Congrats — Yous gays seriously ticked off Putin

As Vladimir Putin seemingly prepares to invade Ukraine after fomenting civil unrest in that country, which he hopes will turn to civil war, the news from Moscow would indicate that you, we, seriously ticked Putin off.

Putin just secretly banned a bunch of lead Obama donors, particularly gay ones, from getting Russian visas.

Cuz, you know, lots of American gays are just clamoring to visit a country that sanctions neo-Nazi gangs kidnapping gay and trans people, stripping them, beating them, shaving their heads down the middle, painting rainbow flags and Stars of David on their bodies, forcing them to drink urine, then posting a video of the entire abduction on Russia’s favorite neo-Nazi enabling company, Pavel Durov’s amoral VKontakte (aka

Aside from the irony of Putin banning people who wouldn’t be caught dead (and kidnapped) in Russia, the ban does indicate something else far funnier, and important, for gay rights advocates in America and abroad.

More from the Daily Beast:

The Kremlin has expanded its secret “black list” of Americans banned from Russia to include Obama campaign fundraisers tied to the LGBT community and senior Congressmen, diplomatic sources tell The Daily Beast. Moscow’s list, these sources say, was expanded in retaliation to the Obama administration’s attack on the assets of key business associates of Vladimir Putin in March….

Diplomatic sources confirmed to The Daily Beast that the expanded and still-secret Russian sanctions list includes five top Obama campaign bundlers as well as about a dozen top Senators and Congressmen who were not included in the first list. The names of the specific bundlers remains a secret, but a focus was put on those with ties to the gay and lesbian community; it’s a reflection of the ongoing fight between the Kremlin and the White House over Russia’s laws punishing the promotion of LGBT “propaganda.”

I’m clearly someone who enjoys, and believes in, standing up to bullies. But there’s a special deliciousness in standing up to, and clearly getting the goat, of a dictator. Our community was “the” thorn in Putin’s side this past year. Ours was quite possibly the only issue that truly gave Putin a black eye, domestically and internationally, in the month’s preceding the Sochi Olympics and the invasion of Ukraine.

(Gays were also the canary in the human rights coal mine, providing an early-warning radar about the mini-me Soviet-wannabe looming in the east.)

That’s not to say we won in the sense that gays are now free in Russia. They’re not. And no one thought they would be after only one year of rabble-rousing against a dictator who used to run the domestic Russian equivalent of the KGB.  This is a much longer-term game and strategy.

In order for gay and trans people in Russia and around the world to breathe more freely we need to make the cost of being anti-gay simply too high, and ultimately not worth it.  Part of that is changing the international culture so that our governments make gay rights a larger priority in their diplomacy, as the US most certainly has under President Obama, particularly in his second term vis-a-vis Russia.  In addition to working on the Russian issue for the sake of gay Russians, we were also using the issue as a foil for creating change on gay rights around the world.

putin dancing 300px

She ain’t dancin’ now.

I’ve always believed that the best, most successful advocacy is multi-layered.  It’s never just about fixing the one obvious “wrong” in front of your face, and it’s never solely about the target you claim to be targeting.  When a group of us, including Dan Savage and Queer Nation New York, launched a boycott of Russian vodka last year, the naysayers said the boycott wouldn’t “work.”  For them, a “working” boycott would be on that forces vodka companies like Stolichnaya (which is Russian, by the way) to lose sufficient profits to do something, and that somehow that something would manage to get Vladimir Putin to free all the gays.

Wrong, Mor-ton.

The purpose of the boycott was to find an interesting news hook for the domestic and international media, so that they’d finally pay attention to the Russian gay rights story that had been languishing for years.  We would then use that media coverage to educate and galvanize word public opinion against Russia, and use public ire to push our governments to do more to help in Russia and around the world on gay rights.

And it “worked.”

PS A sad update. Discredited Russian gay activist Nikolai Alexeyev, who was spurned by mainstream human rights groups last year after having a public and repeated anti-Semitic meltdown on Facebook and Twitter over a several week period, is now publicly endorsing Russia’s annexation of Ukraine on behalf of Russian gays.  Alexeyev also appears to be urging the Kremlin to invade Ukraine anew, and posted a tweet that seems a defense of anti-gay politician Yelena Mizulina who authored Russia’s draconian “gay propaganda” law.

