Deflector Trump struggling to keep a lid on ties with the Kremlin

While Donald Trump sounded more presidential at his recent address to Congress, the issue of Russian connections still lingers for team Trump. What does this all mean for the president, and for the Irish as the Patrick’s Day shamrock approaches? James Carroll reports.

A Russian’s perspective on the Russian LGBT issue

Vladimir Putin has arguably strived for peace outside the borders of Russia, while destroying in within the borders. Image by: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera
Vladimir Putin has arguably strived for peace outside the borders of Russia, while destroying in within the borders. Image by: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera

In light of the new anti-gay laws in Russia, Craig Farrell talk to a young Russian woman living in Ireland about what life is like on the ground.

Vladimir Putin‘s recent nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize has shone an unpleasant light on the disgracefull treatment of the gay community in Russia.

The media have covered the story extensively, highlighting the outrage felt towards the vile treatment endured by the LGBT community. Many opinions have been voiced, but very few of which have had the benefit of stemming from the country in question.

‘To each their own’ was the main ideal denoted by Russian-born Oxana Martynova when asked her views on how homosexuality should be treated.

“Live and let live,” declared Oxana, who moved to Ireland when she was six-years-old.

“I have always had zero problems with gay people and I really can’t see why anyone would or should.”

Oxana, who studied English and Geography in UCD, stated further that she felt “gay people are born this way so I wouldn’t hold anything against them for who they are and I don’t believe it should be an issue to anybody.”

She continued, “I didn’t grow up in an intolerant society, I grew up in Ireland where you are taught to be accepted,but I’d hate to think that maybe if I was still in Russia my opinion would be different.”

Oxana said she “obviously did not agree with” the current stance that Russia has taken on homosexuality. “It’s a vile situation and I wish any member of the gay, lesbian or transgender community didn’t have to endure it.

“It’s a huge step backwards.”

Oxana shed some light on the situation in Russia claiming that the ill treatment of the gay community is not something new. “Crimes against homosexual people were always committed, such as ‘correctional rapes’, beatings or ‘Gay Bashings’.

“I’m not sure why the government thought this would be a great idea, maybe because, since they can’t now publically show who they are it could hide them and then these people wouldn’t be targeted with hate crimes? Or maybe just simply because people in government there are so narrow minded.

“I want to think it’s the first option – That the government have the best interests of the gay community at heart and they are trying to protect the vulnerable – but I doubt it is unfortunately.

The UCD and AMI college graduate had stern words for the house of government in Russia saying, “sadly the Duma is run by intolerant people and intolerance is not progression.”

Speaking on Russia as a whole Oxana vehemently agreed that “Russia has a superiority complex. It’s all very macho there, just look at Putin and his annual holiday photos!”

“I have to say though, I am not surprised by what went on. Since the Soviet times people were taught to always behave one way, you couldn’t be different.”

“You will rarely see a disabled person in Russia as mothers of disabled children were convinced by doctors to give them up.”

Her final thought echoed closely to one not to far from that of a county’s leader circa 1933.

“It’s as if maybe a perfect society was trying to be formed.”

Hozier video goes viral

Hozier playing The Button Factory for Hard Working Class Heroes - Photo by Sarah Buckley
Hozier playing The Button Factory for Hard Working Class Heroes – Photo by Sarah Buckley

Hozier is a name that’s starting conversations all over the place lately following the release of the Dublin singer-songwriters debut EP “Take Me To Church” in July. What’s making waves though is his recently released video for the track of the same name.

‘Take Me To Church’ is the most complete song from Hozier’s nascent career, a soulful high-spirited track which seeks redemption in the flesh through metaphors around church worship – “if the heaven’s ever did speak / she’s the last true mouth piece”, “I was born sick but I love it / command me to be well”.

Feel Good Lost’s black and white video for the track also addresses that issue: by showing what can happen to a gay couple who face the violent homophobic backlash that ensues when the community learns of one of the man’s sexuality.

Hozier told State Magazine recently that the video:

“references the recent increase of organised attacks and torturing of homosexuals in Russia, which is subsequent to a long, hateful, and oppressive political campaign against the LGBT community. The song was always about humanity at its most natural, and how that is undermined ceaselessly by religious organisations and those who would have us believe they act in its interests. What has been seen growing in Russia is no less than nightmarish, I proposed bringing these themes into the story and Brendan liked the idea.”

Frantically shot with a palpable sense of dread, the narrative explores homophobia, violence and oppression with the harsh unforgiving eye of the camera capturing the fear and aggression portrayed with a real feeling of precision communicating the subject matters all too real relevance.

As of writing the video has recieved over 239,385 views on Youtube.