Ketutar Jensen says:

    Sounds pretty meaningless.

    “More than 219.4 million Americans tuned in to watch the 2012 London Olympics”
    And you are TRYING to collect 0,1 million signatures?

    Whom do you think they’ll care about?

    Wouldn’t it be better to put all that work, time and effort in creating events that are more interesting than two weeks’ of sports?

  26. Ketutar Jensen says:

    It would be nice if you got your facts straight. Lebedev was on the wrong side of the rope, and therefore arrested. Not because he was waving a rainbow flag. He probably didn’t get any response for just waving the flag…

    Sure, the Russian situation for gay people is bad, and should be discussed, but this is just stupid.

  27. Radio Wright says:

    This article is a lie.

    The protester crossed the roped off area as you can see in the photos. (Note the crowd is on the other side of the rope)

    He could have been waiving a Russian Flag and he still would have been grabbed and moved to the other side of the rope.

    Everyone agrees that Russia has serious human rights issues but why hurt your own cause with a B.S. made up story with a hundred real ones happening around the corner.

  28. karmanot says:

    Well, ‘God bless your lil cotton pick’un heart.’

  29. karmanot says:

    Well, no—wrong. Some of my closest friends have lady parts. But, I do agree that men who disrespect women are in fact ‘weak.’ If the shoe fits Cinderella—wear it.

  30. karmanot says:

    I apologize for pointing out your lisp, but never assumed it was inherent in Southern linguistics as a whole.

  31. Whitewitch says:

    I have done much protesting….been arrested and advocated for peace, freeing animals, and stopping crazy Pro-Life persons…..now though I am old and have slowed down a bit…especially after leaving DC.

  32. DCM70508 says:

    Please sign and send a new petition called “Top Ten Reasons I Won’t Be Watching the 2014 Olympics” on Change.org. We’re trying to collect 100,000 signatures and send them to the CEO of NBC, the head of NBC Sports, and the President of the International Olympic Committee. People can also send it to the Corporate Sponsors to let them know we won’t be watching. https://www.change.org/petitions/stephen-burke-read-the-top-ten-reasons-we-won-t-be-watching-the-2014-olympics

  33. Moderator3 says:


  34. Of course, now Russia can claim it’s just the terrorist threat and nothing to do with their persecution of the LGBT minorities. It wouldn’t surprise me if they don’t want Americans to even go there.

    The time for the games to be relocated by the IOC, or for a boycott was right at the beginning, and any boycott has to be by EVERYONE, not just lesbians and gays. Putin has stated he wants to “cleanse” Russia of homosexuals, so it plays right into their hands if LGBT don’t go.

    Moreover if the games suddenly got cancelled now, LGBT would be held responsible by locals and even the Russian police wouldn’t be able to stop ordinary Russians taking LGBT out into the street and bashing them to death. So far, they’ve tacitly encouraged this, arresting only LGBT victims, and not their attackers.

    That said, Putin also wants to put on a facade of how ‘inclusive’ and egalitarian Russia is, so he won’t arrest any visitors. It’s what happens afterwards for LGBT left to fend for themselves that is at issue. Actions by visitors must be carefully moderated so as to avoid unintentionally corroborating the Russian government’s message that LGBT are a threat to society.

    Maybe Vladimir Putin does have the “gay friends” he claims he does, maybe he doesn’t, but he doesn’t let his “friends” anywhere near anyone aged 17 or younger, and has signed a law to make sure no-one gay talks to under 18’s, even their own younger siblings. Heterosexual parents are forbidden at law to tell their own offspring that it’s ok and they accept them if they are gay.

    Opinion polls in Russia show that that government measures against LGBT and pogroms against us have over 80% popular support. The depth of prejudice is fuelled by widespread religious zealotry, and profound public ignorance on the true nature of homosexuality and putative motivations of homosexuals.

