Monday, July 29, 2013

What the HELL are we doing?

Russian LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev
 Russian LGBT rights activist Nikolai Alexeyev being punched in spite of police
The guy who threw the punch was not arrested
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia 20 years ago. It has been re-criminalized. In effect, it is illegal to be gay in the Russian Federation

I am a Jew. I loathe Third Reich references which minimize the horrors of the Holocaust. Nevertheless, as an issue of fact Putin's latest crackdown is remarkably similar to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935. The Nuremberg Laws were based on racial pseudo-science. Putin's laws are based on sexual pseudo-science. The laws are sufficiently ambiguous to mean whatever someone wants them to mean.

Another similarity is the effect that these laws have had on the general population. They empowered citizens to do violence to the targeted minority. I posted a video the other day that still has my blood boiling. Gay teens are at particular risk for violence and degradation. It's uncivilized.

In one respect, the Nuremberg Laws pale in comparison to the Putin Law. The Nuremberg laws affected about 500,000 people, less than 1% of the population. The Putin laws probably affect 5% of the population or about 7 million people.

We just learned on Sunday that Two Russian lawmakers requested prosecutors to launch a criminal case against a prominent Russian gay rights activist over his Twitter remarks, the Izvestia daily said on Monday. They informed the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office that gay rights campaigner Nikolai Alexeyev posted rude and offensive remarks about them in his Twitter messages while commenting on the recent adoption of the gay propaganda ban.

So now gays can be prosecuted for insulting someone in power? What is the penalty for being rude and offensive? How far might this go?

If you follow Putin's crackdown to its logical conclusion, he or they are trying to prevent gays from persuading others to be gay. It is patently absurd. Putin has also claimed that he is yielding to the desires of his citizens.  Instead of creating a group of second class citizens (arguably 5% of the population), the government should be educating the citizenry. Instead they are reinforcing ignorance

Unlike the United States, Putin does not have a problem with the religious right. Only 25% to 35% of the population even identifies at Christian or Muslim. The rest are indifferent or atheists — tradition as a result of about 75 years of Soviet rule.

In this country we know that homophobia is in inverse proportion to education. A high school drop-out is much more likely to be hostile to LGBT people than a college graduate. While Russia has some stellar institutions of higher education, the average Russian receives three to four years less education than the average American.

Along comes Stoli

I actually felt sorry for Stoli at first. How fucking stupid can I be? Instead of using their influence to convince us that Stolichnaya supports the LGBT community, they should be using their influence on their own government.

Why are we participating in the Olympic Games?

The IOC claims that they have assurances from the highest levels in the government. Unless Putin has issued a public directive, those assurances are meaningless. And what are they going to do about the skinheads? Furthermore, why are we rewarding a country that has such dismal civil rights  policies? Keep in mind that they are not just failing to protect LGBT citizens; They are targeting LGBT citizens to receive the full weight of the Russian criminal justice system.

"Oh but the poor athletes." There are millions of  gays living in the Russian Federation and this is not going to end well. What started as criminalization is probably going result in police investigations to find out who in their society is gay. Where might it go from there? Will these people be unable to work? Will assets be forfeited?

I feel for the athletes but it seems that the potential for "social cleansing" should have precedence.
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