Vladimir and The Big Bad Wolf.

The Sochi Winter Games are well under way, and Mr Putin’s appearance as a bare-chested moral crusader wearing his underpants over his lycra ski-pants has backfired on him to a greater extent than anyone could have ever imagined. President Obama was far from being alone in declining his invitation to the party, and even President Hollande waived the opportunity to try on one of those gay, rainbow-coloured track suit tops.

The world is now scrutinizing the Sochi games, and Internet is full of fun yet lucid messages such as this one from the Canadian Institute for Diversity and Inclusion:

Some athletes sported rainbow-coloured accessories for the opening ceremony, and Google adopted the same colours for their home page, quoting the values of the Olympic Charter below it: “The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”

Values that Mr Putin immediately transgressed with a cool “welcome” to any gay visitors, requesting them to “leave the children in peace” during their visit, and refrain from “homosexual and pedophile propaganda”.

When inviting high-profile international athletes to your winter sporting event, telling them not to touch your kids probably isn’t the best ice-breaker to kick off your party. I have serious doubts that any athletes came to the Winter Games with the plan of converting Russia’s youth to anything at all – be it brussels sprouts or homosexuality – after years of intensive training for a unique opportunity to prove their sporting skills. However, by conflating homosexuals and pedophiles, Mr Putin has shown his true colours: 50 shades of darkness.

It’s not the first or the last time that a politician has used stories about the bogeyman to gain the support of the population. Your desire to “protect” Russia’s children from the big bad wolf of permissive society may be touching for some, but there are a few things that you seem to have forgotten in your haste to prove to the rest of the world what a good moral guardian you are. These have a much more direct impact on Russian children than foreign athletes who you believe could simultaneously promote their sexuality and ski down the Sochi slopes. 

So instead of scaring your kids with gay monster stories, I’d suggest sorting out a few other more pressing issues that have been pointed out by UNICEF and the world Health Organisation, among others.

Like child pornography and prostitution. Whilst you are barking up the wrong tree, children in Russia (and particularly migrant populations) are being exploited in organised prostitution. Whilst you point an accusing finger at your visitors, you forget that you have no current legislation condemning the simple possession of child pornography in your own country. 

Then there’s the human trafficking and child labour. In the child labour rankings, Russia sadly boasts the 69th place in a list of 197 countries exploiting children, and iconsidered to pose an “extreme risk” alongside China. According to the Maplecroft child labour index 2014, Russia is “lagging” in the battle against child labour and trafficking. The report describes the increasing presence of children working in shops, on construction sites and in agriculture, where they use dangerous machinery and harmful pesticides. 

Peter, Ivan and Sasha realize that they have c...

The arrival of international athletes at Sochi, told by uncle Vlad. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Russia’s rates of infant, child and maternal mortality are among the highest in Eastern Europe, and the country has the highest incidence of AIDS after mainland Africa. HIV transmission is mainly fuelled by the heterosexual community, meaning that more and more children are being born to HIV–infected mothers.

Living conditions and education could do with some investment, too – Unicef describe a “dramatic increase in the number of children living on the streets or in institutions”, and deplore declining investments in national education, lowering school enrollment rates and preschool availability, falling school completion rates, and less opportunities for poor children in rural areas to access education.

Last but not least, over 650,000 Russian children are registered orphans, yet an estimated  66-95% of all of these children are considered social orphans, meaning that one or more of their birth parents are still alive. If the State believes there is a problem, they simply take custody of the child. Many of those with serious handicaps spend their childhood in orphanages, then get put into adult asylums. New laws are in the pipeline to remove children from their gay parents, irrelevant of whether they are well-cared for or not, potentially sending more children into orphanages when they have absolutely no need to be there.

Will the real big bad wolf please stand up?

“There is no monopoly in common sense

On either side of the political fence.

We share the same biology,

Regardless of ideology.

Believe me when I say to you

I hope the Russians love their children too.”

Sting.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

25 thoughts on “Vladimir and The Big Bad Wolf.

  1. well said !

    it amazes (and saddens) me how some people find it so difficult to understand, and accept, that some men find love with another man, and some women find the same with another woman

    it makes me wonder whether the vehement objections some people have to other people finding love with someone of the same sex hints at something about those objectors that they have yet to admit to themselves ?

    • Thanks, Duncan. I can’t understand the need to hound down homosexuals, and the idea of equating them with pedophiles really riled me. It’s the line taken by the Orthodox church, too. I must admit that I find Mr Putin’s need to parade around half-dressed isn’t necessarily reassuring, and it has interpreted by some as a need to come out of the closet himself.

  2. BRAVO! Well written. I have enjoyed the games immensely , especially trapped inside for days but I agree on the double standard on so many issues. I wish I had seen that pic of Putin, I did not. You know an interesting fact is that here on WP there are some Blogs from reporters in attendance in Sitchi and although much of it IS censored as predicted , it’s still fun to read a live report from inside. You can find these blogs on the reader!

    • Thanks! (MM looks anxiously out of window for man in fedora hat carrying pointy umbrella). It’s such aa shame that a sporting event was tainted by this kind of ugly reasoning, but it has revealed Mr P’s character in all his glory. I wish he has dressed like that, but he didn’t… it’s just my mental image of him with his super Orthodoxman knickers on, just like superman but an anti-hero of sorts. If only I could draw… I’ll have a look for some reports – I can’t be looking in the right place.

    • Cheers, chuck! I thought that there would be more posts about the subject, but I can’t see anyone else who has taken it up in prose form. It’s sad – I wonder if it means that they’re scared to take position publicly in case they get a poisoned brolly in the ribs. It says a lot about the unwritten vetoes that we impose on ourselves.

  3. You’d think if Putin was that keen on protecting children, he should do the job properly or stfu.

    I haven’t been able to watch much of the OGs yet. Being at work when it’s on doesn’t help, and then I’ve got to fight the boys for access to the tele and dig them out of their encampment on the sofa, eyes fixed on the XBox. As I’m normally doing two things at once, the moment I get up, they take advantage. So I’ve given up.

    Mind you, as I can’t watch it on UK tele any more, thanks to the satellite moving, I’d have to watch the French coverage, which means just watching the French competitors. Boring…

    • Couldn’t agree more- it really cheeses me off that he’s pontificating about child abuse, yet the situation for some children in his own country is dire and he’s not doing anything about it. The words “pot”, “kettle” and “black” come to mind.
      the only sport I watch on tv is the Rubgy, cos I like seeing muddy men wearing lycra 🙂

  4. A shame really. And saddening to realise that the world hasn’t moved forward as much as we had thought. Admire your protest MM.

  5. An admirable, well researched and well expressed post MM. I wasn’t aware of many of the facts that you quoted. It’s a great shame that the kudos of Olympic achievement trumps compassion. All countries should have boycotted the Sochi games.

    • Yoh, WWN 🙂 Mr Putin only said what he liked to hear rather than the stuff people should hear. I think most politicians doit these days. It’s a shame for the athletes to compete in this climate – I don’t think Russia should have been chosen in the first place.

  6. Well said, MM. Listening to the coverage of Putin’s dire pronouncements, the Biblical warning about motes and beams sprang irresistibly to mind. Political freedom is a wonderful thing and no-one would want a return to totalitarianism, but with freedom comes responsibility for those you have been elected to govern. It doesn’t look like the Russian leadership is up to the challenge, so inevitably the most vulnerable suffer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s