    There’s much worse to come, once Russia has gotten past the Sochi Olympics. A new law is right now being prepared in the Russian Duma to remove by force even biological children from their gay or lesbian parents, and a referendum has been proposed by the now politically omnipotent Russian Orthodox Church to recriminalise same sex relationships and thus return Russia to the Stalin laws. It is almost certain that this will float and will be passed overwhelmingly.

    The hetero-normative majority are potentially far more threatening to us than we can ever be to them. At a mere 5-10% of the population, gays and lesbians can never be a credible “threat to civilisation”, and thus we can be persecuted and scapegoated at will, like any minority, such as Jews, Gypsies and homosexuals were in Nazi Germany.

    This sequence of 5 short videos explains what is happening in Russia quite well: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AZ_aSl3ktjg

    Human Rights are universal, they are not based on the laws of an individual country. When a country such as Nazi Germany passes laws that strip a disliked minority such as Jews or homosexuals of their civil rights, that becomes a concern for the whole of humanity.

    Russia is signatory to the United Nations International Declaration on Human Rights, and to the Olympic Charter, in both of which it is in clear and flagrant breach. It is therefore entirely appropriate for citizens in other countries to agitate in support of vulnerable minorities unable to speak for themselves, as is now the case in Russia, where it is now an offence for an openly gay person to be a good citizen or to defend their own or other LGBT’s civil rights.

  35. Suthrnboy says:

    One more thing. The only other person on the entire internet to ever challenge the spelling of my handle was an idiot right winger who said I couldn’t be from the south because of my liberal views, and because I misspelled it. So congratulations!! You fit right in on that account as well, bigot. The GOP is calling your name, karmanot.

  36. Suthrnboy says:

    One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty.-MLK

    To the modern social media crowd, cowardice and hypocrisy are features, not an embarrassment. Shame…

    You keep telling yourself that he didn’t have many options if it makes you feel better…

  37. Suthrnboy says:

    I sense a pattern with you. Last time I was on this board under the name Christian, you implied men were weak for not being into “lady parts” and now you are making fun of regional residents based on stereotypes. I think you need to switch to the GOP. Your mind functions remarkably like the side you profess to hate. A close minded bigot trolling the liberals is what you are, right?

  38. Suthrnboy says:

    I spelled it how its pronounced in the south. Figures you wouldn’t get it. I’ve never seen “Suck Dynasty.” I don’t eat meat and I don’t believe in god. Now, tell me how you got to be such a stereotyping bigot. Me thinks you aren’t as open minded as you think you are…

  39. Tcith says:

    Sorry but your incorrect – this image is pre being asked to stop holding the flag

    The image above is

    During the run of the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medina, LGBT activists (Natalia Tsymbalova Cyril Kalugin and Eugene Dodonova) made an attempt to expand the rainbow flag.

    Natalia managed to stand for half a minute. Then she was attacked by a man in a suit and Olympic force tried to pull the flag. Kirill same cloth selected police immediately.

    Activists have repeatedly made attempts to return the flag, which, according to them, is a “rarity.” People in uniform were also adamant. As explained Kalugin, police promised to return the flag only if Cyril would come for him in the office.

    They are stopping all people who hold the Pride flag


  40. Tcith says:

    Jean-Marc, as a Non American and someone who looks past just a static picture, I can tell you your interpretation of a single static picture is incorrect

    The image above is

    During the run of the Minister of Culture Vladimir Medina, LGBT activists (Natalia Tsymbalova Cyril Kalugin and Eugene Dodonova) made an attempt to expand the rainbow flag.

    Natalia managed to stand for half a minute. Then she was attacked by a man in a suit and Olympic force tried to pull the flag. Kirill same cloth selected police immediately.

    Activists have repeatedly made attempts to return the flag, which, according to them, is a “rarity.” People in uniform were also adamant. As explained Kalugin, police promised to return the flag only if Cyril would come for him in the office.


  41. Christopher McBean says:

    I 100% agree – there are PLENTY of other protesters who have been calm and non-threatening who have not been touched. This is ridiculous when there are plenty of wrong doing further up the chain to focus on.

