Putin and the Patriarch


Interesting article at Buzzfeed (yes, I know) on why Putin is transforming Russia into a homophobia hub. Putin’s fondness for orchestrating shirtless, macho photo-ops that would be ideal for the cover of a romance novel (if you Photoshopped a more handsome head onto that ripped, well-preserved body) has led to speculation that Putin has latency issues.

But the Buzzfeed article makes a pretty solid case for a more prosaic motivation: Just like a common American wingnut, Putin is leveraging heartland fundamentalism, bigotry and provincialism to improve his political fortunes. Maybe that’s what George W. Bush saw when he famously looked into Putin’s eyes and found a kindred spirit.

[X-posted at Rumproast]

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146 replies
  1. 1
    beltane says:

    Makes sense to me. There is also precedent for this type of thing in Russia. Maybe the Russian right-wing will release a video along the lines of “The Protocols of the Elders of San Francisco” that will become gospel among like-minded people all around the world. A book wouldn’t pack the same punch anymore because these “like-minded people” think reading is for sissies.

  2. 2
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Huh, why’d that get the mod?

  3. 3
    daveNYC says:

    Latency issues? He’s never struck me as being particularly slow.

  4. 4
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Anyway, great story about this servant of God and his watch.

  5. 5
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I don’t even see a comment to approve. Sorry. FYWP.

  6. 6
    MattF says:

    I wish the media could skip the ‘fascinated with Putin’ phase and get on with ‘but he’s a thug’ because, y’know, he is.

  7. 7
    cmorenc says:

    Putin is a classic corrupt ruthless Machiavellian Russian oligarch whose original path to power was via the Russian KGB, which explains his behavior far better than any homophobic or gay latency theories. He intermittently does adverse things like this simply to demonstrate to the world (and the West in particular, but also internally in Russia) that he is a hard man of will who cannot be bent, and as a perverse way of building strong bargaining position on things he does see in his/Russia’s interest in dealing with. Those facts go a long way toward explaining his anti-gay pronouncements, as well as granting asylum to Snowden. Keeping Snowden tensely suspended for a month at the airport also likely was a move to pressure Snowden into giving up maximum information value as the price of not being handed back over to the US.

  8. 8
    Gin & Tonic says:

    Oh, and here’s a shot of how humbly this servant of God travels, in his special armored train car.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Well, I guess Prada slippers would be too gay for his tastes.

    That picture looks like it was taken in 1916.

  10. 10
    Botsplainer says:

    Soviet repression of gays was widespread enough that the one foray the old show Barney Miller made into the issue of Soviet defectors involved a gay musician.

  11. 11
    Botsplainer says:

    Soviet repression of gays was widespread enough that the one foray the old show Barney Miller made into the issue of Soviet defectors involved a gay musician.

  12. 12
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Clearly that patriarch has internalized Jesus’ teachings about the poor!

  13. 13
    Gex says:

    What I found very interesting was that I read an article in a MSM rag that, for the first time in the decade or more that I’ve been closely following gay issues, the media commented on how the anti-gay movement was just scapegoating for political gain. Not once did I ever hear that suggested of the American anti-gay movement from any major source.

    Maybe I missed those articles. But my sense is that they were not willing to call out the American right for what they WILL call out Putin for.

  14. 14
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    I wonder if Putin has a fake ranch that he clears brush on.

  15. 15
    beltane says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Putin has had all kinds of fake heroic acts staged for him. One of them involved his miraculous discovery of two ancient Greek amphorae while swimming in the Black Sea http://www.theguardian.com/wor.....s-ridicule

  16. 16
    EconWatcher says:


    I’ve never been a fan of John Kerry, but one story I read left me with some grudging respect for him: As you’ll recall, during the 2004 election some anti-gay marriage measures were on the ballot in a number of states, most importantly Ohio, and there was great fear that they would drive up fundie turnout enough to save Bush. Bill Clinton met privately with Kerry and advised him to pick the least draconian of these anti-gay initiatives and throw his support behind it, to neutralize the issue. Kerry was reportedly so outraged and shocked by the suggestion that he could barely even respond.

  17. 17
    Suffern ACE says:

    @MattF: unfortunately, he has the power to make people wealthy, so he can beat up journalists all he wants and our media will love him.

  18. 18
    cleek says:

    sometimes, Putin can seem a little crabby

  19. 19
    Punchy says:

    @Botsplainer: Only on this blog does the convo go from Putin to Barney Miller in 3 comments or less.

    I wish I could work in Bob Crane and Teletubbies references just for maximum awesometude.

  20. 20
    EconWatcher says:


    I would add, I think Bill Clinton showed the Democratic Party how to win again, and for that he does earn substantial credit. But Barack Obama showed the Democratic Party how to win again while retaining some measure of dignity abd decency.

  21. 21
    Betty Cracker says:

    @EconWatcher: Wow, I never heard that one. Not a big Kerry fan either (I executed a rare double face-palm with triple head-desk when he won the 2004 nomination), but if that story is accurate, Kerry is a better man than I thought.

  22. 22
    boatboy_srq says:


    a hard man of will who cannot be bent

    Remarkably apropros, given what we’re discussing here…

    @Gex: There’s a distinct difference: Putin is appealing to the Orthodox, which as all good Right-thinking Real Patriotic Xtian Hetero Ahmurrcans™ know aren’t really True Xtians.

