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Finnish Sports Minister Paavo Arhinmäki Waves The Rainbow Flag

Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skiesRussia’s anti-gay laws are going to cause an international row one way or the other.  Paavo Arhinmäki, the Finnish Minister for Culture and Sports waved a rainbow flag during the World Athletic Championships in Russia.  Arhinmäki did this despite a ban on “gay propaganda” in Russia.

Arhinmäki flew the flag during the women’s high jump final which featured Emma Green-Tregaro, the Swedish high jumper who had made her own show of LGBT solidarity by painting her fingernails in the colors of the rainbow for the qualifying round.

Green-Tregaro was forced to repaint her nails after officials warned her that she may be breaking the code of conduct.  She repainted them red as the color of love.

Arhinmäki discussed the anti-gay laws with the Russian sports minister as part of a wider discussion about human rights abuses in the Eurasian nation.

Arhinmäki is one of several people associated with sports who have been protesting Russia’s draconian anti-gay laws; however, while the anti-gay laws and attacks have gotten a lot of attention, little attention has been paid in the press to other incidents.

This past weekend, video surfaced of a trans woman being assaulted, beaten and dragged round by her underwear by a group of thugs in Russia.  Earlier this year, an Hasidic rabbi was shot and nearly killed by ultranationalistic thugs, and a Russian museum curator was fired from his job for displaying art critical of the Sochi Olympics.

Russian authorities have been cracking down on reporters investigating human rights abuses in Sochi, but have refused to investigate incidents when racial, sexual, ethnic, and religious minorities have been assaulted and even killed by these thugs.

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