The Sochi Olympics could end up being one of the most dangerous for the athletes in quite some time, and not just for LGBT athletes either. Earlier this year, an Hasidic rabbi was shot and nearly killed by ultranationalistic thugs, and now we learn, thanks to The New Republic’s Julie Ioffe, that “there’s quite a bit of violence against people considered to be black.”
Attacks by ultranationalists have been spiking of late in Russia and nearly none of the thugs have been arrested.
Ioffe has taken the stance that LGBT activists should not raise a stink about the Sochi Olympics, and that can be debatable in some contexts like the boycott of Russian vodka. On Chris Hayes’ MSNBC show, Ioffe stated “These are things that societies have to figure out for themselves.”
Unfortunately, ignoring the situation in Russia is also not really a bright idea either as it becomes more and more obvious that Russian ultranationalists and Rus-Supremacists begin to take hold. During the 1920′s and 1930′s, Europe’s governments ignored the build up of ultranationalistic Aryan-Supremacists in Germany. That lead to World War II and the slaughter of millions upon millions of Jews, Roma, gays, disabled, and even Catholics.
Ioffe noted the rampant racism that is gripping Russia in a discussion on Reddit.
John Avarosis of AmericaBlog posted the exchange:
BRUNETTECREEPER: I’m a black college student and am wondering if it would be safe for me to study in Russia. I’m sure on a day to day basis I may be fine, but what i’m worried about is the one time something goes wrong. What would be your advice as a Russian-American?
JULIA IOFFE: Hmmmm, that’s a tough one. I think that, for the most part, you’d be okay — if you consider people glaring at you and cracking racist jokes okay. (Russians are, er, not the most tolerant bunch.) There’s quite a bit of violence against people considered to be black, which includes, in the Russian mind, people from Central Asia and the Caucasus. My advice is go, but stick to the city center and try to go to a bigger city like Moscow. (St. Pete is crawling with skinheads.) Be extra, extra careful and make sure the American Embassy knows you’re there. They have a special unit to deal with threats to American citizens, so you should report anything that happens immediately.
Russia does not sound like a very good place to visit or be right now. How bad the situation is has not been getting out very well since Russian President Vladimir Putin has done a very good job of suppressing the media.
Of course, given the fact that the average temperature in Sochi is about 52 degrees F or 11 degrees C, this could end up being a disaster of an Olympics all around.