Putin’s Instrumentalization of LGBTQ+ Prejudice
“As long as I’m president…There will be dad and mum.”
If you thought this quote came from a far-right social conservative and not Russian President Vladimir Putin, you would be in good company. In a move that still hasn’t been fully internalized in the West, Putin spent much of the 2010s re-fashioning Russia as a defender of “traditional values,” defined in largely ethno-nationalist and heteronormative terms. Much like the Soviet Union used a specific set of values in its foreign and domestic policy, modern Russia has developed a strategy that uses social conservatism, and anti-LGBTQ+ prejudice specifically, to do the same. Russia’s pivot to a values-based framework has important implications for how the United States should understand its interests vis-à-vis the Russian Federation.