  23. 23
    Betty Cracker says:

    @EconWatcher: Ah jeez, now you’ve done it: troll-tantrum in 3…2…1

  24. 24
    beltane says:

    Here’s a related story: http://www.theguardian.com/mus.....ssian-visa Russian prosecutors are considering filing criminal charges against Madonna and Lady Gaga for visa violations. Their real crime? Speaking out on behalf of LGBT’s while on Russian soil.

  25. 25
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @EconWatcher: I have always liked the guy. I think I am one of the few who supported him unreservedly in 2004. This is in keeping with my assessment of him. The AUMF vote was the aberration.

  26. 26
    Aimai says:

    @Betty Cracker: he is actually a really good guy. Not a warm and loveable person. Emotionally cool. But highly principled in a really old fashioned way. The opposite of Clinton’ glad handing trimmer.

  27. 27
    gogol's wife says:

    I am so depressed about Russia. And this jerk Snowden has set back the cause of human rights there quite a bit. Now Putin gets to posture as the defender of freedom of speech.

  28. 28
    drkrick says:

    There has plenty of MSM talk about how the Rove-led GOP embraced hostility to gays as a tactical matter. You don’t see similar talk about the Dobsons and Robertsons and Falwells and Fishers because it’s generally (and I think correctly) that they really hate gays with no political calculation involved.

  29. 29
    Corner Stone says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well, it probably wasn’t the exact troll tantrum you expected but this is a pretty good shot across the bows. I give it a 6.5.

    And this jerk Snowden has set back the cause of human rights there quite a bit.

  30. 30
    Tokyokie says:

    @Gin & Tonic: I’ve seen that movie. Things don’t turn out so well for him at the end.

  31. 31
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Comments have been disappearing a lot around here recently. FYWP!

  32. 32
    Chris says:


    The MSM is vaguely liberal on social issues, or at least willing to follow the trends; they wouldn’t stick their neck out back when most of America agreed with Republicans, but in this case, 1) times have changed, most Americans now think homophobia = bad, and 2) this time they’re not ragging on their Good Real American friends in the GOP, they’re ragging on a Filthy Furriner, and that makes all the difference.

    (Even Republicans do this – they’ll point to the treatment of gays and women in Taliban-run Afghanistan and go “see? See? Isn’t that awful? Why won’t you liberals hate Muslims? Hmm?” This is basically the same thing).

  33. 33
    Chris says:


    There’s a distinct difference: Putin is appealing to the Orthodox, which as all good Right-thinking Real Patriotic Xtian Hetero Ahmurrcans™ know aren’t really True Xtians.

    I don’t think most good Right-thinking Real Patriotic Xtian Hetero Ahmurrcans(TM) even know what Orthodox is. They didn’t immigrate here in numbers comparable to, say, the Cathy Licks.

  34. 34
    Jay in Oregon says:

    I’m so old that I remember when running to Russia with piles of classified materials made you a criminal and a traitor, not a heroic defender of all that is decent and noble.

  35. 35
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Corner Stone: We have different definitions of trolls, I guess. Troll =/= someone who disagrees, someone who says something inaccurate, someone who says something provocative, etc. I remain confident we’ll have an actual troll clinic to observe soon enough.

  36. 36
  37. 37
    c u n d gulag says:

    The only differences between the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church I was baptized in, are that there’s no Pope, and the Orthodox Church allows their Priests to marry – which cuts down dramatically on the child-schtupping, since the clergy can play “Hide-the-Mitre” with the Mrs, and not some poor, unwitting, altar boy.

    Outside of that, it’s the same homophobia and misogyny, among with other ills that only religion can provide.

  38. 38
    beltane says:

    @Chris: Most RealAmericans would look at the photo of the Russian Orthodox Patriarch and assume he was an orthodox rabbi. To them, this is better than an exotic type of Christian because of the Rapture and all that.

  39. 39
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:


    I would add, I think Bill Clinton showed the Democratic Party how to win again, and for that he does earn substantial credit. But Barack Obama showed the Democratic Party how to win again while retaining some measure of dignity abd decency.

    Sorta. Bill Clinton had to figure out to take the White House away from the hugely popular Reagan/Bush presidencies that exploited the bad Carter years.

    Obama got to exploit the hideous Bush years while pointing back to hugely popular Clinton presidency.

    It’s an interesting concept though.

  40. 40
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Betty Cracker: Around here, “troll” has been expanded to mean anyone who disagrees with me.

  41. 41
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @c u n d gulag: Well, in addition to the homophobia and misogyny, the Russian Orthodox Church adds a heaping helping of paranoid xenophobia masked as nationalism.

  42. 42
    raven says:

    @Betty Cracker: God, I just found out that I know someone at “you know who knows”. Damn facebook!

  43. 43
    gogol's wife says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Just to clarify — was something I said inaccurate? I doubt that that was what Corner Stone was objecting to.

  44. 44
    Shakezula says:

    Why is it that when someone is a complete dickhole towards gays and lesbians, some well-meaning knucklehead jumps up and says “Why, he must be gay!” (And to my knowledge, this is only said of men. I haven’t heard anyone suggest female homophobes are lesbians.)

    It rehashes the “Gay people are deeply fucked” stereotype, and would absolve the heterosexual community of all or most responsibility for homophobia. Plus, I never hear anyone say “Why, he must be a woman!” when someone is a complete dickhhole towards women.

    p.s. Putin is another totalitarian dookie head of the sort Russia seems to breed by the boatload. I am sure a suitably defenseless ethnic minority will also come in for its share of kicks if state-sponsored homophobia doesn’t serve as a sufficient distraction.

  45. 45
    Donut says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Anyone who disagrees with you, specifically, or did you mean “me” in the general sense?