After his horrific anti-Semitic meltdown, Alexeyev’s public comments became decidedly pro-Putin on a number of issues, including going so far as to criticize Russian gays for meeting with President Obama and sugesting that Russian gays seeking asylum in the West were liars.  Thus his weird embrace of the Kremlin regarding Ukraine is consistent in its indication that, or whatever reason, Alexeyev is no longer a legitimate representative of anyone other than himself, and apparently the Kremlin.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-02-at-5.27 Screen-Shot-2014-05-02-at-5.27 Screen-Shot-2014-05-02-at-5.26

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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37 Responses to “Congrats — Yous gays seriously ticked off Putin”

  1. suzane carter says:

    Disgusting Images i don’t think so it would be like that …..

  2. Luke James says:

    Oklahoma = former Indian territory given to eastern tribes for there stolen homelands and then stolen away too .

  3. Yeah I saw that. I happen to believe in using facts to argue the details of human rights campaigns, rather than animated gifs of dancing bears. Just a personal preference :)

  4. Oh I think he has. Some have speculated he went nuts, or has an abuse problem, or has been otherwise co-opted by the Kremlin.

  5. Silverizael . says:

    I think this article covers the topic quite well. In fact, they mention you in the article too.

  6. The Angry Fag says:

    Mr. Aravosis, has Nikolai been seen in public since he went off the rails online?
    People don’t just change personalities. I sense something else at work, here…

  7. But how was Stoli an LGBT ally? They ran ads in the gay press, yes. But that doesn’t really make you an “ally.” Stoli didn’t include sexual orientation or gender identity in their non-discrimination policy. Stoli didn’t proviode benefits to gay partners. And when, under pressure from our boycott they finally added sexual orientation to their US-affiliate non-discrimination policy, they refused to add gender identity. So, I’m hard pressed to understand how Stoli was an ally.

  8. Benjamin Bee says:

    The gay Alexeyev is an industrial of homotransphobia. We have a lot of them like him in Brazil working with the homotransphobic party PT and the homotransphobic Brazil’s President, Dilma Roussef.

  9. Silverizael . says:

    Nice uninformative reply there.

  10. 2karmanot says:


  11. Glenn I says:

    Too bad about Alexeyev. He’s not announced he’s ex-gay yet, has he?

  12. Silverizael . says:

    No, the reason why myself and others were opposed to the boycott of Stolichnaya was that you were scapegoating an LGBT ally in order to fuel your own campaign. And doing that, for whatever reason, is reprehensible and evil.

  13. just passing through says:

    I LUVED the Putin animation!

  14. emjayay says:

    And an ineffective lead-from-behind guy and a Dictator and Hitler.

    Not unrelated to watching a very articulate and sometimes long-winded speaker in unscripted discussions and debates for years, then insisting he needs a teleprompter (unlike every president for the past sixty years?) to say anything. Unlike GWB? Also, same people exactly, there is no CO2 caused global warming, but there is creationism, not evolution.

    It’s a version of the same religious/nationalistic/faith based right wingism in both places.

  15. emjayay says:

    Metaphor Alert!

  16. FLL says:

    Victory Day, commemorating the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in WWII, is the Russian equivalent of motherhood and apple pie. Notice how the speaker tries to turn gay people into everyone’s enemy by claiming that the evil gay people are taking away everyone’s common WWII commemorative holiday. Somehow, i don’t think that the guy from the “Luhansk people’s militia” thought it up himself. I think the talking points are scripted in the Kremlin.

  17. goulo says:

    Also see this interview with a pro-Russian militia member in Ukraine:

    > > >
    Why had he joined “Luhansk’s people’s militia”? “There’s been a fascist
    takeover in Kiev,” he replied. He added: “Victory Day is sacred for us.
    I’ve heard the Kiev government wants to replace it with a gay pride

    < < <

    As if a "fascist" regime would create a gay pride parade. Ridiculous Russian propaganda doesn't even TRY to make sense.

    But apparently plenty of idiots believe such nonsense.

