Vladimir Putin has been in the news quite a lot lately. The Russian President has been especially in the news due to his campaign against LGBT people. Georgian President Mikhaeil Saakashvili took Putin to task for his anti-LGBT rights laws.
Speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, Saakashvili stated “He had nothing to offer to his former zone of influence. He has no soft power. He has no economic benefits to offer them.”
He went on to say that “So what he’s telling them [is] “OK, Europe is promising you much more, it’s a better market, they might give you subsidies, they might give you lots of new opportunities and openings. But what you should know is Europe is all about gay rights. If you go to Europe, your family values will be undermined, your traditions will be destroyed. So we as Orthodox unity, we should stick together.’”
He also said that “It’s all about way of life, it’s not about gay pride or whether your son will become gay because you are in Europe or Russia. This is all about whether political opponents are held in prison, whether there is freedom of speech, free elections, meritocracy or nepotism, criminal authorities directing everything. It’s really fundamental issues that are at stake.”
Saakashvili also attacked Russia’s foreign policy calling it “fueled by intolerance”. This was likely a swipe at the fact that Ukraine and Armenia have been making moves to pass similar laws banning “homosexual propaganda”, and may have been swiping at the homophobia and transphobia in his own nation. During the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia in Tblisi this past May there was a great deal of violence.
The Orthodox Church was considered to be behind the attacks on LGBT people during those events and there were some supporting the Orthodox Church carrying banners reading “Stop homosexual propaganda in Gerogia”.
The Orthodox Church is seen as being behind the moves attacking LGBT people in Russia, either as the political force behind them or Putin pandering to them.
Geogia has no bans on homosexuality, and even has a ban on workplace discrimination aimed at LGBT people.