  46. 46
    Roger Moore says:

    @c u n d gulag:
    There are also some differences in the iconography and church architecture, and the priests are expected to have (literal) beards.

  47. 47
    Shakezula says:

    @c u n d gulag: Huh? Have you looked at the crime stats on child sexual abuse lately? Do you think child prostitution rings rely solely on priest and single guys who just can’t find an adult partner to keep it going?

    Lots, and lots, and lots, and lots of married guys rape kids. And even in the RCC, some priests find a way to have sex with adults.

  48. 48
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    was something I said inaccurate?

    I don’t think you are a troll even though I frequently disagree with you. Having said that, this has to be one of the most retarded things I’ve ever read on Balloon Juice:

    And this jerk Snowden has set back the cause of human rights there quite a bit.

    Because it’s so incredibly stupid and over-the-top, one automatically makes the assumption it’s the work of a troll. Of course, I’m using the commonly accepted definition of “troll”, not the super inclusive one that is operational on Balloon Juice.

  49. 49
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Donut: Both.

  50. 50
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: To some around here, yes, to others, no.

  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Sorta. Bill Clinton had to figure out to take the White House away from the hugely popular Reagan/Bush presidencies that exploited the bad Carter years.

    Bill Clinton had to figure out how to win the White House by chipping away just enough bigots from the Republican Party to put together a coalition. Obama can take advantage of demographic shifts and win without having to appeal to white bigots.

  52. 52
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    To some around here, yes, to others, no.

    You are clearly trolling me.

  53. 53
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    To some around here, yes, to others, no.

    You are clearly trolling me.

  54. 54
    EconWatcher says:


    Here’s the difference: There’s no such thing as a closeted woman. But there are plenty of closeted gay men, and many of them are wingnuts. I’m pretty sure my brother is one such, as are the few of his friends whom he’s chosen to introduce me to.

    I don’t believe that gay people are “deeply f’ed”–not in the least. But this subculture of closeted wingnuts is indeed deeply twisted. They’re all over, and it’s a phenomenon that goes way back (think Ernst Rohm).

  55. 55
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gogol’s wife: You’re right that Putin will use Snowden to burnish his non-existent free speech champion credentials. But I doubt that was Snowden’s purpose, and I don’t know that taking Putin’s asylum offer necessarily makes him a jerk, given his limited options. He just blundered into Putin’s web.

  56. 56
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    he is a hard man of will who cannot be bent,

    Unfortunately for Putin, the name “Stalin” was already taken.

  57. 57
    EconWatcher says:

    @Roger Moore: Fair point.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:


    There’s no such thing as a closeted woman.

    Is this accurate? And since I can only assume you didn’t mean this literally, but in some figurative sense, what does this mean?
    Women who are gay don’t feel stress or pressure to live a “normal” life? Or society just doesn’t treat women who aren’t “out” in a way that recognizes their dilemma?

  59. 59
    EconWatcher says:

    @Corner Stone: I was referring to people “closeting” the fact that they are women, in responding to Shakezula’s comment.

  60. 60
    Chris says:


    Clinton was to us what Eisenhower was to them – he showed us how to win again, but “how to win again” to quite an extent involved abiding by the Republican-created consensus. It’s not entirely a bad thing – Clinton was still better than any actual Republican would have been – but there wasn’t a lot of liberalism going around.

  61. 61
    gogol's wife says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    And you are an expert on what’s happening in Russia?

    Mostly I get the feeling that people here don’t care in the slightest what happens in other countries, as long as whoever’s on their team in the US is gaining the upper hand. Do you not think that it sets back the cause of human rights in Russia for Putin, a man who has murdered his political opponents, who has thrown young women into prison camp for singing a song against him in a church, who has just had his major political opponent convicted on a false charge of embezzlement, to be able to claim that he is offering “freedom” to someone supposedly being oppressed by the United States? What do you think Putin would do with someone who came here with state secrets?

  62. 62
    gogol's wife says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I don’t care what his purpose was. He’s done real damage to people I care about.

    ETA: And “jerk” is an extremely mild term for what he is.

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Corner Stone says:

    @EconWatcher: I am deeply confused but don’t think I need to pursue this any further, thanks.

  65. 65
    Mike in NC says:

    It’s not exactly a coincidence that the Russian Orthodox Church was firmly behind the Czars. Authoritarians don’t change.

  66. 66
    scav says:

    @EconWatcher: That’s a statement you really can’t make unless you know the gender of each and every person behind the internet names.

  67. 67
    Jax6655 says:


    No closeted women? You’re joking, right? As a hetero I’m probably not an expert but I’d guess some women have reasons for hiding their sexuality the same as men.

  68. 68
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: Having said that, this has to be one of the most retarded things I’ve ever read on Balloon Juice:

    There are times, and this is one, when you should lay off the performance art and pay attention to people who actually know the subject matter.

  69. 69
    EconWatcher says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    I am very connected to Russia and the Russian-speaking world. But I have to say, though I’ve got no particular use for Snowden, I don’t think he’s done any damage to human rights in Russia. No sane person would give Putin any credit as a champion of human rights for taking Snowden in. Frankly, I haven’t even seen Putin frame it that way yet, and I’m not sure he will, because it would be simply laughable.

  70. 70
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @gogol’s wife:

    And you are an expert on what’s happening in Russia?

    Insofar as the abuses by Putin that you documented in your next paragraph, yes, I am aware of all of those things and am therefore an expert on what is happening in Russia. However, those abuses were perpetrated by Putin, not Snowden and Putin will continue to whatever the fuck Putin wishes to do regardless of history’s greatest monster, Edward Snowden.

