|Moscow - 2014|
Just as Adolph Hitler and his thugs orchestrated opening ceremony pageantry for the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, so too is Vladimir Putin and his goons. And just as Hitler's thugs arrested those who stood against his regimes agenda of hate and bigotry before the 1936 Summer Games, so too is Vladimir Putin. As the New York Times, at least 60 individuals have been arrested in the lead up to today's opening ceremony. Their crime? Protesting against Russia's anti-gay laws and the green light Putin has given to anti-gay vigilante violence and other Russian atrocities against minorities. I sincerely hope that worldwide viewers do not allow themselves to be duped by Putin's PR campaign. I have no animous toward the Russian people - only their foul dictator and his corrupt and vile accomplices who are continuing a near century long tradition of brutalizing far too many of Russia's citizens. Here are highlights from the Times article:
From St. Petersburg to the Caucasus, the authorities detained at least 61 people on Friday for holding unauthorized protests ahead of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The detentions underscored the government’s efforts to stifle protests even far away from the Games.The police swept up 37 people who gathered in Nalchik, the capital of the southern Caucasus republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, to draw attention to the historic grievances of the Circassians, whose homeland around Sochi was occupied by Russian imperial forces 150 years ago. In St. Petersburg, four gay-rights activists were arrested as they unfurled a banner quoting the Olympic Charter’s principle of nondiscrimination.In Moscow, at least 19 people were arrested near Red Square during a smattering of protests calling for gay rights. Those detained included several foreign activists who gathered at a clock counting down the last minutes to the opening of the Games.Yet another prominent opposition leader, Dmitri Berdnikov, the leader of a group that organizes protests against arbitrary prosecutions and court rulings, was detained at the airport in Kazan, in central Russia, as he prepared to board a flight.“Human rights are generally violated in Russia,” said Polina Andrianova, a gay-rights activist in St. Petersburg, where the four demonstrators were arrested shortly after posing for a photograph near the State Hermitage Museum with a banner that read, “Discrimination is incompatible with the Olympic Movement. Principle 6. Olympic Charter.”Among the four was Anastasia Smirnova, a spokeswoman for a coalition of gay-rights organizations in the city, who recently met with the president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, to draw attention to Russia’s policies toward homosexuality, including a law adopted last year prohibiting gay “propaganda” aimed at children. At least some of the protesters were later released, though they could face fines or other administrative punishment, according to All Out, an organization that held rallies in cities around the world this week.In Sochi, Mr. Putin appeared to express frustration that protests over Russia’s policies threatened to overshadow the spectacle of the Games. The issue of gay rights came up again during a meeting with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands.
It is also important that we recognize that Putin and Russia do not have a monopoly on homophobia or animus toward minorities. That same mindset is alive and well here in Virginia as evidenced by the GOP controlled House of Delegates action to kill every single pro-gay bill introduced this year.