The West is making a big mistake by allowing Putin’s Russia to look like a champion of virtue
Let’s get this absolutely clear: Vladimir Putin is an unpleasant, paranoid, mass murderer. His most recent crimes against humanity include invading Ukraine, imprisoning political rivals within a modern-day gulag system, and, so it has been widely alleged, ensuring the assassination of his rival, Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin, in a suspicious plane crash on August 23.
And yet … is Vlad all bad? Putin too needs to appear moral in his own people’s eyes: even Adolf Hitler didn’t campaign under the slogan “Vote for me, I’m the biggest murderer in the country”. Accordingly, Putin and his United Russia Party have tried to pose as the protectors of the nation from the scourge of certain contemporary outside ills – most notably, culturally enforced queerness. Putin might be perfectly happy to mutilate other people’s children abroad using bombs and bullets, but even he draws the line at doing it to his own nation’s infants.
Under the Tsars, due to the presence of a bizarre religious extremist testicle-chopping and breast-lopping cult called the Skoptsy, acts of medically unnecessary castration were once made specifically illegal. Under Tsar Putin, such practices will soon become so yet again. In July, a sweeping new anti-trans law was approved by the Lower House of the Duma, the Russian Parliament, potentially banning Russian citizens from changing their gender on their ID papers, or from undergoing sex-change surgery, both of which had been legalised in 1997 during the now-reversed era of post-Cold War Russian Westernisation. Non-compliant medics would be prosecuted.
Transsexuals would henceforth be prohibited from adopting or fostering children too, lest, like the Skoptsy once did, they exploit such arrangements to groom them into senseless acts of genital mutilation. The Speaker of the Duma, Putin loyalist Vyacheslav Volodin, called sex-changes “a path to the degeneration of the nation”.
“We are the only European country that opposes all that is happening in the [United] States, in [Western] Europe, and does everything to save families and traditional values,” added Volodin. “And we need to understand that there won’t be any future [for humanity in Russia] if we don’t adopt the law, if we don’t ban gender change.”
A queer definition of freedom
All this has been portrayed in the West as a sickening, dictatorial assault upon individual freedom. In December 2022, Putin had already passed new laws banning “LGBTQ propaganda”, a direct inverted mirror-image of Western diversity-related laws which effectively mandate it. Depictions of gays and their symbols in adverts, mass media, or on t-shirts would become effectively prohibited (homosexuality itself is not banned in Russia, of course; merely its proselytising).
The new bill was dubbed the “Answer to Blinken Law” after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticised the idea as a “blow to freedom to expression” – something contemporary Western governments like his own would know all about, given their own enthusiasm for repressive “hate-speech” laws.
To demonstrate the tragic consequences of this measure, Britain’s very own Pravda, the BBC, visited Darya, a stage transsexual who regularly performed at a St Petersburg club called “Gender Blender”, dressed not only as a woman, but as a sort of queer Nosferatu. Now such acts were verboten, Darya intended to leave Russia for France, to act like a mental patient there instead. It says everything about how out of touch with ordinary public sentiment media outlets like the BBC are that they honestly think the best way to elicit sympathy from their audiences is to present them with images of Herman Munster in a dress and expect them to feel sorry for such a freak.
According to a recent anguished Amnesty International report, meanwhile, Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, was in the process of “suggesting” to domestic streaming services that they remove Western series featuring lashings of gay sex such as HBO’s The Sex Lives of College Girls and the BBC’s This Is Going To Hurt (I believe it often does). This was “unabashed censorship”, an “outrageous move” performed under the “disguise [of] ‘protecting traditional values’”. And yet where were Amnesty International’s tears when similar processes of media censorship disguised as “protecting progressive values” were unleashed across the West?
The same BBC report detailing Darya’s sad plight also featured deeply upsetting details of a Russian bookstore in which a gay novel, “Shattered – a tale of romance between two men” was only available wrapped in a protective plastic cover, and with parts of the original text “redacted by the publisher”. So, not entirely unlike what Western publishers have been doing to the now-censored works of Roald Dahl, P.G. Wodehouse and Ian Fleming over here in recent years too, then?