  42. Regina Carol Moore says:

    Many people respond online to an article which they have not read. It’s frustrating.

  43. GreenHatMan says:

    The guy got stopped because he ran past the boundary and towards torchbearer, which you can clearly see on the pic, not because he was holding the flag.

  44. GreenHatMan says:

    Mr.Lebedev was acting stupid and rushed past the boundary towards the flagbearer, which is the real reason he was stopped.

  45. GreenHatMan says:

    You mouthbreathers.. The guy wasn’t simply “holding” the flag by the road, he run out on the road towards the flagbearer, which is the real reason he was detained, as anyone would be, flag or not. Quit putting the anti-gay spin on everything. When same protest was done without being a moron and overstepping boundries, nobody cared: http://i.imgur.com/ohCxNpJ.jpg

  46. As a non-‘Murikan (not to be confused with sane Americans), I read some of the comments regarding this affair with some bemusement and not in the funny way.

    What happened to Mr. Lebedev was a bashing (Mr. Carr’s opinion notwithstanding) but, more importantly, it was a direct assault on his individual opinion and expression. Granted, Russia is no ‘land of the free’ but to read how rethuglican/teatards/right-wingers view this is telling. The “champions of freedom” AKA Jeannie, Voiceofreason, etc.are being disingenuous and, more to the point, downright schitzophrenic about what matters about this incident, to wit: would these same paragons of virtuous American freedom support the arrest of an American waving an American flag? Of course, we all know the answer to that question and it is precisely because we know the answer that they should be taken to task and held to ridicule for their position regarding Mr. Lebedev.

    Long post short: Mr. Lebedev was roughed up and arrested for holding a flag. ‘Murikan right-wingnuts applauded, thus revealing they really don’t believe in freedom at all….much like Mr. Putin doesn’t believe in freedom.

  47. Steve Carr says:

    Gay bashing? Hardly – he was arrested for waving a flag. That ain’t gay bashing. Gay bashing is when homophobic people beat up queers, mainly because they have issues with their own sexuality. This is a sad story above, but lets not use incorrect terms and false reporting. Most gay news sites always over-dramatise their stories for effect.

  48. The Celestial Teapot says:

    Yes, this is news.

  49. karmanot says:


  50. 4th Turning says:

    Kind of wishing it had been the real tundra just because it sounds like a place
    interesting folk would wind up. Got interested in prairie restoration several yrs.
    ago when I was reading what a tiny percentage of original remains-as with old
    growth trees. Am writing from NC-born in VA. Came through Minneapolis via
    Amtrak once-agree it seems like a most liveable city. Glad to hear you were
    able to make the adjustment. Sorry for your loss-a wonderful way to remember.

  51. tomzuk says:

    not trying to be funny but the male ice skaters and gymnastics guys better be careful over there. not that all of them are gay but we know some of them are. they need to be careful going to other countries.

  52. tomzuk says:

    what part of he was arrested did you miss?

  53. Ashamed at the state of the wo says:

    Jeannie..do us a favor and go crawl back in the hole u came out of.

  54. mirror says:

    Maybe he would if anti-gay propoganda laws were secret and he had an opportunity to bring the evil things into the light of day. But they aren’t secret, which is what makes the IOC so horrible for defending them.

  55. Anonymous says:

    Just like our troll buddies below, cops in America seem to think jaywalking deserves assault:


    We’re doomed.

  56. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    I live on a prairie actually. My username was suggested by my late husband when I started commenting on this blog about nine year ago. When he first brought me to visit his parents in Northern Minnesota, it was January. Now I’m originally from the south. It was around seven at night and the temperature was way below zero. There was also all this flat, open area. My comment was, “My God, they live in the tundra!”

    I live in a suburb of Minneapolis now. It’s a city that has the best of both worlds. It has many cultural activities, but it has a lot of rural flavor as well. There is a series of parks and lakes that run in a chain through the city. Of course, the Mississippi runs through the city with it’s parks. There is also a large falls in the city. One of my favorite parts are the Greenways with their walking and bike paths.

