Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gay "rights" in Russia will probably get worse next week

Patriarch Kirill I of Moscow (Vladimir Mikhailovich Gundyayev)
head of the Russian Orthodox Church
On Wednesday the Putin government reported that the new national security strategy of Russia contains an expanded list of national interests. Among those interests is the preservation of traditional moral values. Moral values in Russia are often defined by the leaders of the Orthodox Church. Next week the Russian Federation is poised to introduce yet another offensive anti-gay law.

As Human Rights Watch reports a new bill proposes fines for “the public expression of non-traditional sexual relations, manifested in a public demonstration of personal perverted sexual preferences in public places.” If such public displays occur “on territories and in institutions, providing educational, cultural or youth services,” the offender could face an additional penalty of up to 15 days of administrative arrest.

In other words gays could end up in jail for just holding hands, or a casual embrace, or a peck on the cheek. Passing this off as a matter of national security should enrage every Russian for its dishonesty. That doesn't seem to be the case. It is a cautionary tale. At least it should be.

The Orthodox Church plays a role in the enactment of Russia's absurd anti-gay laws. Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993. That has effectively been reversed during Putin's reign which is partly due to Putin's close relationship with the Church. It is also likely to be part of a sinister strategy to demonize a minority for political gain. At this point the Russian populace seems to support these measures.

Putin, with a net worth approximated at $200 billion, has arguably become the richest man in the world. He has accumulated this massive wealth while in government service. Bill Browder, the CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, formerly Russia's largest foreign investor – in an interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria – said that during “the first eight or 10 years of Putin's reign over Russia, it was about stealing as much money as he could.” An extraordinary thief, Putin has some strange notions about morality.

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