Paper Title

[1.1] Sexuality as a Scapegoat: Political Homophobia in Present Day Russia

Location

Arts & Education Building 260, Moderated by Dr. Robert Hanlon

Start Date

18-1-2019 3:30 PM

End Date

18-1-2019 4:45 PM

Disciplines

History | Political Science

Presentation Type

Presentation

Abstract

Russia’s recent legal actions against homosexuals fulfills a strategy of political homophobia that identifies an ‘other’ to scapegoat, distracts from other political issues, and drives national identity. The political homophobia in present day Russia continues from the legacy of persecution against homosexuals in Soviet Russia and fits into a modern narrative of nation building that has been used in other countries. Homosexuals in Russia have experienced legal persecution beginning in Imperial Russia and lasting through most of the Soviet period. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought an upheaval of social and economic conditions including social values and national identity. In Vladimir Putin’s first presidential term, his regime stabilized itself based on remasculinization and later ‘traditional values’. Concerns about a demographic crisis and of Western influence are invoked to create fear, fuel homophobic attitudes, and justify legal actions. Anti-homosexual propaganda laws, which first began appearing regionally in 2006, spread to a federal ban in 2013. Russia’s homophobic legislation has received support from the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian public. Western governments, media, and activists have denounced Russia’s homophobic actions, but their criticism has not changed the conduct of the Russian government. The anti-homosexual propaganda laws embolden the homophobic attitudes of Russian society including violent vigilante groups. By examining Russia’s homophobia as a political strategy and historical legacy, a better understanding of how to challenge these homophobic attitudes and policies can be attained.

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Jan 18th, 3:30 PM Jan 18th, 4:45 PM

[1.1] Sexuality as a Scapegoat: Political Homophobia in Present Day Russia

Arts & Education Building 260, Moderated by Dr. Robert Hanlon

Russia’s recent legal actions against homosexuals fulfills a strategy of political homophobia that identifies an ‘other’ to scapegoat, distracts from other political issues, and drives national identity. The political homophobia in present day Russia continues from the legacy of persecution against homosexuals in Soviet Russia and fits into a modern narrative of nation building that has been used in other countries. Homosexuals in Russia have experienced legal persecution beginning in Imperial Russia and lasting through most of the Soviet period. The collapse of the Soviet Union brought an upheaval of social and economic conditions including social values and national identity. In Vladimir Putin’s first presidential term, his regime stabilized itself based on remasculinization and later ‘traditional values’. Concerns about a demographic crisis and of Western influence are invoked to create fear, fuel homophobic attitudes, and justify legal actions. Anti-homosexual propaganda laws, which first began appearing regionally in 2006, spread to a federal ban in 2013. Russia’s homophobic legislation has received support from the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian public. Western governments, media, and activists have denounced Russia’s homophobic actions, but their criticism has not changed the conduct of the Russian government. The anti-homosexual propaganda laws embolden the homophobic attitudes of Russian society including violent vigilante groups. By examining Russia’s homophobia as a political strategy and historical legacy, a better understanding of how to challenge these homophobic attitudes and policies can be attained.