  71. 71
    Corner Stone says:

    @Poopyman: What’s the problem? I feel safer already.
    Plus, the guy mentioned Texas in the article and even though his math is incorrect, I still have to give him his props.

  72. 72
    gogol's wife says:


    He has framed it that way. Human-rights activists were invited to the press conference they had at Sheremetievo.

  73. 73
    gogol's wife says:

    I’d love to keep trolling, but I have to go to work.

    I wish there were one tenth the amount of discussion of the people who have been actually suffering for freedom of speech and for human rights (not just in Russia, of course) that there’s been of Snowden here, but that’s not going to happen.

  74. 74
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    There are times, and this is one, when you should lay off the performance art and pay attention to people who actually know the subject matter.

    I have no use for arguments from authority that are used to flout ridiculous episodes of hyperbole, particularly from pseudonymous commenters on a B-list political blog.

  75. 75
    EconWatcher says:


    OK, let me try it again, because I obviously worded it badly, and it apparently came off as offensive or clueless: Shakezula said every time some male bigot makes an antigay comment, people start speculating that the commenter is himself gay, and he thought this was disrespectful of gay peope. He drew an analogy, saying that people don’t assume that every man who makes a misognynist comment is secretly a woman. And I meant to respond, well, that’s different, because you can’t really be a “closeted woman,” ie, you can’t keep in the closet the fact that you’re a woman. I certainly didn’t mean to suggest that there are no closeted women.

    While I worded it badly, I think the meaning was actually reasonably clear if my message was read as a response to Shakezula’s. Not that anyone needs to care, of course.

  76. 76
    Kristin says:

    @gogol’s wife: Greenwald suddenly isn’t concerned about human rights abuses in any country but the U.S. (All the accusations he has made about Canada, Sweden, Norway, etc. have disappeared into the ether, apparently.) Principles schminciples.

  77. 77
    ruemara says:

    @EconWatcher: Putin didn’t have to, Snowden et al did. Which is fucking laughable considering the shit they’ve been saying about America.

  78. 78
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    I have no use for arguments from authority that are used to flout ridiculous episodes of hyperbole. tend to undermine my own arguments, whether or not they have any validity whatsoever.

    Friendly edit to communicate better what you actually mean.

  79. 79
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader: “this jerk Snowden has set back the cause of human rights there quite a bit” is a ridiculous episode of hyperbole? Just curious, how many Russian news sources per day do you read?

  80. 80
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    and pay attention to people who actually know the subject matter.

    Did you mean to post a link to something and FYWP ate it? Where could I go to read a SME on the subject matter you are referring to? Thanks

  81. 81
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Jay in Oregon: Exactly. The NSA revelations are certainly important, but the fact remains, Snowden is a spy. The fact that he gave the information to Glenn Greenwald before hitting the road doesn’t change that.

  82. 82
    Gex says:

    @EconWatcher: Wow. That does say a lot for Kerry. And a lot about Clinton.

    And I’ll give Kerry props. Back then it was so easy for Democrats to be Republican-lites on this issue. The polling numbers showed that taking an anti-marriage equality stand posed little risk to a Democratic candidate.

  83. 83
    ericblair says:


    Greenwald suddenly isn’t concerned about human rights abuses in any country but the U.S. (All the accusations he has made about Canada, Sweden, Norway, etc. have disappeared into the ether, apparently.)

    I think he actually believes that the US is the source of all evil in the world. Consider the whole bit about the dead-man’s switch, where a big pile of juicy US info will be released if Mr. Ed meets an unfortunate premature end. The idea that this would make Eddie a big target (and Greenwald himself, actually, because he has this information as well) just doesn’t seem to cross his mind, since to him no other interests in the world besides the US would ever kill somebody for political gain. (For Glenn’s edification, what he considers strongly encrypted and what a government intelligence service considers strongly encrypted may be two different things, especially when it’s a lot of information with a known encryption algorithm.)

    The firebagging left and the teabagging right at least agree on one thing: that the US is responsible for every fucking thing that happens in the world and no other government has any agency whatsoever. Everything else that happens in the world is just a reaction to US actions, and relationships between countries besides the US are unimportant.

  84. 84
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Chris: They only know who’s in the pew beside them, who’s going to the same revivals, or who’s watching 700 Club at the same time they are.

    But that’s the point. Greater Christendom is bigger – and far more diverse – than Ahmurrcan Xtianity understands or allows.

  85. 85
    boatboy_srq says:


    to my knowledge, this is only said of men. I haven’t heard anyone suggest female homophobes are lesbians.)

    That’s because no self-respecting lesbian would entertain for a picosecond the idea of shacking up with Ann Coulter or Phyllis Shafly.


  86. 86
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Corner Stone: There’s plenty of material to describe spinsters sharing a house. With the variance in life expectancies and wars and such, in some parts of the country widows and/or spinsters sharing a house is even respectable. Not many people talk about it, because not many people see below the surface: female camaraderie is expected to be close, amicable, and far more physical than the male equivalents.

    It’s because of all this male primacy baked into Western (especially Ahmurrcan) culture: manly men would never share their kkkaves with [gas]] other men. That’s just not right. And not having a spouse/girlfriend/mistress/female-SO is emasculating. So guys get “beards” and play on the DL, and gals raise kittens and bake cookies, and nobody says anything. It’s being out – especially for guys – that galls Conservatists and Xtians so: both for flaunting “traditional values” and for shrugging off all the baggage Conservatist, Xtian society tries to heap on one’s head. It’s one part pseudorighteous indignation, one part envy.

