Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media

by Phoenix PLUS ANPO
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media
Saving Russia's leading independent LGBT media

Dear Friend,


As we described earlier, retaliatory actions towards LGBT organizations in Russia continued. With the military aggression of Russia against Ukraine, these repressive measures of the government have accelerated, and now there is not a single LGBT organization in Russia that officially continues to work. All organizations are closed and recognized as foreign agents.

One of our employees was detained by the police for 30 days for anti-war statements. We are now relocating him to a safe country. All other Parni+ employees had to leave the country.

 

However, we keep on working. Thanks to your support, our news specialist continues to work. Over the period, we have posted 69 publications on the site, 27 features and 42 news pieces. As of the time of this report, the site's publications have been viewed by  430,000 unique visitors.

 

Due to Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, a large number of people living with HIV from Ukraine and Russia cannot access ARV treatment. In order to prevent interruptions in treatment or reduce the harm from possible interruptions, we have prepared 3 webinars on what can be if your access to treatment is limited. They are posted on our YouTube channel. We have also prepared 3 webinars aimed at helping people who use drugs for sex.

 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeTWKuUZfwIK2-DQ1ft1lVg

 

 Thank you for your support – it is of huge moral importance for the entire Parni+ team. We would definitely not  make it without you.

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Over the past three months, the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation has added 5 more organizations to the "list of unregistered non-commercial organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent". The biting irony is that the Ministry of Justice closed down our organization on the very date of December 1 celebrated as the World AIDS Day. Our organization closed, we are left without a tool to receive any funding. We assume that the repression against LGBT people will increase and there might be no operating LGBT organizations left in the country by the end of 2022.

However, we keep on working. Thanks to your support, our news specialist continues to work. Over the period, we have posted 142 publications on the site, 40 features and 102 news pieces. As of the time of this report, the site's publications have been viewed by  565,000 unique visitors.

We have launched a program to reward authors who write on LGBT topics. Over the past period, we have posted 26 publications from new authors and we believe that it is important to continue with the program and encourage the young authors.

 Thank you for your support – it is of huge moral importance for the entire Parni+ team. We would definitely not  make it without you.

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My dear friend,

Hello! I am the Editor-in-Chief of the Parni+ (Guys+) website and one of the website originators. In early 2008, it was a small website that was supposed to raise awareness of living with HIV among HIV-positive gay men in Russia. The AIDS epidemic in the country was growing, the situation with the rights of LGBT people was deteriorating, and we realized that the health of LGBT people is directly related to human rights. Therefore, we decided to start up a proper LGBT mass medium.

Before the adoption of the so-called “gay propaganda” law, we thought that the situation in Russia was about to get better. However, year after year the situation here is only getting worse. An increasing number of independent media outlets are recognized as foreign agents, and the pressure on activists is becoming “a new norm”. For example, in June 2021, I had to leave for Georgia for a while, as I started to receive constant life threats. I left because I was tired. I am currently working remotely and recovering in a safe country.

 

Unfortunately, burnout is not a myth or a weakness, but a real illness. And people in Parni+ team are exposed to several factors that cause the burnout: we work with a sad and scary agenda, we hardly ever get any quick results, and we have to directly interact with people in emotionally difficult situations. It is impossible to remove these factors from Parni+, but you can help our team members become more resilient and withstand these risks.

Over the past three months on the project, we have begun to pay proper attention to burnout in order to quickly adapt, develop professionally and improve internal processes. All this helps us to resist daily stress, do our job better and continue to love it, no matter how difficult it may be.

Also, thanks to your support, we hired a news specialist. Over the past three months, your support has helped us to pay to a full-time author/reporter. Over this period, we have posted 176 publications on the site, including 21 features and 155 news pieces.   As of the time of this report, the publications on the web site have been viewed by 427,000 unique visitors. 

In September, we are launching a program to encourage authors who write on LGBT issues — we are going to offer small fees for the materials they send to us.

 

Thank you for being there for us — it is a great emotional support for the entire Parni+ team. It would be really hard without you.

 

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Our team would like to express profound gratitude to everyone who supports us. But for your support, we would have to close down. But as long as we have you by our side, we can keep on with our work. 

At the beginning of the year, we already announced that our web site was, in fact, recognized as a foreign agent. However, this was not the end of the Russian government's attack on the freedom of speech. On March 4, 2021, we found our web site blocked from access on the territory of Russia. Our editorial office had not receives any official notifications, nor were we notified of any other procedural actions on part of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media or any other agencies. The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications has not responded to our official requests and never explained why the web site had been blocked. 

We filed a lawsuit against the illegal actions of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications and in the meantime set up a mirror site for parni.plus. A month later, the site was unblocked pre-court, no explanations or apologies offered. However, we are still firmly set to claim damages. While the web site was blocked, we lost about 30% of traffic, which is about 1 million people a year.

Your support enabled us to quickly create a mirror site and hire a SEO specialist after blocking to restore traffic.

Over the past three months, your support has helped us to pay a wage to a full-time author/reporter and small fees to our regular contributors. Over this period, we have posted 211 publications on the site, including 37 features and 174 news pieces.   As of the time of this report, the publications on the web site have been viewed by 420,000 unique visitors. 

We continue to develop our YouTube channel and have released a new video on pre-exposure prophylaxis https://youtu.be/XekWHSOGwQM. We are currently working on a series of video interviews with LGBT community leaders.

We have also hired a SEO specialist and an SMM manager. 

We really depend on your support and hope we can count on it in the future. Thank you very much for you invaluable contribution!



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Over the past three months, your support enabled us to hire a professional journalist and to pay to our authors. Over this period, we posted 115 publications on the website. Out of them, there were 34 original features, 17 translated pieces and 64 news reports.

 

As part of the informational campaign, we are to post 28 publications on the main topic of the campaign — 26 original pieces and 2 news articles. As of the time of this report, the publications on the website were viewed by 516 thousand unique visitors.

 

We prepared a lot of articles on LGBT activism in Russia and explored the tools for HIV prevention, highlighting the vulnerability of LGBT people in the face of HIV epidemic. We also posted content on availability and accessibility of ARV treatment and its importance for the U=U concept.

 

We also got in trouble with the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation which recognized our Phoenix PLUS organization as a foreign agent. Under the Russian legislation, a non-profit organization can be recognized as a “foreign agent” for as little as receiving foreign funding and being engaged in so-called political activity. The Ministry of Justice saw our “political activity” in the articles on the Parni PLUS [Guys PLUS] portal. The examples of “political” publications included those dedicated to HIV prevention among men who have sex with men in Russia and what needs to be done to make such prevention efforts more effective.

 

Being a “foreign agent” for us is like having a quality mark, a mark of distinction, a business card of a person who thinks freely in a non-free country. However, this mark complicates our work significantly, so we really hope for your support and rely on it in the future.

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Organization Information

Phoenix PLUS ANPO

Location: Orel, Orlovskaiy oblast - Russia
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Gay_Health
Phoenix PLUS ANPO
Evgeny Pisemskiy
Project Leader:
Evgeny Pisemskiy
Orel, Orlovskaiy oblast Russia

Retired Project!

This project is no longer accepting donations.
 

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