Western Tyranny and the Olympics: Stop Harassing Russia over its Human Rights Record

Gay rights are important. So important that it’s time for the Western world to get its act together and to stop being so immature.

We criticise Russia for many things, and rightly so. They don’t have a proper democracy and their human rights record is pretty darn terrible, to say the least, so we should try to do something about that. But since when is it a good plan to use tyranny to create democracy? Have we not learned from all those previous wars? Are we so incapable of imagining Russia’s point of view that we are willing to jump right into a war if we have to?

National leaders are boycotting the Russian Olympics, the German national team is making a major statement with their outfits and politicians all across the Western world are unleashing their judgement on Russia, because boy oh boy are they evil. And surely these statements are going to help! Because angering an entire country that isn’t so fond of the West to begin with is a real good way to get them to agree with us!

It’s time we all start facing the truth: the Russian people are opposed to gay rights. And that doesn’t mean that we should give up, but it does mean that we need to stop seeing Putin as some evil, tyrannical puppet master, because that is an illusion. The reality is that even if Russia was a perfect democracy, the people would be voting against gay rights, and that isn’t going to change just by making them hate us even more. All we’re doing right now is convincing every Russian citizen who was still on the fence that the West is evil and that we don’t  want them to have a democracy.

What we are doing now is just plain wrong, and if only we took a moment to think rationally, to analyse our own actions without being influenced by our political bias, we would see that. Democracy doesn’t work this way. You cannot tell Russia to set up a proper democracy, only to act like a tyrant when you disagree with a decision they do make. That’s what we did in Iraq, in Vietnam, in Afghanistan and wherever else we wreaked our havoc. And yes, I really do mean “we”, because that is how the Western world is seen: we are all part of this society that believes its political ideals are superior to that of the rest of the world and we are willing to ignore those ideals just to make sure that they adopt them as well.

But that is not how it works and that is not how a country is convinced to listen to your arguments. Of course, I share those biases. I too believe that the Western world has ideals that are superior to Russia’s and I do think it is ridiculous that gay rights haven’t been universalised yet, but that doesn’t mean that turning this into another war is going to help even in the slightest way. Because that’s where we’re heading right now: the Western world is collectively pissing on Russian society, and they are not going to like that.

But war doesn’t solve anything. Not ever. Equal rights for the LGBT community, or in fact for anyone, are worth fighting for, but not in that way. We are supposed to fight with words, but also with respect, not with force and innocent blood. Listen to your own ideals. If you think a democracy is better than a tyranny, then stop supporting the tyranny and help the Western world get back to improving human rights in a democratic way. In an effective way. Only then can the Russians actually be convinced.


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More on this topic from Dean Richards:

Atheists Are Just as Ignorant as Those They Find Ignorant

Gay Rights and War: Russian and Western Politics are Equally Ignorant

The Real Activism Is Outdated: Porn at the WBC


About Dean Richards

A young student with a passion for writing. Aspiring author and human rights activist, but I write about anything. "If you don't like how things are, change it! You're not a tree!" New blog post every Monday!
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8 Responses to Western Tyranny and the Olympics: Stop Harassing Russia over its Human Rights Record

  1. Linda says:

    I don’t agree with you.
    1. Not all Russians are homophobic assholes.
    2. A democracy includes the certainty, that intolerance against others is not allowed, as far as it does not actively hurt people.
    3. Russia is wrong. There is no scientifically proven thesis that accuses gay people of being inclined towards paedophilic or murderous behaviour. There just isn’t.
    It’s all prejudice.

    I think that Russia’s disadvantage is mainly its lack of enlightenment (in the historical sense).
    There are Russians that BELIEVE that their children can be “turned gay” by talking to gays.
    They think it’s a disease. They think it’s a decision to work against the government.
    They also believe in God or rather: They believe what their priests tell them.

    Their mindset against gays is similar to the mindset of Europeans in the Middle Ages towards Jews. They’re nothing but a scapegoat that’s to blame for so many missing – but important – features that no one has managed to install yet; a reliable police force, uncorrupted politicians, a stable economy etc.

    They don’t know better. Their education is influenced by Putin and his propaganda against everything Western, how could they know?
    The majority of Russians live in the countryside, many are extremely poor, but Putin isn’t some dumb fuck, he’s intelligent, just homophobic and generally victim to the communistic indoctrination.
    “We’re doing it right, everyone else is doing it wrong. Gay people are free in Western countries, they’re always wrong so we’ll have to do the opposite and torture them to death.”

    It’s utterly pointless.

    • But doesn’t that mean that you agree that the anti-gay law stems from Russia’s (or in your opinion, Putin’s) opposition to the West?

      Because then why are we making them hate us even more? Why do we think it will work if we keep trying to force them to have the same ideals as us, knowing that doing that is basically the sole reason this law exists in the first place?

      Of course, that doesn’t mean that this isn’t all Russia’s (or Putin’s) fault, but this isn’t about who’s at fault: it’s about how we can best try to get rid of this law. And in that case, trying to convince the Russian people with arguments is a whole lot more effective than angering them even more and associating that Western arrogance with gay rights. After all, imagine if this does turn into a war… A war over gay rights. How do you think homophobes are going to like that?

      In addition to all that, I’m not so sure the image you have of Russia is entirely accurate. For instance, you argue that they oppose gay rights because of their belief in God, and because of what their priests tell them, but that is a very Western way to think. That is how it works over here, but in Russia, thinking that being gay is for a great part a cultural problem, not a religious one. Not to even mention the fact that 45% of Russians are non-religious and only 10% attend church at least once a month.