  57. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    To what monuments are you referring? You sort of chose to ignore the point of the story, didn’t you? We are concerned about the young man being manhandled by the Olympic officials.

  58. Anonymous says:

    You should be a criminal defense lawyer.

  59. Anonymous says:

    So predictable. The opposing argument is always that a protester “baited” someone. Thuggery is now “self-defense” to Republicans; excusable with the slightest provocation. No wonder “Stand Your Ground” laws took the country by storm in recent years…and have they helped? Hah.

  60. Anonymous says:

    The username really says it all. Suddenly Republicans are on the right side of history when civil rights arguments come up? Haha…

  61. Anonymous says:

    Idk, the same people who want him dead seem to love Russia’s social climate. Make up your minds.

  62. Anonymous says:

    What have you don’t to prevent “real atrocities?” The Republican status quo gang sure is funny. Anyone fighting for a cause needs to stop whining, yet things like war and crime are “God’s will.” Keep trying to prevent people from rocking the boat…ignorance is bliss.

  63. Anonymous says:

    Hard to make sense of your poorly strung together word salad.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Actually, military funerals are crashed by our religious extremists who have no respect for our country or military. Westboro should ring a bell.

  65. karmanot says:


  66. 4th Turning says:

    I’m curious to know if your tundra is real or metaphorical or both…
    I live in a similar place. Sublimely beautiful. A place where those whose
    feet never feel anything but concrete and asphalt dream of fleeing to
    “someday”. It can also represent a vast emptiness-a human landscape
    without compassion and empathy which also sort of describes where
    I live. Nature, alas, maintains its grand ambivalence in such matters…

  67. 4th Turning says:

    If blogs were newspapers, they’d already be wrapping fish in this issue.
    So, this likely being an opportunity for one to one, may I say without
    sounding (hopefully) sarcastic, sardonic, ironic or anything else, we recognize
    you likewise as a character of the utmost concerned and sincere
    variety. Will certainly keep an eye out for your future ruminations.
    Sarcasm I’ve always felt is the lone tool in the toolbox of the cynical.
    Remembering that quills wrote out those enduring words “we the people”.

  68. dula says:

    LOL you honor our vets by sending them to wars of choice based on lies without proper body armor, then refuse to take care of them when they come home. STFU.

  69. Indigo says:


  70. karmanot says:

    Voice of Reason Indigo

  71. karmanot says:

    A dilettante mind incapable of comprehending Mozart would say exactly that.

  72. Indigo says:

    It’s the Gulag Olympics.

  73. Indigo says:

    um . . . VOR = ?

  74. karmanot says:

    Hey dude, like I do caps dude. VOR is the rap version of the Socratic method.

  75. karmanot says:

    Whatsa matter lil down vote—never heard of the Enlightenment? Couldn’t find it on your list of video games?

  76. karmanot says:

    Can’t argue with that script, but do take exception to your tone. You sound a bit like a Maoist trust fund baby.

  77. karmanot says:

    Oh please, take your meds drama queena.

  78. Jett says:

    “Stolen by America’s libs”? Being a little dramatic, aren’t we?

  79. gratuitous says:

    I think Putin’s smarter than that. He’ll keep his goons on a short leash while NBC has the cameras rolling for all the happy-talk Olympic coverage. If it even comes up on American television (and the smart money says it won’t), Putin or one of his lackeys will deny that there’s any problem whatsoever and point to the lack of people being curb-stomped as evidence.

    Any oppression will happen far, far away from the official licensed and sanctioned venues and the filming of same.

  80. Jeannie says:

    This is news?! In the United States monuments honoring our veterans are vandalized,
    and OUR flags are burned, shredded, and stolen by America’s libs and those who
    have no respect for our country or military.

    A rainbow flag taken away??? Wah, wah, wah!

