The Yale Undergraduate Research Journal


In the lead up to the 2014 Sochi Olympics, President Putin passed a law that placed a ban on all homosexual "propaganda" in the country. The "gay propaganda" law was met with an international outcry, as advocacy groups around the world condemned Russian state-sponsored homophobia. Despite their heightened involvement before the Sochi Olympics, international activists had little impact on LGBTQ oppression in Russia as they failed to address two key obstacles facing the Russian LGBTQ movement: enforcement of conservative "traditional values,” and Putin's nationalist project to return Russia to a misremembered imperial past. This essay argues that we must understand and address the two obstacles to advocate and build solidarity with LGBTQ people and movements in Russia.