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Views & Voices

Russia: This Berlin Wall of bigotry shall crumble too

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

If Russia is eventually freed from Vladimir Putin’s tyranny, it will partially be a result of LGBT people fighting this rogue nation’s state-sponsored terror apparatus. Worldwide efforts are now underway to pressure this petro police state into abolishing its recently passed anti-gay laws.

The so-called “gay propaganda” law harshly punishes anyone who says anything positive about LGBT people or holds Pride rallies. If foreigners are arrested for violating this monstrosity, it can lead to 15 days in jail and deportation (or as some may call it, freedom).

There is also a grotesque new law that bans adoptions of Russian children by people who live in nations that allow gay marriage.

Predictably, the deplorable crackdown and homophobic bile spewed by Russian officials has led to an upswing in anti-gay violence, giving neo-Nazi thugs free rein to target vulnerable LGBT people.

This horrific situation is comparable to giving hooligans in America a pat on the back for committing hate crimes, while blaming the victims for existing. This disgusting abdication of Russian leadership has inverted the nation’s moral compass and given license to deplorable crimes against humanity.

What is occurring in Russia is a psychotic pogrom against homosexuals. The goal is to terrorize and humiliate LGBT people and make their lives a living hell. Such ignorant bullying and cruel barbarism will not stand and Russia will pay a prohibitive price for its outrageous actions.

If Russia doesn’t end its war on gay people, the worldwide LGBT community and their millions of heterosexual allies will make so much noise that the Winter Olympics in Sochi will be turned into a gay rights spectacle.

It will be GAY, GAY, GAY, GAY all night and day – and there isn’t a damn thing that Russia can do about it without creating an international furor that will overshadow their undeserved moment on the world stage.

Much of this venomous hatred can be traced to the Russian Orthodox Church and its corrupt leader, the bejeweled Patriarch Kirill I. This weekend, Putin joined Kirill in a Kiev ceremony “deepening the ties and common agenda of the Kremlin and Russian Orthodox Church,” according to the New York Times.

The only silver lining is that crooked religious leaders, who are cynically co-opted by police states, usually end up discredited while bringing ill repute to the church. This is precisely what happened in Spain, for example, where the Roman Catholic Church damaged its reputation by supporting Franco.

There are several points of leverage that must be explored to pressure Russia into behaving like a civilized nation:

Boycotting the Olympics:  This is unlikely, given that the event is only months away. There are also conflicting opinions regarding a boycott in the LGBT community, with some advocates preferring to participate in the games and make a pro-LGBT statement on Russian soil. Nevertheless, the very threat of a boycott should continue, because it has caused the media to pay attention to the dire situation.

Pressuring NBC: This network will be airing the Olympic games. It would be unconscionable if they allowed Putin to whitewash Russia’s crimes against humanity. NBC has a moral responsibility to broadcast an accurate portrayal of this nation – and not simply peddle puff pieces that depict this backward country as a lovely winter wonderland. I want to see hard-hitting news segments that not only showcase the plight of LGBT victims, but highlight attacks on the Russian media and the jailing of the nation’s political opposition.

Human Rights Campaign President, Chad Griffin, wrote a letter addressed to NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke and multiple NBC executives.  Unfortunately, the initial response from the network has been disappointing.

NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus pledged on Saturday to do the bare minimum:

“We will address those issues as they are relevant at the time of the Games, as has always been done by NBC’s coverage,” Lazarus said.

LGBT Russians are already being beaten, targeted, persecuted, intimidated, bullied, humiliated, and imprisoned. Clearly, these issues are already relevant and Lazarus should begin planning his coverage of this pogrom now.

Boycotting Russian Products: The international media is paying attention to a boycott of Russian vodka at gay bars – so this tactic has already proven to be successful. This boycott should extend to ALL Russian-made products. The burgeoning American caviar industry should immediately capitalize on this situation and begin promoting “socially conscious caviar” to boost their market share. Not only would this help Russia’s oppressed LGBT people, but it would also create American jobs during a time of high unemployment.