  81. 4th Turning says:

    Thanks for you most civil reply. I guess I am still utterly haunted by the look
    in, I believe, “Denis’s” eyes in one of the initial videos John posted as he
    feared for his life and/or future among his family and community. I doubt few
    of us have ever felt that alone, that desperate, that abandoned by all we
    naturally assumed was there-would be there for us if we got in trouble.
    What is bothering me most right now is that there is no way of knowing
    for sure how any of the “nameless” in those dreadful videos are doing
    or if they even survived. I suppose we can thank the www for making
    it possible for psychopaths to at least be identified once in awhile.
    Meanwhile there is no olympic spotlight on nigeria, uganda, india

  82. 4th Turning says:

    Your comments will have to speak for themselves as mine do for me.
    Wish your brand of activism had been around in the last election. My
    state can now OFFICIALLY blame the poor (adrift with no possibility of health
    insurance), the disabled, the elderly, my Mexican friends laboring in the filthy
    vineyards of hog and chicken processing, the school system, etc. for all of
    society’s ills and is rushing to undue whatever bit of enlightened policy we
    once thought was firmly in place.

  83. karmanot says:

    I know the feeling, but remember, we only forget the unworthy of memory parts. Don’t forget that mods rule!

  84. karmanot says:

    You are being very kind to the mousey Mod.

  85. Moderator3 says:

    You can not imagine the number of comments I read in one day. I usually do not go back and read comments I have already read. I guess I’m getting to the stage of life where I’m getting forgetful.

  86. karmanot says:

    You do know how to spell ‘southern’, I trust or is that how they misspell it in Ducktopia?

  87. BeccaM says:

    And you’re incredibly naive.

  88. karmanot says:

    You are avoiding the moderator’s question. If you don’t understand it, ” you and every thoughtful human being know very well” that you are not so clever as you think.

  89. karmanot says:

    Sarcasm is the lowest form of insincere wit—if wit at all.

  90. karmanot says:

    Many of us remember using quill pens during the Enlightenment and don’t limit ourselves to 144 characters. However, we do recognize you as a character if not a puffed up troll of the utmost concerned and sincere variety.

  91. karmanot says:

    Give us an example of your outstanding advocacy o’ superior one.

  92. karmanot says:

    “….readers are,in fact, the choir. I feel like it is imprt. to get beyond rampant current self-absorption to a wider sense of community.” A 1000generations removed? I don’t think so you arrogant, disrespectful, no nothing punk ass troll. Many of us here have devoted our lives to activism and were paying the consequences when you were crawling on the floor dragging a loaded diaper behind you. Talk about ‘self absorbed’! Your ‘very new to this blog’ is not onlt evident but already old.

  93. Suthrnboy says:

    “Prevented from blowing any more whistles?” You are funny. I guess you think MLK, Jesus and Gandhi were suckers for fighting for change from within and not turning tail and running like a hypocritical coward. Good luck with that attitude.

  94. karmanot says:


  95. 4th Turning says:

    Thanks for entering into the discussion. First, can I ask which tundra you are
    in? North America’s or Europe’s? As you and every thoughtful human being
    know very well “snap decisions” cannot possibly be “justified”. Regret that
    my remarks come across as just another angry. Will readily admit to
    frustration, disappointment that our collective noble intentions don’t
    really seem to be addressing any of a number of festering problems.
    Don’t like coke or vodka anyway. What are your suggestions?

  96. 4th Turning says:

    Thanks Ninong for bothering to follow up on what I was certainly hoping
    all other readers would do. VoR must have read only the photos…
    The king to Mozart in Amadeus in his brilliant critique: there were
    just too many notes.

  97. 4th Turning says:

    Appreciate the blog tutorial. Are you saying “some jackass with a flag”
    didn’t also leap off the screen at you? That it rated only a passing
    vulgar and/or sarcastic reply? That flippant, casual, uncivil callousness
    is not also what we all must try to deal with now in era of 144 characters?

