In a rather disgusting bit of euro-homophobia, an audience including the former Prime Ministers of Italy and France laughed when Russian President Vladimir Putin “joked” that gays are permitted to have sex with children.
Putin made the comments today in front of the former president of the European Commission, Romano Prodi, and the former Prime Minister of France, François Fillon.
Commenting on former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s conviction on charges of having paid a minor for sex, Putin told a gather of former leaders that “People judge Berlusconi because he lives with women. If he were gay, no one would care.”
In fact, Berlusconi was judged for paying a child for sex.
Putin is suggesting that society somehow let’s gays get away with having sex with children.
And of course, the added irony is that Putin is himself suggesting that Berlusconi paying a child to statutorily rape her is apparently acceptable behavior in Russia. He’s suggesting that Berlusconi’s only crime was not being gay.
While Putin’s ignorance of matters of human sexuality are not surprising, particularly in light of his recent decision to crack down on Russia’s gay and trans citizens in order to buttress his own sagging support in the polls, it still is interesting that Putin is himself now commenting on gay matters, and expressing blatant homophobia.
Up until now, Putin left it to his henchman in the Russian cabinet and parliament to express his backwards beliefs on human rights. The fact that Putin felt the need to slam gays publicly, in his own voice, at an event with former world leaders no less, suggests to me that Putin is sweating.
Putin’s desperation is only further evidenced by his hiring ace New York PR firm Ketchum to spread his lies, and buff up his gay-hating, genocidal-dictator-loving image here in America.
Top Russian LGBT activist Masha Gessen said recently that the attention the international community was giving to Putin’s anti-gay pogrom was making the Russian government think twice about whether to be more anti-gay in the future. That means they know we’re watching, and it’s making them uncomfortable.
Other observers have suggested that Putin was caught off-guard that the world stood up to his legislative gay-bashing, and the threat the Russian government’s virulent homophobia now poses to the 2014 Winter Olympics taking place in Sochi, Russia in February.
The Olympic problem is in large part because numerous Russian authorities have threatened to jail gay Olympians, media, and guests attending the Sochi games in February of 2014. This comes on the heels of news that vigilante groups have organized across Russia to kidnap young gay people, terrorize them, rape them, and even kill them, with the tacit, at the very least, complicity of the Russian authorities.