Vladimir Putin’s proud assault on homosexual Russians is surely one of the lowest moments in Russian history, and for a country as woefully wretched as Russia, that’s saying quite a lot.
Barack Obama, who started out his term in office offering Russia a “reset” of relations in Russia’s favor, is now so disgusted with Putin that not only has he refused to meet personally with Putin during the upcoming G-20 summit which Russia is hosting in St. Petersburg, he’s going to meet instead with a group of LGBT activists who oppose Putin. This is an unprecedented humiliation inflicted on a Russian head of state.
International attention is even more humiliating for Russia. A big story in the Washington Post points out that Grand Duke Konstantin Konstantinovich Romanov, a leading figure in Russia’s cultural history, was bisexual. The Huffington Post trashed a Russian biopic on Pyotr Tchaikovsky for ignoring the fact that he was gay. The list of additional utterly humiliating stories that may appear in the future about the long line of famous gay Russians is virtually endless, from Nikolai Gogol to Tsar Ivan IV (“the Terrible”).
The gay crackdown has whipsawed back in Putin’s face over the Winter Olympics Putin plans to stage in Sochi in a few months. A furious boycott of major Olympic sponsor Coca-Cola is now underway worldwide, as well as a boycott of Russian vodka, and there is no telling how many utterly humiliating anti-Russian demonstrations may take place at the Sochi games by gay and gay-friendly athletes. Russia stands to take the worst and most humiliating beating of any Olympic host in world history given the prevalence of social media.
Putin has stammered and muttered in response. His most recent interview on the subject, where he babbles gibberish and implies that foreigners will get special treatment under Russian law during the Olympics that Russians will not get, ought to embarrass and outrage every Russian citizen.
Putin’s ham-handed handling of the gay rights issue shows how badly his ability to rule the nation has deteriorated, right along with the Russian economy which as we recently reported now stands on the brink of a double-dip recession.