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Politics and Repression

A Eurasianet partner post from Coda

How longtime Russian political activists are often overlooked in the West.

When the First Cou­ple of the United States trav­elled to Moscow to se­cure the re­lease of an Amer­i­can ac­tivist jailed un­der Rus­si­a’s gay pro­pa­ganda laws, the cam­paigner up­set their plans. He hanged him­self in his cell rather than pub­licly apol­o­gize for protest­ing, though not be­fore he told the First Lady about dozens of in­car­cer­ated Russ­ian com­rades on hunger strike.

That, at least, was how the scriptwrit­ers of Net­flix’s “House of Cards” por­trayed the im­pact of anti-gay leg­is­la­tion in Rus­sia.

The 2012 law, which is os­ten­si­bly aimed at pro­tect­ing chil­dren from “gay pro­pa­ganda”, be­came a cause célèbre in the US and Eu­rope. Cou­pled with the jail­ing of mem­bers of the punk band Pussy Riot, it left lit­tle space for any­thing else in the West­ern me­di­a’s cov­er­age of Rus­sia.

Russ­ian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin mean­while ini­ti­ated a crack­down on or­ga­nized po­lit­i­cal dis­sent, qui­etly but ef­fec­tively sup­press­ing the protest move­ment that had flared up in De­cem­ber 2011.

To read the full story

Leonid Ragozin is a freelance journalist based in Riga.

A Eurasianet partner post from Coda

Politics and Repression

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