Someone once said that Russia has only Tsars: bad Tsars and good Tsars. Putin seems to be heading from being somewhat neutral to being a bad Tsar. There seems to be little doubt that he is slowly slipping into madness with his cult of personality and the repression of his opponents and other people and ideas of which he personally disapproves.
I note that the Orthodox Church’s role in all this seems to be growing. When Church and State come together to decided policy, it is the beginning of the end. At first, 90% agree with policies and 10% oppose them but are forced into agreement; at the end 10% agree with policies and 90% oppose but are forced into agreement.
Having said that and as much as I like Stephen Fry, his letter is long, rambling, relies heavily on exaggerated references to Hitler and the Jews and is inaccurate. He says
Any defence or sane discussion of homosexuality is against the law. Any statement, for example, that Tchaikovsky was gay and that his art and life reflects this sexuality and are an inspiration to other gay artists would be punishable by imprisonment.
This is not so. The law in question is that “Disseminating gay propaganda to those under 18 years of age is prohibited.” I doubt that Fry’s example would qualify and, even if it did, how many athletes from the last few Olympics can you recall who made pro-gay statements to audiences under 18?
As I heard Fry being interviewed yesterday on BBC Radio 4, he admitted that he did not want the Olympics boycotted but to be used as a propaganda machine: he suggested that all athletes make “some signal of solidarity, for example, crossing their arms, left hand to right shoulder, to show their opposition.”
This does not sit well with the letter, which says,
An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympics of 2014 on Sochi is simply essential. Stage them elsewhere in Utah, Lillyhammer, anywhere you like. At all costs Putin cannot be seen to have the approval of the civilised world.
I have not counted, but I suspect that there are far more countries with anti-gay laws and far more draconian ones than the Russian example.
As Putin’s attitude is that “everything is a propaganda opportunity”, it is hard to think that Fry does not share this attitude.
Do not think that I have any sympathy for the Russian people, who, for the most part, are insular, anti-gay or that I have any sympathy for Putin. As shown in The Bible, the default attitude to gays is “kill them all.” Education and change are required. I cannot see whatever it is that Fry is suggesting will be any more successful that “Rock Against Racism”.
It's worth a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olympic_Games_scandals_and_controversies
for the calls for boycotts and the effects of boycotts.