    It reminds me of US teabaggers who believe that Obama is somehow simultaneously a Soviet-style communist, a Muslim, and an atheist…

  18. Really, what did you do? If you can say ;)

  19. A girl can dream.

  20. It’s a bit klutzy of a sentence still, but best I could do at the moment :)

  21. Intellectualist says:


  22. Sean says:

    “Gays were also the canary in the human rights coal mine, providing an
    early-warning radar about the mini-me Soviet-wannabe looming in the
    east.” – Very nicely put!

  23. Sean says:

    Thanks for showing these quotes. It’s fascinating how bigoted authoritarians criticize other countries and people by saying they have no democracy and the “impose their values on others.” Amazing.

  24. Sean says:

    A belated congrats on being banned from the Soviet Union! What horrible thing did you? (Don’t tell me if this would put you in danger from re-activated spies.)

  25. Duncan Osborne says:

    Kudos to John Aravosis for all of his hard work on this issue and particularly his tireless pursuit of and it amoral owners Pavel Durov and Alisher Usmanov. I’m guessing you’re on this black list, John.

  26. dommyluc says:

    Gee, I’ll guess all those gay Obama donors will have to cancel those luxurious vacations they had planned to have in that shithole of a country. Oh well. They can always jet to the French Riveria and listen to Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, and Shostakovich on their iPods. Oh, Mr. Putin, how could you be so cruel?!
    And I’m sure Uganda and the rest of the homophobic African nations will do the same thing. How will we gay people survive without having these wonderful vacation spots full of poverty, disease, and oppression available to us? Boo fucking hoo. Help me wipe away the buckets of salted tears.

  27. silas1898 says:

    Don’t forget Phyllis Schlafley. They could have a gay-bashing girls’ night out.

  28. Indigo says:

    Anti-semitism is unfashionable you see, and you can get Christian churches to preach against gays with very little trouble so . . . there you are, a complete hate-that-guy-not-me package right off the shelf. Curiously, Noam Chomsky doesn’t pick up that theme and deconstruct it. Hey, Noam! Whatddup?

  29. MyrddinWilt says:

    Well speaking as someone who was banned from Russia back in the days when it was still the Soviet Union, welcome to the club.

  30. FLL says:

    Anita Bryant still lives in a suburb of Oklahoma City, where she runs her international Christian proselytizing outfit. We could start by giving Ms. Bryant to Russia as a gift. After that, we could add a few anti-gay Oklahoma politicians like Oklahoma state senator Sally Kern and Oklahoma governor Mary Fallin. So we’ll take Pussy Riot and they can have Anita, Sally and Mary.

  31. Drew2u says:

    Is it too late to give Oklahoma to Russia?

  32. FLL says:

    Anti-gay hate is a leitmotif to be found throughout the pro-Russian separatist movement in Donetsk. Here are just two opinions offered to journalists by randomly interviewed members of the pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk. The more recent is from an article in the Washington Post from just yesterday, May 1 (link here):

    Inside the building, looters grabbed items ranging from legal files to hard drives.

    “For 23 years I wanted to be in the Soviet Union,” said a 35-year-old miner who gave his name only as Sergey. Asked why, he said: “I don’t want to live with gays.” Later, Sergey, who came to the demonstration with his wife and son, stood among the crowd with a rock in his hand.

    The second is from an article in The Guardian from March 22 (link here):

    “We want Russia,” added Sergey Samoshkin, who participated in a previous occupation of Donetsk’s regional administration and prosecutor’s office. Samoshkin currently lives in Moscow. He said he had returned to his native Donetsk two weeks ago.

    “There’s no democracy in Europe,” he told the Observer. “I’ve been to Germany. They give porno lessons in schools. It’s homosexual fascism. They impose their values on others.”

  33. Drew2u says:

    In other news, it’s campaign season in South Dakota and somebody’s looking at raising money for re-election:

  34. Ohhh Nooooo whatever will we all do???

  35. Wasn’t mine.

  36. Aaron G says:

    I love it!!!!! Putin, Milinov, and Mizulina seem fixated on what gays seem to DO. It’s almost as if they enjoy thinking about hot gay sex. One wonders if Milinov regularly pleasures himself over a photo of bare-chested Putin on his horse.

  37. Silver_Witch says:

    This gif I liked…who knew the girl could dance.

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