It is beyond dispute that (a) America has a less-than-perfect record on supporting gay rights, even today; and (b) lots of countries, probably a majority of the globe right now, are even worse. But only one country is (as of this writing) hosting the 2014 Winter Olympics. And that country is getting more intolerant, not less. Trigger warning: this post from The Verge is so disturbing, I couldn’t bring myself to excerpt more than the title:
Russia’s new neo-Nazi sport: terrorizing gay youth online
As Vladimir Putin pushes anti-gay agenda, vigilante movements gain momentum on social media
And the Great Russian People are willing to be just as brutal towards any group that’s “not Our Kind”, with a level of enthusiastic state & social participation that our own TeaPartiers can only dream about. Mark Ames at NSFWCorp wants you to know how “Snowden’s Savior Announces Plans To Build 83 “Concentration Camps” Across Russia”:
Last week I wrote about the mass-sweeps of migrant workers by Moscow security forces, who have been busy rounding up dark-skinned out-of-towners by the thousands, herding them into tent camps rife with reports of abuse. Now the Federal Migration Service (FMS) — the agency that gave Edward Snowden his refugee asylum papers last week— has announced plans to open up 83 “concentration camps” across Russia.
The FMS — run by an old KGB comrade of Vladimir Putin’s — also announced it’s looking to hire 4,700 guards and staff to run the camps, which are based on the makeshift tent camps in Moscow currently housing up to 1000 migrant workers from Vietnam and the Muslim republics of Central Asia, causing outrage among local journalists and activists.
It’s hard to tell just how many thousands of migrants have been rounded up so far. There have been at least two large-scale round-ups — one at Cherkizovsky market, targeting people from the mostly-Muslim North Caucasus; another raid near Ulitsa Irtyshskaya, where hundreds of mostly Vietnamese migrant workers are currently being held under guard in an open-air camp, exposed to the elements. Mass-roundups in some Moscow suburbs over the past few days netted over 400 migrants in Lobnya and 600 in Dolgoprudniy, mostly citizens of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
In Moscow and Petersburg, Russian chauvinists have been taking the initiative themselves, carrying out “Russian cleansings” of dark-skinned migrant workers from local open markets, targeting dark-skinned (mostly Muslim) migrants mainly from the North Caucasus and Central Asia. Police have arrested 20 so far on charges of “hooliganism,” but they haven’t stopped the skinhead raids from continuing unabated. In the past, coordinated skinhead attacks have been linked to local police officials….
Opposition activists and journalists are already calling the camps “GULAGs.” Some are openly worrying that the real purpose of these new detention camps — especially the 83 camps announced over the weekend — is to prepare for future mass-roundups should the anti-Putin movement explode again. The Kremlin was shocked by the size and scale of the protests that appeared seemingly out of nowhere in December 2011, when tens or hundreds of thousands of Russians poured out into the streets. Russians are supposed to be docile; it turns out they’re a lot less docile than we are, in the face of far scarier state tyranny. Just a few weeks ago, thousands took to the streets in Moscow and other cities to protest the five year prison term for opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in a clearly rigged trial…
You’ve got (just under) 48 hours to read the whole thing, with the incentive that Mr. Ames and his Russian correspondents despise Edward Snowden even more than the most anti-Snowden BJ commentor..
Additional reading (because commentor lamnh36 mentioned this last night): Julia Ioffe, in TNR, wishes Lawrence O’Donnell had shut up and let her explain:
Vladimir Putin is not omnipotent. He does not control everything that happens in the Russian Federation, a vast and often inhospitable landmass that spans 10 time zones…
Putin does not orchestrate, he reacts. Putin is no chess player. He is a knee-jerk, short-sighted little tyrant. Don’t give him credit where credit isn’t due.
Americans, especially Americans who have never been to Russia, overestimate the abilities of both Putin and the Russians…
I am not a Putin apologist. I think he and his people do bad things, like kill people and fleece the country for its wealth. But neither do I think he’s oppressing the Russian masses. He is their most extreme and natural, their most post-Soviet manifestation.