Under the rule of Putin, Russia has quickly returned to the authoritarian days of communism. Any form of dissent is not tolerated. Differences of opinion are not to be voiced and different lifestyles are seen as a threat. This was clearly demonstrated on Friday, October 12, when a crowd of at least 2 dozen masked men stormed a popular Moscow Gay Bar and viciously attacked the patrons. At the time of the attack there were approximately 50 people in the bar. More than 10 were injured in the assault and 4 (3 women and one man) had to be hospitalized.
Under communism gay rights were non-existent and being openly gay invited extreme violence. The KGB openly harrassed gay citizens and even paid young muscle bound thugs to attack gay people. After the fall of communism it was hoped that the persecution of gay citizens would end and that there would be an expansion of rights. Indeed, in 1993 male homosexuality was decriminalized and finally, in 1999 homosexuality was removed from the lists of mental illnesses. In 2003, openly gay people were allowed to serve in the military, although they did so at extreme risk to their personal safety as the Russian military remains very intolerant of homosexuality. It seemed that Russia was moving towards tolerance for gay rights. However, Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church have united to create an atmosphere of extreme intolerance towards gay citizens. Currently, there are no laws which prohibit discrimination against Russia’s gay citizens. Cities and local districts are given a great deal of legal authority to enact their own laws. For example, in June of this year Moscow passed a law banning gay pride parades for 100 years. Similar laws have been passed across Russia and the establishment of anti-gay laws nationwide is being led by the Russian Orthodox Church.
Putin is dragging Russia back into its past of repression and intolerance. He is being assisted by the Russian Orthodox Church. Russia has a long history of brutal leaders and Putin appears to be positioning himself to stay in power for a very long time. Putin and the Russian Orthodox Church both have blood on their hands. Their thirst for power is killing people and returning a country to its ignoble past.