The Olympic Gay-mes
The original version of Putin’s anti-gay propaganda laws were passed in 2013, and limited themselves purely to banning depictions and promotions of queerness aimed at children. Initially, this was presented in the West as a form of comical paranoia, with Putin put in the same lunatic bracket as UKIP councillor David Silvester, who in 2014 was widely mocked for writing a letter to his local newspaper claiming the terrible recent flooding throughout southern England had been caused not by poorly-maintained rivers, but by God’s wrath at then-PM David Cameron “acting arrogantly against the gospel” in legalising gay marriage that same year.
Also in 2014, British media was full of criticism of Demetri Marchessini, an eccentric Greek businessman (now dead) who preached not only that homosexuality was immoral and sodomy “a crime” but that modern-day women who dared wear trousers were engaging in a Biblical “abomination” which, quite rightly, was for thousands of years considered a criminal act. Marchessini was quoted as saying all women other than Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich “look terrible” in trousers.
So, the party line was clear: the only persons who objected to the West’s new, growing, pro-queer trends in any way were mad – and the Russians were no exception. Most high profile was the media-confected furore over February 2014’s Winter Olympics held over in the Russian resort of Sochi, which, it was claimed, may be unsafe for homosexuals to attend in light of the new anti-gay laws being passed. As the 2013 iteration of these laws only specifically made it illegal for adults to propagandise homosexuality to children, however, it is unclear precisely how it would be unsafe for any given gay to visit, unless he was hoping to hand out free copies of Brokeback Mountain to nearby adolescents.
Russia’s then-Deputy PM, Dmitry Kozak, assured homosexuals that they would be welcome in Sochi, where they could indeed legally engage in “sexual activity” with one another, but under one single condition: “Please do not touch kids. That’s the only thing.”
But, once again, in media reports, these specifics were elided into a disingenuous narrative implying Russia was now being made wholly unsafe for gays by a bunch of ga-ga, bigoted know-nothings. In an interview with the BBC’s John Sweeney, Anatoly Pakhomov, Sochi’s Mayor, was lured into the implausible claim there were no gay people at all in his city. When Sweeney told Pakhomov he had spent the previous evening in a Sochi gay bar, the Mayor squirmed and reluctantly admitted there might be some gays in Sochi after all, “but I don’t bloody know them!”
Vladimir Putin himself later reassured leading political interviewer Andrew Marr on his BBC One show that homosexuals had nothing whatsoever to fear from visiting his country. After all, the Russian people loved gay pop stars like Elton John, he explained – just so long as Elton too kept away from their kids. “I am not prejudiced in any way,” Putin said of gays. “I would definitely talk to them.”
It is always easy to elicit amusingly stupid comments from individual persons and then present them as being typical of a whole nation or its political class. If I were a Kremlin media stooge, I could easily pick up on UK Labour Party MP Dawn Butler’s notoriously absurd 2019 justification of promoting homosexuality in schools on the grounds that “90% of giraffes are gay” to portray all Western politicians as intolerant pro-gay loonies rather than bigoted anti-gay ones, like our media says the Russians are, when in fact neither of these situations is entirely true.
But, increasingly, this became the Western media narrative. In 2015, a Scandinavian peacenik body, the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society (SPAS) unveiled its new “Singing Sailor Underwater Defence System”. Following incursions of Russian submarines into Swedish seas, the SPAS had created a sub-repelling underwater flashing neon sign of a dancing sailor naked except for white cap and underpants and surrounded by love-hearts which emitted the phrase “This way if you are gay!” in Morse Code. “Welcome to Sweden – gay since 1944”, words above the sailor said, a reference to the year homosexuality was legalised there (good to see Stockholm getting its priorities right in the middle of WWII).