  98. Meri Justus says:

    This Is Not going to be a good winter games, I believe a lot of people will be arrested just because they are suspected of being LGBT, or an LGBT supporter weather or not they really are. You will probably see Beatings and people getting arrested right on camera, It is very scary and I fear for all who are going to this.

  99. Jett says:

    Putin set the tone for the upcoming Olympics and made it about gays instead of athletes competing for Olympic medals.

  100. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    “I’m very new to this blog but have the strong sense that 99.9% of its readers are,in fact, the choir.”

    Your new to this blog, but you are making snap decisions about everybody. How do you justify that? You seem quite angry, but you may be directing that anger to the wrong place.

  101. 4th Turning says:

    As you imply, we are a 1,ooo generations removed now from Dr. King, that old Ruby
    don’t take your love to town war, Stonewall. Success, failure, success… Our tiny
    effort to protest the invasion of Iraq lasted all of 2 mtgs. and 1 demonstration…
    Occupy Wallstreet tidied up and went home to a delicious vegan dinner.
    In spite of !2 Years a Slave, I am of the opinion that words like slavery, massacre,
    holocaust, genocide, torture pretty much now fail to communicate any meaningful
    sense of horror. Indeed, the forgetting and disinterest were Primo Levi’s greatest
    concern and the reason he worked so hard to embed his experience in the Italian
    school curriculum. And speaking of school(s), where is the outpouring of mass
    righteous indignation and demand that bullying, now epidemic in this land of the free, be ended immediately? Locally, we lost another young 12 yr. old
    just before xmas and there’s been no further mention of it that I’m aware.

    I’m very new to this blog but have the strong sense that 99.9% of its readers are,
    in fact, the choir. I feel like it is impt. to get beyond rampant current self-absorption
    to a wider sense of community. There is time-waiting on pizza delivery-to google
    the word: sacrifice…

  102. Moderator3 says:

    It was not obvious who you were addressing. For future use, it may make more sense for you to use the reply button and specifically address the commenter. If you were addressing all the commenters, you simply don’t know the people around here.

  103. 4th Turning says:

    Am not sure I understand this question if you read down through all the comments…

  104. heimaey says:

    And so it begins…

  105. Nigel says:

    Yes I did look closely. Many people have stepped of the sidewalk including the woman in the black coat standing next to him. What is your point? That this person is being treated differently than everyone else.

  106. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    You have a good point. I’ve often wondered if I would have had the courage they have. I hope so, but I have no way of knowing. I don’t know if I would have had the courage exhibited during the Stonewall riots. I was involved with some civil disobedience during the Act Up era, but the worse thing that could have happened to me would have been a couple of hours in a holding cell. I have great respect for our brother and sisters who are fighting the good fight in Russia.

  107. Roma Lyiz says:

    Russia should stop this violence against gays and give them the freedom to express their thoughts and sentiments.

    Bocas Del

  108. Moderator3 says:

    I wish I could fix it, but I can add something to the reply that makes it easier to understand.

  109. BeccaM says:

    Perhaps your criticisms have merit, but I don’t think you have any idea whom you’re dealing with here on this blog, in terms of civil disobedience or protests. I could quite easily direct you to my wife’s website where she has many photos from her time in the draft resistance movement in the 1960s… For instance.

  110. Ninong says:

    You have to scroll up to 9 hrs ago when some idiot named VoiceofReason called him “some jackass with a flag” in a reply to Indigo.
    Maybe you could fix it so that 4th Turning’s reply goes up there as a response to VoiceofReason ?

  111. HolyMoly says:

    I doubt anyone would have been arrested for stepping off the sidewalk. Neither would they have been placed in a bear hug. It would have been more like “Ma’am, back on the sidewalk.” “Sir, you can’t be here. Please return to the designated area” or something like that.

  112. Moderator3 says:

    To whom are you addressing this?