  87. 87
    Gex says:

    @drkrick: I disagree. I think there was a lot of money generated by the war on gays. Declining attendance, lower contributions in times of economic trouble…American Christianity got a real shot in the arm by this. I feel that many of the leaders of the movement were motivated to do this because there was a real payoff in taking a strong stand on this one particular sin. And in particular they were able to cooperate with the GOP in campaigning, such as when the MN Catholics sent 500k DVDs against marriage equality around during a gubernatorial race.

    The laity and the base? Yeah, they really believe it and they are really arguing principle. The leaders? Money and power grubbing like anyone who claws their way to the top.

  88. 88
    magurakurin says:


    probably the best two paragraph breakdown of Greenwald that I have read to date. very nice.

  89. 89
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Corner Stone: Meant, simply, that gogol’s wife clearly knows more about the subject than JSF.

    But, since you mention it, commentary from Pravda: “The situation with Snowden is also a test for the Russian government, whether it is independent in making policy decisions. President Putin is passing this test with dignity. Despite an intense pressure of pro-American groups in the country, let’s call it a Chubais-Friedman unit, as evidenced by his reservation that Russia would provide asylum if Snowden stops actions harmful for the United States. But everyone understands that this is camouflage, the President holds his own and it is good to see.”

    If you want to read it yourself, http://english.pravda.ru/world.....snowden-0/

    There’s more, just follow the Russian press.

  90. 90
    The Moar You Know says:

    Putin hasn’t done jack shit, the homophobia – really not the right word as it is far more vicious than that – was already a deeply ingrained part of the society. Russians are some of the most racist, gay-hating motherfuckers on the planet. Russia’s getting to be quite the dangerous place for non-Russians as well (good luck, Snowden, worst place you could have ended up in). My sister in law, who was born there, didn’t move to the US until she was in her teens, and speaks it natively, is starting to get nasty questions about her accent. Her husband and child don’t go back to visit anymore – way too dangerous for them, as they are fluent but not native.

  91. 91
    NonyNony says:


    I was referring to people “closeting” the fact that they are women, in responding to Shakezula’s comment.

    OH – that makes a hell of a lot more sense then. Because I know plenty of women who were closeted in the 90s (though they have since come out) and I can’t imagine that there still aren’t a number of women whose families and general background makes it hard for them to come out still.

    But @scav makes a good point – I know at least 2 women who pretend to be men on the internet and when they play online games because it saves them the harassment.

  92. 92
    Raven says:


    “families and general background” and jobs.

  93. 93
    gene108 says:

    @Roger Moore:

    Bill Clinton had to figure out how to win the White House by chipping away just enough bigots from the Republican Party to put together a coalition.

    Other than being a Southerner, I’m not sure what Clinton did to appeal to white bigots?

    Maybe welfare reform was an issue that got people on board. I’m trying to think back to the 1992 campaign and I can’t think of Clinton spitting out dog whistles like Republican candidates have done in the past.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gene108: DOMA, but that was to win reelection.

  95. 95
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @gene108: @Omnes Omnibus: I would also suggest that welfare reform had its roots in such an appeal.

  96. 96
    Corner Stone says:

    @Gin & Tonic: There’s something inherently amusing to me about reading Pravda. It’s like if it were 2005 and LGF was an official media organ of the state, instead of just an ersatz vehicle.
    But nonetheless, I read the entire article and while it’s clear Pravda, and I’m sure other outlets in Russia, are using Snowden for their propaganda, I didn’t see any relevance to the issue of gays or human rights in this specific example. They went at length to say in effect how hypocritical the US is in both legal and international matters.
    ISTM, Russia has a deep and abiding history of anti-gay laws and actions. Well before Putin.
    It also seems to me that Snowden, a man with no money, no elected office, and under house arrest for a month has just about nothing to do with Russian laws or enforcement of same re: homosexuals.
    I apologize, but when faced with the very real and ongoing awful actions WRT human rights in Russia, I find trying to tag that too onto Snowden to, in fact, be hyperbolic and ridiculous.

  97. 97
    Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism says:

    @NonyNony: The internet. Where the men are men, the women are men, and the kids are cops.

  98. 98
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    Putin is following the Spanish model. With himself in the role of Franco, and with the Russian Orthodox Church in the role of the RCC.

    Nothing keeps the proles in line (and gets them hating the “right” people) quite like that good ol’ time religion.

  99. 99
    gogol's wife says:

    @Corner Stone:

    “Russia has a deep and abiding history of anti-gay laws and actions. Well before Putin.”

    No, not “abiding,” not after the Soviet Union collapsed and before Putin turned his attention to solidifying his power. The linked article in the original post actually explains this quite well.

    Sorry to have dragged the great hero Snowden into this. He’s been a big help for the cause of human rights in Russia.

  100. 100
    gogol's wife says:

    @Corner Stone:

    From the article Betty Cracker linked to:

    “Homosexuality wasn’t really a topic of conversation in Russia for much of the last two decades. Laws banning gay sex were lifted in 1993, two years after the Soviet collapse. Slowly but surely, gay clubs began to appear in Moscow and St Petersburg, at first underground, eventually out in the open. Russian society remained widely homophobic, and there were many who saw gays and lesbians as an inevitable and evil Western import, but there were other things to worry about — recovering from the collapse of a political-economic system, clawing out of poverty, dealing with the explosion of violence that engulfed a country suddenly flowing with cash and corruption.