Again, the message of media outlets who gleefully reported this stunt was clear. Putin’s 2013 anti-gay laws – or “child protection laws”, as they could equally well have been billed by more honest reporters – were the work of a nation of rabid, mentally ill homophobes, their versions of Britain’s own Demetri Marchessini or David Silvester. Thereby, not only were the Russians discredited, opponents of creeping queer totalitarianism at home were subtly smeared by association simultaneously. This process continues today: look at this 2022 column from left-wing US op-ed writer L.Z. Granderson, opposing Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ wholly reasonable “Don’t Say Gay Bill” measure to prevent gay proselytising in schools on the grounds that “That’s right, Vladimir Putin created a ‘don’t say gay’ bill first” back in 2013, thus making DeSantis’ measure “a Putin regime creation.”
But if Putin really did invent the “Don’t Say Gay Bill” idea, that just makes him far-sighted, not mad. Back in 2013/14, the idea queer lobbyists would be bringing drag queens into nursery schools would have seemed ludicrous to most of us. And yet, ten years on, here we are, this is all now actually happening, on a daily basis. Far from being delusional or alarmist, Putin’s original 2013 measures now seem wholly rational and prescient. Just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to queer you – or your kids.
The pink revolution
Since Putin’s 2020 invasion of Ukraine, the new line is now pushed that, actually, Putin’s government are only passing anti-gay legislation to distract from the chaos they have unleashed onto their own populace.
Doubtless, there is an element of truth to this sceptical assessment, and Putinistas do indeed exploit widespread anti-gay sentiment amongst voters for their own ends. Exhibit A is Vitaly Milanov, the Russian MP who first drafted Putin’s initial 2013 anti-gay propaganda laws. An ultra-Orthodox Christian, he has claimed his past as “a demon-hunter” allows him to detect gays by smell alone: “They have a grey smell, naturally.” This amazing gaydar ability (Gaydar is actually a real Russian Christian name) made Milonov the perfect host of a new online game-show, I’m Not Gay!.
But how seriously are we supposed to take all this? I strongly suspect most domestic Russian viewers know full well how stupid the show is, but consider it a sort of “up yours!” to pious Westerners like Antony Blinken continually lecturing them about how they should live their own sex-lives. Milonov himself appears eager to engage in a sort of performative homophobia, in which he makes self-consciously outrageous comments suggesting homosexuals should be sterilised and then kept away from the public in shelters like stray cats, before backtracking and then saying gays should not be compared to street-animals at all – because this would be an insult to “cute cats”.
And yet, in more serious interviews, like a 2015 conversation with Politico, Milonov comes across as somewhat more measured, even implying he would not mind if his own son grew up to be gay, just so long as he hadn’t been pushed into becoming so by fanatical propagandists. The following assessment of growing gay dictatorship in the West, meanwhile, seems to me entirely accurate:
“We [Russians] haven’t changed. While I still consider Europeans our partners and friends, their values have altered. And values are the skeleton of a society. We are seeing a moral weakening of European nations. Western Europe is becoming something like the Weimar Republic, which was so ultra-democratic and tolerant that it perished. The Nazis came and wiped everything away. The same thing could happen in Europe if a similar group arises again. Because tolerance is incapable of standing up for itself.”
That’s not so far from the kind of thing Karl Popper once taught. Was he a massive bigot too?
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Putin’s biggest barrage of pro-queer criticism from the West came following an October 2022 speech in which he decried Western NATO nations for wishing to “impose … perversions that lead to degradation and extinction” onto children worldwide, a kind of gay imperialism:
“Do we want to drum into their heads the ideas that certain other genders exist along with women and men and to offer them gender reassignment surgery? This is all unacceptable to us. We have a different future of our own … We must protect them [our children] against enslavement and monstrous experiments that are designed to cripple their minds and souls.”
It was to prevent such indoctrination that, in 2018, Russian police entered a school in the city of Yekaterinburg and seized children’s drawings of same-sex couples produced for a poster-making competition on the theme of “tolerance”. This may indeed be heavy-handed, but are our own Western schools not now equally as intolerant, but from the reverse perspective?
