Sunday, the day of the annual KyivPride March of Equality, was a bit of a crappy day for many anti-LGBT extremists in Ukraine.
After a week of homophobic messages, violent threats, and even physical attacks on more than a dozen KyivPride participants, anti-LGBT forces in Ukraine were unable to slow down the March of Equality, let alone significantly disrupt it.
With significant police protection and public support, relatively few attacks on KyivPride participants took place on Sunday.
A few minor incidents, however, did take place. In particular one young woman was reportedly sprayed with gas by far-right radicals, while another was injured in the eye by a thrown egg. While the egg throwing was claimed by neo-Nazi group Karpatska Sich [KS], who had multiple masked members on scene, one observer told Bellingcat that the egg was actually thrown by an older man who was not part of the black-clad KS group.
After the March itself — despite the best efforts of far-right and openly neo-Nazi anti-LGBT extremists to organize “safaris” to assault marchers — no large-scale attacks on Pride participants have been reported. One attack occurred when two KyivPride participants were reportedly attacked by four young men shouting homophobic slurs. We are not yet aware of other assaults that may have taken place Sunday.
A group of anti-LGBT extremists reportedly dug deep to try and find something to throw at participants of the March of Equality.
On Sunday morning, before the March began, Kyiv’s chief of police Andriy Kryshchenko told reporters that they had completed a “special operation” the previous night — they foiled a plot from anti-LGBT extremists to literally throw feces at Pride participants.
Kyiv police reportedly detained nine people who, on an island on the Dnipro river in the Ukrainian capital’s southern outskirts, had set up what the chief of police bluntly referred to in Ukrainian as a “лайнолабораторія” (“lainolaboratoriia”) — literally a “shit-laboratory.” Photographs published by the Censor website show this makeshift “laboratory” and its products.
As seen in photos provided to Ukrainian news site Censor, the anti-LGBT extremists had indeed constructed a “shit-laboratory.”
According to Kryshchenko, the detained individuals admitted that they had stolen four portable toilets filled with feces, set up a laboratory, and stuffed approximately 200 condoms full of feces to throw at KyivPride marchers and police. The plot was reportedly foiled when the van carrying the feces-filled condoms was stopped by police before the march.
According to Censor journalist Yuri Butusov, four men who took part in the plot were men without permanent employment and who, according to his sources, also did not have any involvement in any organized far-right movements. The men were, however, reportedly associated with fiercely anti-LGBT Pentecostal pastor Anatoly Polyuhovich, a man who on Facebook called for people to join him in Kyiv to protest KyivPride and, as Christians, “do something together to urge and force our government to stop that perversion and that propaganda in Ukraine.”
Butusov further reported alleged details of the operation. The men poured the feces from the stolen portable toilets into specially purchased barrels — without respirators — all while surrounded by flies attracted to the human waste. At times, apparently, the men themselves were covered in the filth from the toilets when some of the stuffed condoms burst.
Not surprisingly, Ukrainians quickly took to the internet to make light of the bizarre nature of the foiled plot and the bumbling nature of the anti-LGBT extremists.
“The American term ‘shitlords,’ for alt-righters who shitpost on the internet, is now more relevant for Ukraine, and far from just in the figurative sense,” says another.
Others are more simple: “Tradition,” this user says in Ukrainian with a poop emoji, perhaps in reference to the far-right, anti-LGBT group “Tradition and Order”:
Memes about the bizarre plot quickly made their way into memes on Ukrainian social media.
Ukrainian news site Буквы (Bukvy) posted this meme on their Instagram page. The title translates as “When a warrior for ‘traditional values’ doesn’t answer the phone” – and clockwise from the top-left panel:
– “What his mom thinks”
– “What his dad thinks”
– “What he’s actually doing”
– “What his friends think”
Other memes had much more specific cultural references.
“Get up, bro! We’re gonna break up Pride!” says this meme also shared on Bukvy’s Instagram. The reference, however, will escape the minds of most Western readers, as it refers to popular Russian arthouse movie “Green Elephant,” a movie in which two military officers are detained and one of the officers, mad from prior abuse, tries to make friends with the other by offering him his feces, insisting it is just “sweet bread.”
While some comments and memes shared on social media were themselves anti-LGBT or sympathetic to the anti-LGBT extremists (e.g., one commented “it could have been a great show”), others clearly found much to mock in the alleged poo plotters’ actions: “excremists,” some online in Ukraine have called them.
This episode, despite its absurd and even darkly comic undertones, has an important lesson to tell us about Ukraine’s far-right, anti-LGBT extremists.
For one, it shows that a committed effort by law enforcement can indeed protect LGBT+ Ukrainians and their allies from disruption and violence.
A commitment from law enforcement stopped a violent minority of extremists from violating the rights of other Ukrainians, as some 50 to 150 members of far-right and neo-Nazi groups (e.g. Tradition and Order, Karpatska Sich, Order, etc.) failed to disrupt the march’s route and attack participants after.
It also stopped the alleged poo plotters.