    And then came Vladimir Putin.”

  101. 101
    Corner Stone says:

    @gogol’s wife: Sorry, but I don’t click on Buzzfeed links. Mainly because it drives my NoScript crazy and causes everything to slooooowww down.
    But maybe I should have used a different adjective than “abiding”. I apologize everyone.

  102. 102
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    We’re afraid of radar now?

  103. 103
    shortstop says:

    I was happy when I saw the headlines saying Schumer was demanding that Obama say no to a Russia-hosted G20. Then I made a sad trombone sound when I discovered Chuck is outraged about asylum for Snowden but couldn’t spare a thought — or at least not a word — for the anti-LGBT terrorism going on over there.

  104. 104
    ericblair says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    We’re afraid of radar now?

    (For the benefit of non-clickers, this is an Army project to develop unmanned dirigibles with radar: that’s mini white Hindenbergs with what looks like ballsacks on them, so shove it, Adolf.)

    Way back when I lived in Southern AZ, there already were aerostats near the border and I don’t remember any mass freakout. What did piss me off were the border patrol checks well within the US, so I had to go through a patrol check driving from Sierra Vista, AZ, USA to Tucson, AZ, USA. Apparently the Supreme Court decided that this was acceptable within 50 miles of the border. I’m a pasty white guy so just got waved through, but if you looked anywhere near stereotypically hispanic you got a talking to.

    For anybody on the right who’s freaking out about surveillance, it’s existed for decades under the name of “strong borders” or some other crap and the right have been egging it on with zero reservations.

  105. 105
    Mnemosyne says:


    I was referring to people “closeting” the fact that they are women, in responding to Shakezula’s comment.

    Well, it’s not as common anymore, but it does happen. Even Tipton’s (adopted) children didn’t know that “he” was a biological woman.

  106. 106
    dr. luba says:

    @c u n d gulag: Speaking as someone raised in the Ukrainian Orthodox church (an unofficial church BTW, no yet recognized by Constantinople), I will give the church kudos for staying out of politics, a HUGE difference from the Catholics.

    My experience with orthodoxy, albeit limited, is that it is more attuned to spirituality than to politics. There is a very strong strain of mysticism. The candles, incense and chant contribute to that.

    (Mind you the Russian church is an outlier here. It was long ago taken over by the KGB, and has been a state organ since.)

    And, at least in the diasporan church, control is fairly decentralized. Priests are hired and fired by the parish, not assigned by the church.

    FYI Ukrainian priests aren’t required to have beards. Some do, but only one of our parish priests in the last 50 years has had one. (And he was too extreme for the parish, kept having visions of god and bad angels, and alienating half the parish.) You see more of it in the old country, but more so in the east where the Russian church is strongest.

  107. 107
    dr. luba says:

    So, in short, Putin is using Karl Rove’s GOP electoral handbook?

  108. 108
    EconWatcher says:

    @dr. luba:

    My wife is Russian Orthodox, and while I’m agnostic, I’ve attended and found the services moving and beautiful. Here in the US, there is a wingnut component within Russian Orthodoxy, but I’ve found it to be mostly, as you say, nonpolitical. While I’m no expert, it seems to be at its core a very mystical religion, and much less entagled in the affairs of this world than, for example, the RCC.

    I have some experience with the Church in Russia itself, and it seems to be still pretty corrupt and embarassing, a hangover from the Soviet days.

  109. 109
    fuckwit says:

    @ericblair: There’s a name for this, I was once told by a psychology professor: “Reverse Ethnocentrism”. It’s a common sophomoric affliction, the conviction that your own ethnicity/nation/etc is universally evil nasty and bad, and all others are much better by comparison.

  110. 110
    Paul in KY says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Anyone who’s watched Dr. Zhivago knows that if you don’t have you’re own armoured train, you’re a nobody.

  111. 111
    ericblair says:


    It’s a common sophomoric affliction, the conviction that your own ethnicity/nation/etc is universally evil nasty and bad, and all others are much better by comparison.

    “My mom and dad are the worst people in the history of EVER!!!!!one!”

  112. 112
    Paul in KY says:

    @Chris: IMO, Eisenhower won because he was ‘Eisenhower’.

  113. 113
    Paul in KY says:

    @Kristin: Unless he’s flately stated that he’s cool with those countries, I can assure you he still cares.

  114. 114
    Paul in KY says:

    @boatboy_srq: Alot of the ‘American Christians’ would not consider Russian Orthodox to be ‘Christian’ (at least in the way they have been taught/brainwashed).

  115. 115
    Paul in KY says:

    @Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: The kids function as tech support too.

  116. 116
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Paul in KY: I kinda thought I said that.

    A lot of the American Xtians wouldn’t consider each other Xtian, simply because of the flavor of Xtianity observed (just ask AoG about SBC, for example).

  117. 117
    Leslie says:

    @drkrick: Yes, they are genuine gay-haters. But I don’t think it’s true that there was no political calculation. They are in line with the Dominionists, who have decided that they need to claim the US for Baby Jesus via political means. Initially, this made them convenient dupes for the GOP, who used gay-bashing and anti-choice rhetoric to guarantee that the fundagelicals would vote for them. As more and more right-wing Christianists have actually gotten themselves elected, though, it’s led to the passage of all the anti-gay-marriage and anti-choice measures that have been proliferating throughout the country, among other onerous outcomes.

