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Conservative family hates LGBTQ+ people so much they moved to Russia & shocker it didn't go well

Conservative family hates LGBTQ+ people so much they moved to Russia & shocker it didn't go well

Anneesa and Arend Feenstra, conservative Christian YouTubers who moved from Canada to Russia
Countryside Acres

The right-wing family left the freedom of Canada for an oligarchy all because of their hatred of LGBTQ+ people and "left-wing ideology."

Conservative Christians Arend and Anneesa Feenstra wanted to find a place to live that would get them away from queer people and "left-wing ideology" so they hopped on a plane with their eight kids and moved from Canada to Russia.

Who needs freedom when you can live somewhere that hates gay people as much as you do?

"We didn't feel safe for our children there in the future anymore," Arend Feenstra said on Russian state TV. "There's a lot of left-wing ideology, LGBTQ+, trans, just a lot of things that we don't agree with that they teach there now, and we wanted to get away from that for our children."

He continued, "Russia also has the strength to stand up to Western pressures; it will stand on its own and keep that stuff away for many, many, many years."


In a video recorded back in May, Arend Feenstra also said he was “disgusted” by “the homosexual flags everywhere” in his hometown. “This is one of the main reasons why we want to leave this country,” he explained. “It is openly celebrated and worshipped almost.”

The family wasn't wrong when they picked a country that wouldn't be friendly to the queer community. Russia has a long history of marginalizing LGBTQ+ people, and on November 30, 2023, Russia's Supreme Court ruled that the "international LGBT movement" — which isn't a thing BTW — is an "extremist organization," putting any form of LGBTQ+ activism at risk, according to the Human Rights Watch.

If you're a conservative Christian, this might seem like the perfect place to live, but for the LGBTQ+ community, it would be dangerous, and that should make everyone — gay or straight — think twice about moving there. The Feenstras apparently did not. They expected that moving to Putin's authoritarian regime would be a dream come true for people who share his hate for queer people, but they almost immediately regretted their choice. Which we know because the family have documented their journey to Russia and the trials and tribulations of settling in the new country on their YouTube channel, Countryside Acres. The videos have proven popular, taking them from around 10,000 subscribers to now over 100,000.

Their plan to settle and buy a farm hit a snag when they discovered that their credit cards didn't work in Russia, and their bank accounts were frozen after transferring money into the country. They had also received donations from viewers of their YouTube channel, and the high number of small transfers raised red flags with the Russian bank.

The bank required them to provide proof of where the funds came from, but the Feenstras were having trouble doing that because they didn't have the proper documentation and because of the significant language barrier.

Oh yeah, did we mention that the family of 10 picked up and moved to Russia without knowing the language?

Despite this type of banking fraud alert happening in many countries — including the U.S. and Canada — the snafu caused Anneesa Feenstra to post a now-deleted video complaining about her new homeland and wishing she could return to the Great White North. "I'm very disappointed in this country at this point," she said, as reported by Pink News. "I'm ready to jump on a plane and get out of here. We've hit the first snag where you have to engage logic in this country and it's very, very frustrating."

Then on February 8, the video was reposted with her criticisms of Russia edited out and Arend Feenstra posted a new video apologizing and explaining that they removed their prior video after "reading an article that said we were 'disappointed with Russia.'"

He continued, "We are not disappointed with Russia — in fact the opposite is true. What Anneesa actually said was, 'I am very frustrated in this country right now.' This was a reflection of her inner frustration with not being able to speak and understand."

He goes on to say that he's happy these banking laws are in place and that the language barrier played a significant role in their frustration.

Although he doesn't elaborate in the video, freedom of the press is a tenuous thing in Russia, where journalists and social media influencers have been fined or arrested and forced to apologize for speaking out against the Kremlin, the Daily Kos notes.

Kinda feels like the family was blinded by their homophobia and transphobia and moved to an oligarchy without thinking it through.

Arend and Anneesa Feenstra didn't immediately respond when PRIDE reached out for comment.

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Ariel Messman-Rucker

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.

Ariel Messman-Rucker is an Oakland-born journalist who now calls the Pacific Northwest her home. When she’s not writing about politics and queer pop culture, she can be found reading, hiking, or talking about horror movies with the Zombie Grrlz Horror Podcast Network.