I used to be a teacher in the years just prior to Putin passing his initial 2013 anti-gay propaganda laws, when the idea schools would be co-opted to push such nonsense still seemed outlandish. The weekly PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) lessons were treated as a pointless joke by students and teachers alike; I openly told my own form-groups to do something useful like their homework or read a book instead, and nobody cared. Now, however, PSHE appears to be the most important lesson in the curriculum.
British trans-sceptic organisation Transgender Trend carried an excellent online essay from a 14-year-old schoolgirl in November 2022, detailing what was going on in her own UK state school, in which she spoke of her own attempted “indoctrination” at the hands of activist teachers. During PSHE lessons, children were forced to write a “Pledge to LGBTQIA+ students” promising to accede to all their increasingly stupid demands, whilst flags and signs in hallways listed various invented genders like “demiboy”, “polysexual” and “genderqueer”. Prior to debates, students first had to state their name and preferred pronouns – otherwise, they were not allowed to speak.
An officially teacher-recommended “Equalities” chat-group for 12-year-olds featured links to “Harry Potter porn” and “sexually explicit photos of mannequins”. In this “cultish” atmosphere, a petition was organised to get a Head of Year fired for being “transphobic” because he refused to allow male students to share changing rooms with female ones. Girls encouraged by adult groomers to identify as boys, meanwhile, were so filled with that wonderful “trans joy” we keep hearing so much about that they covered themselves with razor-blade scars and repeatedly attempted suicide.
Which is actually worse, morally speaking? The above disgusting British situation, or the Russian police’s confiscation of a few worthless gay-drawings?
Hey, teacher – leave those kids alone!
Also in 2022, lesson-resource documents and videos endorsed by the LGBTQ+ caucus of a US teaching union were leaked online – resources dating from 2013, the very year Putin and Milonov passed their perfectly sensible child protection laws/evil gay suicide-causing bill (delete as applicable). The video was called “Sex Acts That Don’t Get Enough Play”, and featured footage of kids wandering around with big labels featuring the names of various obscure non-standard sex acts affixed to their chests like the numbers worn by athletes during races.
According to handy accompanying fact-sheet, this was all merely a necessary social corrective, aimed at eradicating what might be termed “sex-racism”: “There are some kinds of sex that we hear a lot about [i.e., the normal kind]. Other kinds of sex, particularly kinds of sex that queer or trans people are interested in, don’t get a lot of coverage.”
Reading about all this, I was reminded of a time around 15 years ago when a teaching colleague of mine was given a PSHE worksheet in which children were supposed to imagine being trapped in a lift with a chosen classmate and list which precise sex-acts they would most enjoy forcibly performing upon them. She threw it in the bin. At the time, we thought this was just a bizarre one-off perpetrated by some weirdo fanatic. Now it turns out the weirdo fanatics are actually running the entire system.
And don’t forget, these kids are one day going to grow up to be adults, the politicians of our future. Already we are seeing more and more repressive measures aimed against the normative, non-queer population in the West; only this week, I find Britain’s “ethical” Co-Op Bank has refused to open an account for a feminist organisation over its critical stance on transgender issues, whilst simultaneously being perfectly happy to keep the account of the mass murderer Rose West open. As Rose infamously engaged in forced lesbian acts with captive females enslaved by her husband, perhaps for the Co-Op to act otherwise would have been considered queer-exclusionary?
This is only going to get worse: a June poll carried out for Newsweek found 44 percent of US millennials aged 25-34 think referring to someone by the “wrong” (re: the correct) gender “should be a criminal offence” versus only 31 per cent who disagree. Guess which 44 per cent will go on to run all our institutions?
Both Eastern and Western blocs are increasingly now dictatorships led by profoundly evil men, just in different ways. In any morally sane society, the persons responsible for the programme of systematic perversion and child-grooming detailed above would be sitting in a prison cell. Sadly, that morally sane society is now Vladimir Putin’s Russia, not the “free” West.
Steven Tucker is a UK-based writer with over ten books to his name. His next, Hitler’s & Stalin’s Misuse of Science, comparing the woke pseudoscience of today to the totalitarian pseudoscience of the past, will be published in summer 2023.
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