      Also, the propaganda is not as extreme as it used to be, and it isn’t exclusive to Russia. We have our fair share of anti-Russia propaganda as well (although it is unintentional and mainly caused by the bias we all have against Russia, which gets worse and worse due to that bias/propaganda), and much of our view of how Russia works is still based on what we were told decades ago. That image has not disappeared, but Russia has certainly changed, and although there is still propaganda, it’s a lot less extreme than it used to be.

      And finally, the law doesn’t say that it’s right for gay people to be tortured to death. In fact, all it says is that you get a fine (yes, a fine!) if you promote homosexual activity. Of course, the police itself has a tendency to take the law into their own hands, and Putin doesn’t act against that, but once again, that is a cultural thing that doesn’t have much to do with this law.

      Of course, I do want to repeat that I do think that this law is awful and that it has to be changed as soon as possible, but what I see is that people are losing their rationality. We scream and shout about problems that often don’t even exist, that are based on lies and prejudice, and we try to base an activist movement on that. It doesn’t work. Activism requires rationality and the truth, because otherwise you’ll only end up working against yourself. As we are now.

    • Billy bob says:

      Russians are conservatives? What? They weren’t allowed to believe in god for over 80 years, you honestly think they’re conservatives? Americans are the ones who are conservatives. Most of us can’t even accept evolution as a fact because were so conservative. And anyway, Vladimir Putin stole 108% of the russian vote in 2012 and is censoring everything. In 2004 most Russians said homosexuals didn’t bother them. How do you know Vladimir Putin didn’t just lie this time about Russian’s view on homosexuality? Just saying. Also, America has been know to demonize Russians. One day they’re homophobic, the next they’re racist; then they’re all doing krokidil and opressing the Ukrainian people, right? They’re the bad guys in every video game and movie. When people talk about Russia, they say it as if it’s a bad word. I’m not saying that Russia doesn’t have problems, because it absolutely does, but people seem to forget that America has it’s own long line of human rights violation. The west also really cannot accept the fact that there are people in Russia that are just like you and me. Just normal people. Just realize that most of the shit you see on tv and the internet isn’t real. Take it with a grain or salt and realize that most of it is propaganda, and that the anti gay law there is not unique to Russia.

      • Although I agree with the last part of your comment, I think that just like Linda, you’re thinking in a very Western way here. You equate “conservative” with “religious”, which is really not how it works. It’s how it works in the US because conservatives happen to be republicans and republicans happen to be religious, but that’s not how it works in the rest of the world, and therefore the definition of “conservative” is quite different.

        A conservative is simply the opposite of a progressive, or as a quick Google search tells us, conservatives “seek to preserve things as they are, emphasizing stability and continuity.” In that sense, Russia is very conservative (and so is the US, but again, the US is just one of the many countries involved in this, so we shouldn’t focus on that seeing as it’s different in most of Europe, Latin America and Oceania + Japan).

        Additionally… Putin stole 108% of the vote in the 2012 election? Really? Are you sure we’re talking about the same country, because I’m fairly certain, and Google once again supports me, that Putin merely received about 65% of the vote. Honestly, even if Putin was cheating, do you actually think he would be stupid enough to do it like that? He’s more cunning than that.

        So your view of how tyrannic Putin is is greatly exaggerated. You seem to realise fully that the Western media distorts our view, but that then goes for everything. Putin is not a nice man, but he is not as bad as you made him out to be.

        • Billy bob says:

          Not as bad as I make him out to be… Hmm. I don’t think he’s a great guy, he did steal the vote (check your facts again), he was head of KGB etc. etc. but I’m not trying to make him sound all evil and bad. I was just trying to make a point that russian people aren’t bad and they’re pretty much just like us, even though we constantly demonize them. There are literally men and women, young and old, JUST like people in the US. I didn’t mean for it to sound like I was ridiculing Putin. I just hate it when people talk shit about Russians As of they’re not even people or based on what they see on tv. People literally talk about Russians as if they’re shit on the bottom of their shoe and I don’t like that. I wasn’t trying to attack Putin, apologies if it came out that way. And you’re absolutely right about the conservative part, I realize that what I said was incorrect now.

  2. actually it’s conservatives over here who have used that sort of cold-war anti-russian rhetoric and it’s also the conservatives over in russia that we currently have a problem with on human rights so conservative ideology that’s the problem

    It always has been. everything anti-gay, prejudice and anti-human rights in general are conservative ideals.

    Now I’ve always been one to defend Russia saying we’re just as bad on those fronts.

    This is not the case anymore

    I will not defend russia even from the most vial, egotistical republican.
    they can have a field day

    Russia is becoming as bad as WWII Germany and their government deserves every bit of bad publicity it gets.

    and frankly (not mincing my words) if you’re defending their government now..
    you’re an asshole

  3. *it’s conservative ideology….

  4. by the way I’m Canadian saying this not American
    and even now we’re worse than America
    Stephen Harper is a giant douchbag
    so maybe it’s time to stop bickering over who’s better than who
    and just focus on making each of our own countries better instead of worse

    so what if it’s left-wing people in the west who care enough to sign petitions and donate money to try and get progress on human rights.
    human rights are universal not just a western ideal
    and descending into fascism isn’t good for any of our countries.

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