Targeting American Companies: American companies should reconsider doing business with Russia until the nation stops persecuting its gay citizens. Talk radio host, Michelangelo Signorile, put together a list of companies to focus on, including Caterpillar, Ernst & Young, Holiday Inn Express, and Procter & Gamble.

Long Term Strategies: Russia is able to flout international norms because of its enormous profits from the energy sector. An op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times by Richard Rosecrance stated, “…when oil prices rose, abundant energy supplies allowed Russia to conclude that it didn’t need the West, nor did it need to be democratic.” America and Europe should pursue energy policies that dry up this toxic Russian income stream. We should also support an enhanced Euro-American free trade zone that would create an economic power with half the world’s gross domestic product – thus freezing out the Evil Empire.

We won the Cold War through ingenuity and perseverance, and this Berlin Wall of bigotry shall crumble too.

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27 more reader comments:

  1. I think the first step to any of this is to track the victims of this law early on, the teens that have been lured and abused by these sociopaths Neo-Nazis and other Russian teens. There are two world-wide known incidents of two teen boys who have been detained by these maniacs and had video/photo content put on the net. We need to find out the fate of these two boys and ensure that they (along with their families are OK and can get out of Russia if they need to. This is only going to get worse and while change is being pushed we cannot forget about the victims trapped in the country being mistreated!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:06am
  2. Boycott!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:08am
  3. Russia Taliban

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:11am
  4. WE NEED TO BOYCOTT !!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:22am
  5. Brilliant piece. There definitely needs to be heavy pressure placed on businesses based in the US and US ally nations as well as pressure put on NBC to not make this seem like some lovey dovey sporting event when horrible human rights violations will be happening right outside the walls of the stadium.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:39am
  6. i thank god everyday that my husband isn´t living in russia anymore and was granted asylum here. i couldn´t imagine him living with all that fear in russia. but the lgbt people from the whole world have to make our voice heard in all cornners of the world to try helping ours sisters and brother in russia and other countries that treat homosexuals like we are not human. so boycott russia and everything russia, if gay bars are selling russian vodka it should be boycotted too

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 4:35am
  7. Something is seriously going on with this man. He divorces his wife and has had numerous love affairs along with an illegitimate child. His father was a communist and atheist, but he recently started wearing a cross from his mother, after a trip to Israel where he had the cross blessed. Sounds like lots of conflict in his life.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 4:39am
  8. russia that fought against germany during the world war 2 and helped liberate several concentration camps now wants to go back to those dark times and create new concentration camps to homosexuals? shame on this evil president

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 4:41am
  9. putin is a typical old style Russian prick

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 4:52am
  10. what do you think he is so afraid of…maybe his own feelings…

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:11am
  11. he couldn´t be afraid of his own feelings becouse he has no feelings, heartless piece of shit

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:19am
  12. hes face and look is so evil

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:20am
  13. Putin is not the only Russian who is homophobic – local Church is a major force there and they are even worse. Even if Putin would fall, his successors would follow the same policies. And Putin´s goons would become someone else´s goons. Not that Russia actually cares what the rest of the world thinks.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 7:16am
  14. Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 10:24am
  15. Disgusting, all of them

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 1:03pm
  16. The LGBT world wide could move this mountain…

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 2:18pm
  17. Is there a way to petition all the Olympics sponsors to pull out of the upcoming Games unless Russia repeals their hate laws? It´s a big undertaking, but if several organizations band together to muster support around the world to influence the big sponsors – VISA, McDonalds, Nike, etc. – it can be done!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 3:29pm
  18. i hope so

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 4:27pm
  19. I find it interesting that the pride flag and the olympic banner bare the same colors.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5:01pm
  20. indeed

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5:22pm
  21. We have to overthrow Putin AND the bigoted activists from the Russian Orthodoxy!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 5:25pm
  22. We say H8 is bad BUT I literally HATE this ass.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:02pm
  23. :p

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:08pm
  24. hopefully!!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 6:10pm
  25. Boycott!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 8:55pm
  26. hopefully it does work.

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 9:33pm
  27. What a hateful man!

    Posted on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at 10:02pm