Russian Couple Charged With “Damage To Passports” After Official Validates Their Denmark Marriage

The Independent reports:

A Russian same-sex couple who had their marriage recognized after finding an apparent legal loophole have been charged with “intentional damage to passports or negligence”. Eugene Wojciechowski and Paul Stotzko tied the knot in Denmark on 4 January and returned home to Russia, where their documents were stamped and approved, despite same-sex marriage being illegal in the country.

Speaking to the independent Russian channel TV Rain, the couple said their marital status had been validated by a member of staff “without superfluous questions”. Mr Wojciechowski and Mr Stotzko told TV Rain the officer who stamped their passports, which contained their updated marriage status, “did not even change his expression” when he saw their documents.

Russia does not register same-sex marriages, but according to Russian law, marriages conducted abroad are deemed legitimate if there is nothing contradicting “Article 14 of the Family Code”. The article appears to contain a loophole as it prohibits marriages between close relatives and people who have already been registered as married, but does not state same-sex unions constitute as a disqualifying factor.

  • Congratulations to the happy couple. Now celebrate by GETTING THE F*CK OUT OF RUSSIA.

    • Galvestonian

      Too late … they’re probably happily being sent to a new Russian resort in the Arctic Circle as permanent guests.

    • Reality.Bites

      Easier said than done

    • Uncle Mark

      Of course now that they’ve “damaged” their passports, it will be harder for them to leave the country. It’s rather counterintuitive, as one would think that the Russian gov’t would want all gays to leave the country.

      • Charles Nelson

        Russia/Putin wants all LGBTQ to leave by another route…death!

        • Boss Dave✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

          This is why scamvangelicals are such fervent Trump supporters. They’re not really the faith they say they are; they’re in a hate and death cult.

    • Lawerence Collins

      How do you suggest that they do that?

    • unsavedheathen

      They obviously meant their marriage, at least partially, as a political statement. Returning to Russia was their intent and returning with their government’s literal “stamp of approval”, however unintended, on their passports is a PR coup. They must have fully understood the ramifications of their return and are gambling that their notoriety will keep them alive. They are patriots to their nation and to our cause. Fools, in my opinion, but patriots to be sure.

    • Sporkfighter

      They should never have gone back.

  • Tomcat

    Why the hell would anyone in their right mind that was not rich even want to live in Russia?

    • kcken

      Agreed, but I sometimes say the same things about America.

      • Tomcat

        At least there is some hope for America still, …???

        • kcken

          If we can survive until the 2018 elections, and the Democrats don’t mess up. There is a little hope.

        • Ore Carmi

          I still have hope for Russia too.

    • another_steve

      It can be complicated and deeply personal.

      Sort of like… “Why the hell would anyone in their right mind want to live in Alabama?”

      • Tomcat

        Some people like hot sex with family members.

        • DaddyRay

          and farm animals

          • Andymac3

            farmers can be animals too, in bed.

      • safari

        Michigan has only poisoned one entire city.

        • safari

          (Though in the 1970s one of our chemical companies did poison five generations worth of people with a hormonal disruptor by mistake.)

        • kcken

          Lets not forget the Love Canal in NY. That was a mess.

    • Yobitim

      Emigrating is very hard. Turning oneself into refugee much harder. I’ve done it twice – the emigrating thing – and a while back we contemplated doing it again but instead I found myself trying to cope with what was going on here. That was back in the quaint olden time when Bush was king.

    • Bambino

      My question is they are Russians. I assume they know their government are operated by thugs who are anti freedom and anti openness. Why would they publicized the loophole with no escape route?

    • doninkansas

      Its home, family, friends, culture,

  • fuow

    The sooner they get out of there the better

  • bkmn
    • Christopher

      I could totally do that.

      If I wanted to.

    • Treant

      That’s hypnotic.

    • SpiderPIG

      Gymternet Twitter will love this gif…

    • Mike_in_the_Tundra

      Round off, back handspring, back handspring, back handspring. There was a time that I could do that.

      • olandp

        The hands never touch the ‘ground’, they aren’t back handsprings, back flips?

        • PeedeResistance

          Whips to a double pike. Ex-gymnast 🙂

          • olandp

            Thanks, I think I may be in love…

    • Acronym Jim
      • Todd20036

        He could just stand there and breathe deeply, and I’d be ok with it.

  • Tomcat

    Two things that just make no sense to me.
    1. Staying in a country that backward if not necessary.
    2. Have a wedding cake made by racist homophobic bakers.

    • Gigi

      I had this discussion with a gay Russian friend of mine who was educated in the U.K. and moved back to Russia after he graduated. He believes that staying away would be giving in to the homophobes. That there will never be change if out and proud gay people and their supporters allow the haters to run them out of their country. I think they’re very brave.

      • Chucktech

        Sorry, but if I were they and I could leave and live in civilization, I would do so. Russian homophobia is bigger than they are and life is way too short tilting at huge windmills like that.

