Skip to comments.Why Russia Turned Against The Gays
Posted on 08/02/2013 2:37:51 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
Three months before Russias parliament unanimously passed a federal law banning the propaganda of non-traditional relationships that is, same-sex ones the bills sponsor went on the countrys most respected interview show to explain her reasoning.
Analyzing all the circumstances, and the particularity of territorial Russia and her survival I came to the conclusion that if today we want to resolve the demographic crisis, we need to, excuse me, tighten the belt on certain moral values and information, so that giving birth and raising children become fully valued, lawmaker Yelena Mizulina told Vladimir Posner, Russias Charlie Rose.
Mizulina heads the Dumas committee for family, women, and children and has become the stern face of Russias campaign against gays. But she would never call it that. Russias new laws banning same-sex foreign couples from adopting Russian children in addition to banning LGBT advocacy are part of the countrys very search for survival, according to her.
On the one hand, theres its physical survival Russias birthrate plummeted in the wake of the Soviet collapse and encouraging baby-making (through government grants as well as rhetoric) has been one of Vladimir Putins hallmarks. And then theres its moral survival; if Russia is to survive as Russia it needs to reject the corrupting influences of the West.
The first form of reasoning is populist bluster. But the second goes some way toward explaining why Russia has stepped up its campaign against LGBT rights just as the European Union and the United States march in precisely the opposite direction. The violent images, restrictive legislation, and public humiliation that LGBT people in Russia now face isnt the product of a traditionalist backlash as much as it is a vital part of the new politics of Putins Russia, a nation in search of someone to define itself against.
Homosexuality wasnt really a topic of conversation in Russia for much of the last two decades. Laws banning gay sex were lifted in 1993, two years after the Soviet collapse. Slowly but surely, gay clubs began to appear in Moscow and St Petersburg, at first underground, eventually out in the open. Russian society remained widely homophobic, and there were many who saw gays and lesbians as an inevitable and evil Western import, but there were other things to worry about recovering from the collapse of a political-economic system, clawing out of poverty, dealing with the explosion of violence that engulfed a country suddenly flowing with cash and corruption.
And then came Vladimir Putin.
Putin spent the first two terms of his presidency, from 2000 to 2008, ruling with no ideology. It was an explicit decision, his former campaign and political advisor Gleb Pavlovsky once told me, that took into account the fact that so many had grown tired of the empty shell that Communist doctrine had become by the end of Soviet times. Instead there would be Putin and just Putin. Putin and his bare chest. Putin-loving animals. Putin single-handedly building kindergartens and hospitals. Putin Putin Putin.
What that strategy didnt take into account was that sometime, some day, someone would get sick of Putin. That finally happened late last year, when Putin announced he would return to the presidency following a four-year break as prime minister. A movement that largely comprised middle-class liberals took to the streets in the tens of thousands. It was a show of criticism that Putin thought would never come.
Part of his reaction has been reflexive and obvious to everyone to launch a crackdown, arrest opposition leaders, arrest average protesters, adopt laws limiting future ability to protest. The second is more oblique: Putin has launched a campaign to shore up support in the Russian heartland, that mythical place far from the bustling streets of Moscow where headscarved peasants embrace core Russian concepts that dont actually exist anymore.
In the absence of any ideology any core belief to tie together the Russian state and nation the easiest way to fill the vacuum has been by turning to the Russian Orthodox Church, a deeply corrupt, reactionary, and Kremlin-loving institution that has enjoyed a spike in support following the (atheist) Soviet Unions collapse. Thus the arrest of Pussy Riot, the anti-Putin punk band whose members were sentenced to two years in prison for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. Thus the law passed by the Duma just hours after the anti-gay law was passed, making insulting religious believers an offense punishable by up to three years in jail.
The second easiest thing has been to demonize the Other, creating an internal enemy for everyone to fear. Jews are out Putin, who values loyalty above all, has had an affinity for Jews since childhood, when he was reportedly saved from being beaten up by street kids by a Jewish neighbor. Migrants are out Russia needs millions of them in order to carry out the mass infrastructure projects that the country needs to keep its economy afloat; and the nationalist card is simply too dangerous to play with anyway. Whos left? Gays.
Demonizing gays allows Putin to tell the heartland: I will protect you and your traditional families; you are the real Russia. It also grows suspicion of the liberal opposition, presented as fundamentally un-Russian as they stand up increasingly for gay rights amid Putins growing crackdown. And finally, it allows Russia to do what it does best these days: present itself as Not The West.