  113. 4th Turning says:

    “some jackass with a flag”-It’s Pavel (Paul) Lebedev in case you overlooked this real human being’s

    name. He is also me. Am humbled by his courage. They know what they are in for over there and it’s
    not a dose of regulation pepper spray in the face. Am wondering what acts of courageous civil
    disobedience you or any of the rest of us have participated in recently-or ever…

  114. chris10858 says:

    I guess i’ll stick to Pepsi from now on. I hope Coke gets a lot of bad PR from this. If Coke namebrand gets bruised from this, it’ll scare the smaller advertisers and might force Coke to put pressure on the IOC and Russia

  115. Purple says:

    Boycott the 2014 Olympics in Russia.

  116. BeccaM says:

    Could have, sure. And let’s see what usually happens to whistleblowers in America now?

    – Ends up arrested and held without charges for years in solitary confinement under conditions recognized internationally as psychological torture
    – Forbidden from speaking to the press or anybody other than interrogators and, eventually when the gov’t feels like granting one, an attorney
    – Absolutely prevented forever from blowing any more whistles ever again
    – Charged in a secret court and forbidden from presenting an effective defense because, y’know, secrecy and national security
    – Reputation, psychological health, patriotism, and motives all impugned by both the government and a willing media, with high elected officials coming right out and declaring both guilt and a desire for summary execution.

    Manning and Snowden share one of those in common. And it sure seems to me that ‘blow(ing) the whistle here’ accomplishes nothing but personal suffering. None of those who say Snowden should’ve stayed have anything good to say about Manning either.

  117. ComradeRutherford says:

    The IOC chose Russia specifically to endorse homophobia, just as they chose China to endorse slavery.

  118. pappyvet says:

    Logged in as me , came out as someone else

  119. pappyvet says:

    I’d give worlds to know

  120. pappyvet says:


  121. Hey, do some of you having this disqus problem want to email me, describe the problem, then I can forward your email to disqus? Or write disqus directly at [email protected] and cc me.

  122. I’m pretty sure everyone else on that sidewalk, if they stepped into the street, wouldn’t be tackled and have a flag ripped from their hands.

  123. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Would ripping the flag from his hand make him get back on the sidewalk?

  124. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Why would they first rip the flag out of his hands?

  125. The_Fixer says:

    I find it ironic that the “Flame Keepers” are dressed more flamboyantly than the protester.

  126. The_Fixer says:

    You’re simply looking for any reason to minimize this, aren’t you?

  127. The_Fixer says:

    This is part of an atrocity – the series of state-ignored assaults and the officially sanctioned denial of human rights. Alone this may not be an atrocity (unless, of course, you are on the receiving end of whatever abuse has been dished out). But it is part of an atrocity. See other Americablog articles concerning the awful monster that is Maxim Martsinkevitch and you will see a pattern of behavior that qualifies as an atrocity.

  128. The_Fixer says:

    So then being out on the street is grounds for being assaulted by a “security” and presumably arrested?

  129. Indigo says:

    With a vocabulary like that, you could portray a stevedore in an old-fashioned B movie.

  130. Bobby says:

    Anyone else find it ironic that the official “Flame Keepers” are ‘extinguishing’ the ‘flamer’?

  131. Hmmmmmmmmm says:

    But look at where he’s standing. Unless they dragged him in the street he’s off the sidewalk and look at the people behind them they don’t shocked by the attack the lady is smiling, are we sure this guy didn’t just dart out in the road with that flag? Look at the pic closely.

  132. Hmmmmmmmmm says:

    It looks like he’s out in the street to me. He stepped off the sidewalk. Anyone would be prevented from doing that wouldn’t they?

  133. Hmmmmmmmmm says:

    Look at the guys expression .. He looks like he’s laughing,and the lady behind them is smiling. Are we sure he didn’t try and dart out in the road?

  134. Hick1967 says:

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  135. mitchw7959 says:

    Yes, I too keep waiting for Snowden to speak out against the anti-gay propoganda laws, since he’s *so* brave and such a strong advocate for human rights.