        Same goes for American Jews who would go to Israel to live. Why the fuck would you want to leave the US, with all its flaws and problems (especially now) to go live in that fuckin’ desert?

        • Gigi

          Well that’s your opinion and while it’s one that I don’t disagree with, I have great respect for my friend’s temerity. His family and friends know he’s gay and it’s never been an issue for them. He has a pretty good life and is quite happy there. Most people are of the DADT mindset. They keep to themselves and want others to as well. Take a look at this video of a young, gay Russian blogger who did an experiment to test how anti-gay rmpluees at a store with a “no gays allowed” sign would be:

          • Chucktech

            I saw that and that’s great. And I think it’s great that there are brave Russians willing to fight. It’s just that the deck is so fully stacked against them with such an oppressive government that encourages hate and bigotry from the state sanctioned church as well as society in general that I simply wouldn’t want to spend my life trying to right those seemingly insurmountable wrongs. Certainly insurmountable in my lifetime.

        • Mike C.

          I grew up in the South. Most people I knew were brutally homophobic. I could have left when I was 18 and never returned but I refused. Even after I did move away years later I went back to visit several times a year and brought my bf, now husband, with me every time. Introduced him to everyone. Tough guys I went to high school with were like “oh, I didn’t know you was gay. Where you livin’ now?” There lots of us who stayed, opened businesses and, over time, changed hearts and minds.

          • Friday

            Really depends a lot on if you can do that. I’m not from here, and there’d have been very little point in me not-running home over some idea that I’d be convincing a lot of people that don’t listen to people with my accent much to begin with. People have different vulnerabilities, and abilities, for that matter, …in my case ‘stay and fight’ doesn’t make sense all on its own, since most of what I do to help is talking in the first place. Or at least I’d do probably just as much good getting out and telling more people back home about how things are gone about down here.

            Anyway, it’s a bit moot, since if I ran home, I’d probably be back to scrounging up the basics of surviving without means or tools or space to do what work I can do: same reason I was kind of the last one of my friends out of town: Got too expensive to live, particularly with housing. (Of course it’s a bit of irony that the Republicans’ de facto economic warfare against Blue states has been a big factor in these places turning ‘purple.’ 🙂

        • Barry William Teske

          “It is easy to hate and difficult to love.
          This is how the whole scheme of things works.
          All good things are difficult to achieve; and the bad things are very easy to get.”
          – Confucius

      • Renfield

        Like Jews not giving into the Nazis. At some point they really really want to kill you. There is no point in becoming a target if you can avoid it.

    • Barry William Teske

      Lessons learned are also known as the good fight.
      Not all good things get dropped into everybodys lap.
      Sometimes, standing in solidarity and bearing true witness is the only flame hope needs to not go out.
      Perhaps some wish not to think of just themselves, knowing that so very many other potentials could be lost or denied by turning and looking away.

    • Friday

      Remember the phobes whine ‘Gaystapo’ if anyone is forewarned that they *are* bigots.

  • Gigi

    In another article I read that the police went to their parents’ apartment to interrogate them as well. The newlyweds refused to open the door when the police came for them, so their power was turned off by the city. I’m afraid for them and their safety.

    • Tomcat

      They will be sent out for un-homo therapy, it still works in Russia due to them being killed or staying in prison.

      • Gigi

        A straight Russian guy I know, who’s a math professor, says these anti-gay stories are just Western propaganda. That there’s no “don’t say gay” law because, if there were, his students would have mentioned it to him.

        Him: “No one has ever talked to me about it.”

        Me: “Of course they haven’t. There’s a law against it. If they talk about it they could be arrested and jailed.”

        Him: “Western propaganda!”

        • Robert Stultz

          Fake news, in other words.

        • JCF

          Do you think you’re reaching him, Gigi? Because if not, I would cut him off. He could well be working for Putin, and you might be unknowingly aiding him w/ intel about LGBT matters.

    • Stev84

      If not the government then some lynch mob will get them

  • Treant

    I question why they came back from Denmark, actually. Claim asylum–and nobody would doubt it given LBGT “rights” in Russia–and stay in Europe.

    That having been said, some people are very, very brave and wish to fight discrimination at home. Or very, very stupid and ignorant of the coming consequences…

    • Dazzer

      There’s no guarantee that they would have received asylum in Denmark. Also, they might have friends, family and jobs in Russia.

      • unsavedheathen

        Their return must have had political motivation. I think young and brave (and stupid) says it.

  • gaycuckhubby

    Suddenly the debate over corporations marching in Pride Parade seems rather silly.

    • Natty Enquirer

      There is always something more terrible happening elsewhere in the world. Should we ignore all of our problems that are minor in comparison? This is the fallacy of relative privation.