It is no accident that Russia is stripping away gay rights as (popular and legal) support for gay marriage in the U.S. and Europe grows. The West is decadent, permissive, and doomed to orgiastic decline. As Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, recently put it: gay marriage is a dangerous apocalyptic system that leads a nation on a path of self-destruction.
And then there is Russia not really standing for anything, but standing against a whole lot: gays, liberals, the West. Its the strategy that Putin has chosen for his own survival.
I think the most ridiculous questions come up during the decay of an empire, said Anton Krasovsky, a prominent Russian journalist recently fired for being gay, when asked why the gay question had suddenly emerged in Russia. Its like when Judeo-Christians were fed to the lions in third-century Rome its just the sunset of the empire.
Traditional Catholic values. The Orthodox are close.
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Easy. They promulgate a behavior that is destructive to society on many levels. Moreover, liberals always cite “freedom” as meaning freedom to behave anyway they please, when the original meaning of “freedom” insofar as it relates to the founding laws of the land, refers to freedom from King George III’s tax collectors. Nothing more, nothing less.
The writer refuses to entertain the possibility that there may be some merit in repudiating decadent Western practices. Bet she would not be so insistent if Putin were a militant Muslim instead of a rather cynical returnee to the Orthodox fold.
Many traditional Evangelicals are as staunchly opposed to artificial contraception as Catholic doctrine.
“The writer refuses to entertain the possibility that there may be some merit in repudiating decadent Western practices.”
I received a classified FBI briefing in the mid-80’s. It said that the KGB was actively backing gay groups in its bid to undermine the American family. (Which was only one component in a much larger strategy which has apparently worked.) This wasn’t an idle statement. The FBI tracked the money and presented acceptable proof. Today, you couldn’t even talk about this in an official government briefing.
“Russian Orthodox Church, a deeply corrupt, reactionary, and Kremlin-loving institution”
Wow, another queer-engineered hit piece. Buzzfeed is way too predictable.
There ought to be a barf alert on this article.
Vladimir Posner is still coming down for breakfast?
Back in the Cold War, he was the main mouthpiece on Radio Moscow's North American Service. He speaks accent-free American English, having grown up in New York.
>>>The West is decadent, permissive, and doomed to orgiastic decline.<<<
I wish I could argue with this.
Vladimir Posner...I'd almost forgotten that Cold War relic. He was an early, very articulate and well-spoken version of Bagdad Bob, smoothly dispensing the Kremlin Line on US talk shows. But the analogy works even better when reversed; Charlie Rose, America's version of Vladimir Posner As per my tagline, the analogy works for most of our punditry/presstitute corps.
Destructive to society? Doesn’t that make you a Socialist? Should everyone act the way society dictates?
That’s not freedom in my book. People should be free to act as they like as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.
I don’t like having to turn down the radio every time gay marriage is discussed because my kids are riding with me either. Save it for the bedroom, I don’t care to hear it.
Analyzing all the circumstances, and the particularity of territorial Russia and her survival I came to the conclusion that if today we want to resolve the demographic crisis, we need to, excuse me, tighten the belt on certain moral values and information, so that giving birth and raising children become fully valued,
Interesting. For several years, I’ve thought that the growing acceptance of homosexuality in the “West” (moving from tolerance through acceptance, and stopping just short of a requirement), was related to demographics. Only “Western” societies have fully bought into the idea of Zero Population Growth. Accepting, and even encouraging homosexual “relationships” is one way of achieving that goal.
Perhaps some political calculation is in play, but more likely Putin is interested in his nation’s survival, and seeks to avoid having it follow in the path of America and the West’s decay into the putrid cultural cesspool that it has chosen. Makes me have much more admiration and respect for Putin. It also tells me Russia might likely out-survive America... something I never would have remotely considered a few short years ago.
Yes, I guess that makes sense. I was going to say that people should act morally because of religious reasons but I see that could be considered societal in nature.
I was more thinking that the state should not dictate actions of its citizens, but state is ultimately not the same as society, so..
Putin is a big fan of Solzhenitsyn.....even made “The Gulag Archipelago” required reading in Russian high schools. And Solzhenitsyn, more than anyone saw the fact that the West was dying, and the reasons for it.