Russian Anti-LGBT Demonization Leads to Violence

It’s been clear for some time now that Russia’s harsh anti-gay law passed last year is creating an atmosphere that encourages violence against gay people and that the Russian government has little inclination to protect them from it. Right Wing Watch quotes human rights activists on the nature of that atmosphere:

Matthew Schaaf, a Russia expert at Freedom House, said that while there were plenty of logistical questions about the enforcement of the ban on gay “propaganda” to minors that was passed last year, one effect of the law is clear.

“What we’ve actually seen is that this law in Russia and other restrictions on LGBT people and people who advocate for LGBT rights is essentially a license to commit violence against them, to discriminate against them,” he said. “It creates an environment where these people are positioned as being others, as not being us, as an influence that we need to control and to destroy.”

Schaaf said that the anti-gay bills are “part of an overall crackdown on civil society in Russia.”

He mentioned theĀ newly released Russian state cultural policy, which explicitly rejects “the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance” and denies state support to “cultural projects which impose alien to society values.”

“What is common to all of these different issues is a rhetoric of some kind of external, existential threat to Russia, to Russian culture, to Russia as a country, to the borders of Russia, to the Russian people, to the Russian economy, and so on,” Schaaf said. “So, if you’re hearing this message, you’re hearing a message that’s frightening: that the country is under assault by these horrible, horrible forces.”

This is absolutely standard demagoguery. You take an already hated and marginalized population and blame them for everything wrong with your society and call them a threat to the nation and violence become inevitable. At the risk of upsetting Mr. Godwin, this is, in fact, exactly what Hitler did to the Jewish people as well as gay people, gypsies and others.

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  • doublereed

    I think a more apt comparison would be to Stalin. The Russians would probably appreciate it more.

  • Trebuchet

    And I just heard that pro-Russian thugs in eastern Ukraine are demanding that Jews register. Who’d have thought I’d be missing the Soviet Union?

  • Doubting Thomas

    I think a more apt comparison would be to Stalin. The Russians would probably appreciate it more.

    And not in a good way.

  • steve84

    You can find plenty of examples. In other cases it’s immigrants who are blamed for problems. Though maybe not on such a large scale as you can see in totalitarian countries. Sometimes it’s a foreign rival country.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    Why should Mr Godwin feel upset that Mr Brayton provided the umptillionth datapoint supporting his Law?

  • sunsangnim

    Any attempt by the west to try to help LGBT Russians is seen as another example of the west interfering in Russia’s domestic affairs. But apparently it was ok for the American evangelicals to go over there and start this hate movement.