  136. molasses jones says:

    USAGI We’d like to hear more from you on SWEET TV! https://www.facebook.com/SWEETEntertainmentTelevision?ref=hl
    We’d support you in that effort. Email [email protected] with a plan of action! #sweet

  137. molasses jones says:

    We’d like to hear more from you on SWEET TV! https://www.facebook.com/SWEETEntertainmentTelevision?ref=hl

  138. molasses jones says:


  139. molasses jones says:

    We’d like to hear more from both of you on @SWEET TV!

  140. goulo says:

    Are you just trolling, or do you REALLY not know that he went to Hong Kong, not to Russia, to release the documents? And that he later intended to travel THROUGH Russia but wasn’t allowed to leave Russia because the US government invalidated his passport, leaving him no choice but to stay in Russia?

  141. VoiceofReason says:

    This is an atrocity to you? Holy fuck dude, grow a pair of balls, THIS IS NOT AN ATROCITY, and atrocity is mass murder of hundreds, thousands, or millions of people, or the rape of innocent women, not some jackass with a flag.

  142. Thom Allen says:

    Pappy, I think I like your new name and avatar better! -your friend, Peter Gozinya

  143. zerosumgame0005 says:

    except it is not the “official” flame since Russia extinguished it to do a PR stunt and the trek was not started over…

  144. Moderator3 says:

    Pappy, do you log in through DISQUS?

  145. Charles Almon says:

    Really creates a PR problem for these dudes.

  146. karmanot says:

    No surprise. The IOC had no problem with the Nazi unpleasantness.

  147. Hue-Man says:

    Has anyone confirmed whether the kindapper is “Senior IOC member” Mario Pescante? http://aravosis.wpengine.com/2014/01/ioc-homophobic-meltdown-less-one-month-winter-olympics.html

  148. Horation_Tobias_HumpleDinK says:

    Awful, but what do you expect – the Olympics are not bothered by the anti homosexuality laws and actions.

  149. Indigo says:

    This is so entirely unacceptable that I don’t even know where to start. The world is standing by while so many atrocities are happening in many places and now the Russians are emboldened to openly dehumanize the gay members of their society. How long before the swastika starts flying here and there like Confederate flags do in our mundane world? I expect it before the end of this decade. How can the U.N. possibly be enabling this? But there’s the blue bonnet. I see it.

  150. Indigo says:

    Hey, pappy! Cool avatar! Whose is it?


  151. lynchie says:

    The official Olympic bylaws put cash as the number 1 ideal and personal rights are not anywhere on the list. They have been this way since WWII and only became more commercialized when professional athletes were included. This was all predictable when Russia first announced their ban on all things gay.

  152. lynchie says:

    And then he would have disappeared forever.

  153. JohnMyroro says:

    He could have blown his whistle here instead of going there to do it.

  154. HEY JOHN !! Its Pappy! Something weird is going on. Our profiles are mixing ! Over at Gaius article on Capitalism devlzadvocate tried logging in and came out as Me. Now I am this fellow Haywood Jamal Jablomie What the ….?

  155. GarySFBCN says:

    That’s a cheap shot. It’s not like he has many options.

  156. rickey says:

    Seriously get a life and grow the fuck up and start respecting everyone no matter what they are or who they are hope that the KARMA MONSTER Comes to get the Homophobic Osmosis Immaculate Misconception how would you like it if you were holding something and then someone grabbed it out of your hands Jesus Christ think about how it makes the other person or people feel

  157. Suthrnboy says:

    Snowden’s new home. A protective paragon of civil rights. For sure. Mmmmm.

  158. usagi says:

    Unbelievable? No, inevitable.
    I know it’s a holiday weekend, but have you called Nike, Coke, Visa, or any of the other official sponsors for comment yet? They wanted their Olympic moments. I think it’s only fair that they get all of them.

  159. GreenEyedLilo says:

    This is disgusting, and completely against everything the Olympics are supposed to stand for. It would’ve been bad enough if it were the Russian government or a common homophobic thug, but it’s horrible that the IOC is apparently allowing its representatives to behave like this.

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