Hannah Levintova

Hannah Levintova

Reporter/Associate Editor

Hannah Levintova reports and edits in Mother Jones' DC bureau. Previously she worked at NPR and the Washington Monthly. A proud New Englander, she enjoys tea, good books, and cold weather.

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These Badass Russian Lesbians Just Took the Best Selfie Ever—Because It Actually Matters

| Wed Feb. 4, 2015 4:24 PM EST

When Kseniya, the head of a lesbian night club in St. Petersburg, Russia, and her partner boarded their flight home from Moscow this week, they weren't expecting to run into one of their local politicians—much less the lawmaker who's been trying to make their lives hell. The women realized that Vitaly Milonov, a key architect of Russia's infamous "gay propaganda" bill, was sitting one row behind them on their Aeroflot flight, and decided this would be the perfect moment for a kissing selfie (Milonov is the redhead with the glasses):


Кто там на заднем фоне??? МИЛОНОВ! а нам похер! Мы летим в любимый клуб "Инфинити"

A photo posted by моябесконечность (@infinitykseniya) on


The caption says: "Who's that behind us??? MILONOV! And we don't give a shit! We're flying to our favorite nightclub, 'Infinity'"

In a statement to AFP yesterday, Milonov said the couple's selfie "shows that all LGBT people are mentally ill." (Yes, solid reasoning.) Kseniya later posted more information about the encounter, along with more photos, on her Vkontakte page:

"Lots of people are asking me about my last post: Did we really go and kiss in front of Milonov? Was it really Milonov? Maybe it was just somebody who looked like him? What was the flight like? And so on. Here are my answers: Yes it was really Milonov! As fate would have it, he was sitting in the row right behind us. The whole flight from Moscow to St. Petersburg, Milonov said nothing to us. We staged the photo shoot in front of him, and he hid behind his tablet when he realized. We're all super happy. Him—probably not so much."

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Russians Dismantle Steve Jobs Memorial After Tim Cook Comes Out as Gay

| Mon Nov. 3, 2014 4:43 PM EST
The memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg, Russia

Russian media is reporting that a memorial to Steve Jobs in St. Petersburg was dismantled on Friday, one day after current Apple CEO Tim Cook came out as gay.

A group of Russian companies called the Western European Fiscal Union (ZEFS) erected the more than six-foot tall monument, shaped like an iPhone and featuring an interactive screen that showed information about the Apple founder, in January of 2013, outside of an IT research university in St. Petersburg.

The ZEFS press office said the monument was taken down in order to comply with Russia's law prohibiting "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations to minors" a broadly-worded law passed in June 2013 that effectively criminalizes most LGBT expression.

ZEFS noted in their statement that the memorial had been "in an area of direct access for young students and scholars."

"After Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly called for sodomy, the monument was taken down to abide by the Russian federal law protecting children from information promoting denial of traditional family values."

Shortly after Cook wrote publicly about being gay, famously anti-gay St. Petersburg legislator Vitaly Milonov suggested that Cook be banned from Russia forever, because he might bring Ebola, AIDs, and gonorrhea into the country.

According to Russian media reports, ZEFS gave a second reason for the monument's removal: revelations by Edward Snowden that Apple sends information about its users to America's National Security Agency. (When these revelations first came to light, Apple denied having knowledge of the NSA's surveillance.)

Russian media also reported that the head of ZEFS said he wouldn't be opposed to re-installing the monument, provided that it had the capability to send a message to the US rejecting all Apple products. 

So the next logical step here would be for Russia's elite to give up their personal iPhones, right? Well, fat chance.

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