Russian President Vladimir Putin, apparently interested in earning his NYC-based PR firm, Ketchum, some extra money covering up his ongoing domestic and international human rights violations, today claimed, incredibly, that not only do gays face no discrimination in Russia, but that gays are responsible for depopulating Europe.
Putin is in the midst a multi-year campaign to save his failed presidency via Russia’s tried and true tactic of picking on a minority. It used to be Jews (well, it still is Jews), but now it’s also gay and trans people. Putin recently signed a draconian anti-gay law making it basically illegal for gay and trans people to be out, but it also makes it illegal for anyone (gay or straight) say, or do, anything perceived as pro-gay, including something as simple as wearing rainbow suspenders.
The Russian legislature is now working on legislation to take away the children of gay people. What a lovely venue for the 2014 Winter Olympics.
In response to the culture of hate that Putin and the Russian legislature have fed over the past few years, a nationwide vigilante organization is now kidnaping and torturing young gay Russians in order to punish and/or “cure” them of their gay sexual orientation. In one case just last week, the Russian vigilantes kidnapped, beat, put a gun to the head, and then raped with a bottle and baseball bat, a young gay Russian, filmed it, and then posted the video online.
The Russian authorities are generally uninterested in prosecuting the violent vigilantes, in essence giving them the government’s tacit approval to kidnap and torture young Russians who the Putin regime disapproves of. Keep in mid that most of these videos not only show the victims’ faces, they show the faces of the kidnappers and their small home towns. (See screen shots from some of the videos below.) So it’s not exactly rocket science finding out who these folks are.
Though it should be noted in one case, after the international media descended on the story, the Russians said they would attempt to prosecute the criminals, and that if convinced, they would get 3 months in jail. By contrast, you get 5 years in jail in Russia for shooting a cat. Naturally, there’s been no word of progress in the case.
But Vladimir Putin says there’s no discrimination against gay and trans people in Russia. Discrimination like this:
You have to keep in mind that Putin grew up in the KGB – and even took over the domestic follow-on to the KGB – which was a key part of the Soviet police state, but also very pre-Internet. It seems that Putin’s professional training as a paid liar for the brutal Soviet regime – a dictatorship that was in fact seriously adept at lying (they put Fox News to shame) – isn’t doing him any favors in the new millennium in which the Internet quickly debunks the Russian president’s hateful, bigoted and in this case, bizarre, lies.
Putin made a second, even more bizarre, point about how gays were somehow responsible for depopulating Europe, a continent that Putin claims is dying.
Putin says while some European nations have allowed gay marriages, “the Europeans are dying out … and gay marriages don’t produce children.”
And anyone wonders why Russian vigilantes are kidnaping and torturing gays, with President Torquemada at the helm.
As for Putin’s bizarre claim that Europe is dying, perhaps Putin should get out of Russia once in a while and see just how dying Europe is. It’s so dying that Russia’s top Olympic pole vaulter recently quit Russia all together and moved to Monaco, talking about how boring and ugly her former home town is. That’s how “dying” Europe is. Russia should only hope to “live” as much as Europe is “dying.”
Not to mention, France, where gay marriage is legal, has a growing population, whereas Germany, where gay marriage is not legal, does not. So in addition to being ridiculous, Putin is also wrong on the fact (better ask Ketchum about this one too, Vlad).
Putin, like our own conservatives here in the US and in Europe, is pandering to worst of the country, and it doesn’t really matter to him if he tells them the truth of their lives, the truth of how we live in America and Europe compared to mafia- and skinhead- ridden Russia. What matters is a lie believable enough to give the people an enemy to blame for their woes, rather than have them blame the man truly responsible, the guy running the country into the ground.
You do have to give Putin credit for one thing. A lot of people, worldwide, had no clear idea what Russia was like since the fall of the Soviet Union. I suspect a lot of people had hoped that things were significantly better now that the tyrants, the dictators, and the ensuing police state were finally gone. Except they weren’t gone. And now the entire world knows it.
So thanks, President Putin, for showing the world just how backwards, hateful and dangerous a place Russia is for every day life, for business, and for the Winter Olympics in 2014.