    “The anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of god” (James 1:20) — neither does the legislation of man, of course, but today’s fundagelicals have been making the beast with two backs with the GOP for so long now that they’ve lost sight of a great many things.

  118. 118
    Paul in KY says:

    @boatboy_srq: Guess you did :-)

  119. 119
    LAC says:

    @Betty Cracker: How did he blunder his way into Russia? You don’t “blunder” your way into something like that. No,he is not Satan’s disciple, but if he cannot face the consequences of his illegal actions, come back here, and make his case here, then all this nobility that people attach to him seems silly. He is hiding out in a country with an abominable human rights record and probably getting any intel he has picked over – either he is incredibly stupid or his “doing this for amurrica” shtick is a smokescreen.

  120. 120
    Bobby Thomson says:

    I thought gay bashing was just a clever way of ingratiating himself with oil producing states and being able to write rules punishing the U.S. without naming it specifically.

  121. 121
    Betty Cracker says:

    @LAC: Well, I said Snowden blundered into Putin’s web, not Russia. I think it’s pretty clear that his escape plan wasn’t particularly well thought out. I tend to avoid attributing to evil what can conceivably be put down to stupidity. He may be playing the “useful idiot” role to Putin, but I doubt he meant for that to happen.

  122. 122
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LAC: Of course one can blunder into something like this. Look, if the guy didn’t grab a bunch of stuff with the intention of defecting with it, then he ended up where he is by going through the doors that happened to be open to him at each given moment.

    From the record as it stands now, I doubt he was a spy or a mercenary looking for secrets to sell. I would guess he was trying to make a principled point. I think he has done a terrible job of it since we are primarily talking about him and what he did rather than assessing the concerns that allegedly prompted his actions.

    But again, it is ever so easy to criticize someone for not having perfect courage, for deciding not to be a martyr. Most of us would find we have feet of clay when it gets down to it.

  123. 123

    Or maybe Dubya was cruising.

  124. 124
    Leslie says:

    My own suspicion is that Ed is a weak personality whose ego was manipulated. Which is not to excuse him, or discount the damage he’s done; but I don’t think he’s evil, nor necessarily very principled, or very bright.

  125. 125
    Ripley says:

    …a B-list political blog.

    Wait, I thought this was a B-list cat blog.

  126. 126
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: What you said. Even if Snowden’s motives were impure and the evidence he provides is underwhelming, it’s still a good thing that there’s a conversation about surveillance, despite occasional cock-ups that derail it.

  127. 127
    Spaghetti Lee says:

    I’m gonna back up Shakezula here. Honestly I find it really tiresome whenever there’s a homophobe or homophobe-enabler in the news, there’s this massive chorus of ‘well he must be a big ol’ gayboy himself!’ as if it’s the only option, and everyone starts pointing to ‘evidence’ like his hair or clothes or the way he talks. It seems like just gossip that has pretensions of exposing hypocrisy.

  128. 128
    gogol's wife says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    And burnishing Putin’s human-rights image is just collateral damage.

  129. 129
    JWL says:

    Lest We Forget:

    “You’ve got a pretty mouth”. George W. Bush, speaking to a male aide of Canada’s Prime Minister.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  130. 130
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gogol’s wife: In the sense that it was an unintended (as far as I know) consequence, yes, but not in the sense that it (Putin’s gain) doesn’t matter. It matters, and it sucks. But the conversation about surveillance is a good thing.

  131. 131
    LAC says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I am not talking about perfection. You can be a flawed hero. But the way this whole story has played out stinks to high heaven.

    Maybe you are right about those with clay feet. But I know that if I thought something was wrong here, in this country, that I grew up in and have a life in, I would want to be here, to fight. I wouldn’t run to countries like China and Russia, and be at their mercy. If I cared anything about citizens and their civil liberties, that would be my focus. Not buying my way into asylum with classifed information.

    You know what courage is? Being an american citizen in peaceful protest, crossing a bridge, and knowing that a white cop with a billy club is going to crack open your skull. That is real courage. Flawed or not, Snowden is not even in the ball park of that.

    And this “conversation” as the new excuse du jour? That conversation has been around for years. That conversation should have long morphed into some political activity behind it, should have affected every single damn election in the last 10 -15 years. I know that this community and other liberal leaning blogs have been in on this “discussion” for years – you all are too bright to play ingenues. You didn’t need some guy getting a job for the purpose of rummaging through classified information in order to know that there needs to be a real balance between privacy and security.

  132. 132
    gogol's wife says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Maybe he should have looked into the human rights record of the countries he was considering fleeing to before he fled.

  133. 133
    SRW1 says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader:

    Na, he has a Datcha in Siberia where he shovels ice and snow. Shirtless.

  134. 134
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LAC: Maybe I am reading too much into your comment, but fuck you if you are suggesting that I just started getting concerned about Fourth Amendment issues as a result of Snowden. There is a national conversation that has started as a result of this. I am happy that it is finally happening. There is legislation being introduced as a result of this. I am happy that this is happening. The fact that Snowden is a libertarian douchecanoe is entirely beside the point. I am not holding him up as a shining example of anything. Further, you and I and the other people who read liberal blogs may know and think about privacy and security, but shitloads of people don’t. That is where the conversation meme originates.

    And I would like to add a preemptive fuck you for the next line of argument that you probably going to trot out: I am not bitching about this because it is a way to criticize Obama. Check around, I generally play for team Obot. Thing is, the whole national security state has the balance wrong between privacy and security. I say let’s fix that rather than bitching about Snowden’s motives and goals.

