Russia's Past Is Ever Present

The Russian parliament is currently attempting to pass legislation that would criminalize “homosexual propaganda”, whatever that means. Included in the list of banned activities are public displays or events supporting gay rights. Julia Ioffe at The New Republic explores beyond the obvious human rights concerns (which are myriad) to what this means for the future of Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

The president is showing that he is not only not going anywhere, but that he will impose his vision of Russia on all Russians, whether they like it or not. That vision is not, as many think, the neo-Soviet one—though there are elements of it in Putin’s foreign policy—but the imperial one. Putin’s favorite character from Russian history is not Stalin, but Pyotr Stolypin, a brute reformer who served under Nicholas II. Putin is also said to see his greatest achievement as the reuniting of the Russian Orthodox Church, which split shortly after the Russian Revolution into a domestic and Western one. He has overseen a renaissance of orthodoxy and has ushered the church into the halls of power, to the point where it is now widely seen as a Kremlin affiliate. These days, hardly a policy move happens without the church stating its position on it.

Last year’s imprisonment of Pussy Riot for a relatively innocuous demonstration certainly suggests as much.