Driving the governmental, religious, and popular disdain for gays and lesbians, the Russian president became the single greatest threat to LGBTs in the world in 2014.
“Imagine a boy who dreams of being a KGB officer, when everyone else wants to be a cosmonaut.”
This quote appears early in The Man Without a Face, Masha Gessen’s 2012 biography of Vladimir Putin. It’s as succinct and illuminating a characterization of the Russian president as you’re likely to find. The KGB, after all, perfected the thuggery, espionage, and aimless bureaucracy that are hallmarks of Putin’s regime. The agency’s crackdown on dissidents offered a blueprint for Putin’s own strongman excesses. That he aspired to such a career as a child tells us something useful about his psychopathology: This is a man hardwired to intimidate.
Nowhere is this tendency more apparent than in his crusade against LGBT Russians. Since winning a third term in 2012, Putin has become ever more autocratic, and his antigay ideology ever more extreme. In June 2013, he signed the infamous antigay propaganda bill that criminalizes the “distribution of information…aimed at the formation among minors of nontraditional sexual attitudes,” with nontraditional meaning anything other than heterosexual. Individual violators are fined anywhere between $120 and $150, while NGOs and corporations can incur fines as high as $30,000. International outrage flared in the months before the Sochi Olympics, in response to which Putin reassured the gay and lesbian community they had nothing to fear as long as they left Russia’s children in peace.---
Read the full article here: The Advocate's Person of the Year: Vladimir Putin