By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com January 15 2014 7:39 PM ET
A new report from the Russian Foreign Ministry slams the European Union for what Russian officials call "the aggressive propaganda of homosexual love," according to state-run Russian news agency RIA Novosti's English-language site.
The annual report, published Tuesday, accuses the EU of trying to promote an "alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life," according to RIA Novosti. The news outlet's English translation of the report contends that it refers to gay people as "queers," and denounces Europe's "dissemination of their neo-liberal values as a universal lifestyle for all other members of the international community."
Russia's Foreign Ministry issued a similar report last year, though the latest report also takes Europe to task for "a steady growth of xenophobia, racism, violent nationalism, chauvinism and neo-Nazism."
The complaints about Europe's human rights violations are interesting coming from Russia, which last summer enacted a nationwide ban on so-called gay propaganda in venues accessible to minors, and which has earned a reputation for violently suppressing political dissent. The leader of a group of neo-Nazi Russian nationalists recently fled the country to avoid prosecution in connection to his organization's repeated luring of gay men into apartments where the men were beaten, humiliated, tortured (sometimes to death), and made to confess to pedophilia — all captured on videos that were then posted to Russian social networking site VKontakte.
Despite this discriminatory and hostile environment — which has seen LGBT Russians and visitors arrested, beaten, harassed, and sometimes killed for being LGBT or supporting equality — President Vladimir Putin contends that gay people are "not discriminated against in any way" in Russia. Putin and numerous other state officials have also offered vague promises that when the southern city of Sochi hosts the Winter Olympics next month, all athletes and spectators will be safe, "comfortable," and that the country's top priority is to host an event that creates "equal terms for all athletes."