      • gaycuckhubby

        Well I thought it was a silly controversy before this story. But your point is taken

      • Treant

        To a point? Absolutely we should ignore–or at least treat proportionately–our “problems” that are minor in comparison. They really don’t matter that much.

        Now if it’s an actual problem, that’s one thing. If it’s a First World Problem, it’s usually not significant and expending large amounts of effort complaining does nothing. But then again, simply complaining does nothing anyway.

    • GlennF

      “Suddenly the debate over corporations marching in Pride Parade seems rather silly”

      Yep, and also counter productive to the ongoing fight for LGBT civil rights in the U.S.

  • Bambino

    Instead of amending the law the incompetent bureaucrat blame the couple. 🙄

    • safari

      I’d say that’s quite Russian but I can imagine that happening in AnyTown, USA.

  • Gustav2

    Speaking of Russia, Russia, Russia, The Atlantic has a must-read profile of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort:

    “When Paul Manafort officially joined the Trump campaign, on March 28, 2016, he represented a danger not only to himself but to the political organization he would ultimately run. A lifetime of foreign adventures didn’t just contain scandalous stories, it evinced the character of a man who would very likely commandeer the campaign to serve his own interests, with little concern for the collective consequences.”

    More slime than you ever saw on Nickelodeon.

    • Treant

      I have to read the rest carefully, but scanning down, they make it sound like Manafort practically forced his way into the Trump Campaign.

      Trump was a willing accomplice and welcomed the Russian involvement, I’m very certain of that. I’ll go so far as to venture that Trump’s Russian lenders and contacts required Manafort’s presence.

      • Galvestonian

        I totally agree. It’s my belief that Trump was totally ‘owned’ by Russia at least a decade ago. Maybe he knew it or maybe not but the Russian dog collar was welded tightly around his fat neck when he took the first Russian ‘loan’.

    • JCF

      In other words, ethically, he was a PERFECT match for Drumpf!

  • JWC

    These guys were simply met a Russian official who was tired of the bullshit and stamped their passports Russian in general should start doing these little things more and more. I said it yesterday and I will say it again today, its a small thing but many small things can make a movement, Water over time and with the right circumstances will break a rock

    • Friday

      He apparently was violating his precious ‘religious freedom’ without even noticing it! 🙂

      • JWC

        I really feel that there is,albeit small, a groundswell of Russians who are anti Putin and it will slowly grow

        • Friday

          Even more that simply have not known much of anything but authoritarianism of one kind or another for centuries, and there’s simply a ‘keep your head down’ attitude among very many.

          • JWC

            That is a changing dynamic There is a Nalvany who challenged Putin and is constantly thwarted but still resurfaces . Is he a savior no, but he is a paragon of possible change He is one , soon others

    • Halou

      “What is an ocean but a multitude of drops?”

  • zhera

    Fucking Russia! Fucking Putin!

  • teedofftaxpayer

    Russia will always find a reason to back up their hate.

  • ceeenbee

    Russia . . . Talk about your shithole countries.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Agreed, though Trump seems eager to catch up.

      • Boss Dave✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

        They’re 18th in the world in GDP, but only a tiny number control even that. It’s what Trump and other oligarchs want: to shrink the US economically to where only a few people have anything at all. Because a real middle class with money is perceived to be a threat to them.

    • Gianni

      That’s all too true.

  • fastlanestranger

    This is courage.

  • TexasBoy

    “…but does not state same-sex unions constitute as a disqualifying factor.”

    Which no doubt the Russian Government will “correct” shortly.

  • Halou

    In what way are the passports damaged?

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Gay cooties and you know how much those damage things./s

  • JWC

    I see Russia on a threshold, maybe not in my life time, but it will happen. Much as “Arab Spring” happened and like Arab Spring it will be what the Russian people will do with it. Will them embrace it as a future light or will centuries of “heads down and move on” attitude prevail Russia will have a chance

    • William

      Putin will be gone within ten years, either through natural political process, or with assistance.

  • KnownDonorDad

    When you have a oligarchic kleptocracy in power, every opportunity is taken to use minority groups as a distraction.

  • JCF

    Mazel Tov! Stay strong, newlyweds. <3<3

    And as for you, Putin/OrthodoxChristianist Russia:

  • Calamity_Jean

    spam flag

  • When I got married to my late wife in New York in 2009, it was only because of a legal loophole based on caselaw from the 1970’s. News like this makes me appreciate the fact that while things are getting worse in the US with the rise of Trumpist fascism, it’s still not yet quite as bad as the situation is in Russia, and in many other places.

    That does not mean that the current administration isn’t trying its damnedest to become more Putinesque – for example that horrible recent move by the federal Department of Health and Human Services to permit and protect medical professionals who refuse treatment to LGBTQ people on “religious” grounds is as despicable as anything Putin is doing.

  • Boss Dave✓ᵛᵉʳᶦᶠᶦᵉᵈ

    Flagged, bagged and blocked.