Russia

Why Is the Church Silent about Anti-LGBT+ Violence in Russia?

by Katherine Kelaidis

rainbow laces.jpgThere are a lot of really good reasons to ban FIFA ’17, including the bevy of corruption scandals that seem to plague the governing body of the world’s most popular sport. But a group of Russian MPs, many from Vladimir Putin’s own United Russia Party, have managed to seize on the most ridiculous: “The FIFA multiplatform video game… invites users to support the action of the English Premier League’s ‘Rainbow shoelaces’ action – a large-scale campaign in support of the LGBTQ+ community. Meanwhile, according to the law the ‘protection of children from information harmful to their health and development’…includes information that promotes non-traditional sexual relations.”

The MPs’ letter is just a recent (and, let’s be honest, absurd) example of the hostile climate that LGBTQ+ people face in Russia, particularly since the passage of the 2013 “Anti-Propaganda” law (the one referenced above by the MPs). Continue Reading…

The European Union, Russia, Religion, and Fear

by Kristina Stoeckl

On 23 November 2016, the European Union Parliament passed a resolution entitled EU strategic communication to counteract anti-EU propaganda by third parties. In one part of this resolution, the signatories deplore that

the Russian Government is employing a wide range of tools and instruments, such as think tanks and special foundations (e.g. Russkiy Mir), special authorities (Rossotrudnichestvo), multilingual TV stations (e.g. RT), pseudo news agencies and multimedia services (e.g. Sputnik), cross-border social and religious groups, as the regime wants to present itself as the only defender of traditional Christian values, social media and internet trolls to challenge democratic values, divide Europe, gather domestic support and create the perception of failed states in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood.

The resolution was approved by 304 votes to 179, with 208 abstentions.

Religion comes up in two places in this resolution. Continue Reading…

After the Yarovaya Laws: The Russian Orthodox Church and the “Traditional Values” International at a Crossroads

by Christopher Stroop

One of the strangest aspects of Vladimir Putin’s third term as president of the Russian Federation has been the emergence of Russia as the global standard bearer for so-called “traditional values.” Many commentators, pundits, scholars, and Russia watchers have had difficulty coming to terms with this shift.

While certain left-wing commentators such as Stephen F. Cohen and Glenn Greenwald have joined Green Party candidate Jill Stein in continuing to see Russia as somehow mysteriously leftist, Moscow has made no secret of its pursuit of a “traditional values” agenda in close collaboration with the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church. At the same time, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump consistently supports Putin and spouts Russian propaganda. Continue Reading…