  135. 135
    Betty Cracker says:

    @LAC: Be that as it may, the conversation wasn’t happening on a national scale until Snowald began their dog and pony show. I’m not talking about conversations on blogs, which don’t amount to much more than a fart in a whirlwind in the grand scheme of things. I mean on mainstream TV, among fellow citizens who are generally tuned into shit like Dancing with the Stars, etc.

    Hell, even Obama tried to start a conversation about getting off our decade-plus war footing and reevaluating the way we approach security, but that didn’t get much traction as far as I know. You needn’t think Snowden is a brave truth-teller to be glad that the apparatus of surveillance is under review on a national scale, no more than you’d have to think Ernesto Miranda was a swell fellow to be grateful the cops have to read suspects their rights.

  136. 136
    Betty Cracker says:

    @gogol’s wife: I agree with you there.

  137. 137
    Ruckus says:

    @Betty Cracker:
    From all I’ve heard and seen I think Kerry is a much better man than most people thought. Including me. I think he hired the wrong people to run his campaign. When I saw his concession speech my first thought was “Where has this guy been hiding the entire campaign? If he had given speeches like that during the campaign…”

  138. 138
    Corner Stone says:

    @gogol’s wife: If your conclusion was to extend your platform and stay out of a communications blackout, which country do you suggest one visits?

  139. 139
    Paul in KY says:

    @Ruckus: Sen. Kerry’s problem was that he didn’t want to get down in the mud with them & that’s what you have to do when you are running against deranged sociopaths.

  140. 140
    EconWatcher says:


    I think he may well be a very good human being. But I had the chance to meet him in an informal setting during the 2004 campaign, long before he seemed like the likely nominee, due the to connections of a boss at the time. And I remember thinking, I can’t believe this guy is a professional politician. He projected no warmth or charisma whatsoever. He was frankly just boring. He’s probably a much better person than Bill Clinton (although I think that’s a pretty low bar). But when you meet Clinton, you know instantly that you’re in the presence of a rock star.

  141. 141
    LAC says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Wow, well thanks for the preemptive “fuck you” – clearly you read what you wanted to read. That was not my point, I am just tired of excuses being made for Snowden’s actions because it fits an emo narrative. I do not think of him as heroic and I know that I am not alone in this.Since you are handing out preemptive fuck you’s , I guess we are done talking. I am tired of being told that I have to see Snowden as some flawed guy who did something great in order to have a say here. I have yet to see what real good he has done, since he is running as fast as his legs will carry him. I am mystified by your hostility, but this story has not brought out the best in anyone.

    @Betty Cracker – You are right…people are not as worked up about this. Maybe it is “dancing with the stars”. Or maybe it is other things that worry them more, like job security, getting their kids to college, food on the table, etc. You can’t reach these people by smugly declaring them as dumb as doornail sheeple, or by dismissing their security concerns as frivolous.

  142. 142
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LAC: I wasn’t telling you how to think about Snowden. I couldn’t really give two shots about Snowden.

    As far as the preemptive fuck you goes, if that was not where you were heading next, I apologize. But let’s be honest; that generally is the next argument made. I’ve read and participated in these threads.

    Let me ask this. But for Snowden, would there be any national discussion about surveillance and privacy? I would say no. What would you say?

    Is any good that came from his actions outweighed by the harms that resulted? Quite possibly. I am entirely open to that argument. I just want the privacy/surveillance thing to get fixed while we are at it. Too many people are arguing the Snowden is a douche and GG is GG, therefore the issue is nonexistent. That is not the case. The faces of the issue happen to be less than the issue deserves.

  143. 143
    LAC says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: No, that was not where this was going. I had read what you stated and just wanted to put my two cents in. Generally, I read your posts, usually nod, and move on. I just thought I would offer my perspective. I didn’t agree with you entirely and I thought I could state it.

    The problem with discussion of surveillance and privacy, is that has been in our faces for years. This sensationalized way of presenting it is what completely pisses me off. That, and a lack of balance to any discussion. That is what Greenwald’s grubby pawprints do to issues – they muck up facts and gin up outrage and you have people sputtering and shrieking and not understanding that we do not live in a blog, but in a world where we cannot just shut down a security apparatus wholesale and keep our fingers crossed. That may not be what people here think, but when you get your information from those with extreme agendas, then any reasonable discussion gets lost. People get tired of getting fire breathing outrage when they discuss these things.

    Again, I don’t know what Snowden thinks – his actions are so confusing that they seem to work against any good. Greenwald? He makes things about him and his ability to report thoroughly and objectively has never been his suit. Their credbility is important – no one is saying that this security apparatus doesn’t need reform, but to have “Bookwald” leading the charge?

    The start to fixing this issue is getting some of these psychotic wingnuts out of Congress and actually dealing with the Patriot Act. It took a while to get this set up and it will take a while to fix it. If we to really fix it.

  144. 144
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @LAC: Well, fwiw I have gotten rather tired of people suggesting that any concern about this issue constitutes idolizing Snowden or accepting Greenwald’s take on it. I do neither. I probably snapped at you prematurely for which I apologize. I don’t really disagree with anything you just said. I am simply tired of Snowden/GG being brought into the discussion at all.

  145. 145
    Just Some Fuckhead, Thought Leader says:

    @Betty Cracker: Well said.

  146. 146
    LAC says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I never read your posts and think that about you. I rather enjoy them actually and I do feel your concern is geniuine and you are thoughtful.

    I am beyond tired of both of them, as well. This is not what we need now.

    Thank you for your apology – I appreciate it and accept it.

Comments are closed.