Politics / Central & Eastern European Studies
Mr Putin, Tear Down This Law: Analysing the Politicisation of Queer Identities in Putin's Russia
This paper analyses the changing nature of the way in which queer identities have been politicised by the Russian Government under the presidency of Vladimir Putin. The Russian Family Policy in 2013 introduced what has been colloquially referred to as Russia’s ‘gay propaganda law’. This legislation has led to a change in the way queer people live in Russia now that their identities have become synonymous with treason and unpatriotism, which is due to the way queer people have been rejected from partaking in the common imagined Russian identity. It has been suggested that this is part of a larger pattern of identity renegotiation within the post-Soviet space. As Russia seeks to strengthen national unity around an imagined identity characteristically thought of as strong, masculine, and patriotic; evidence also suggests that queer people are being othered and scapegoated for the ongoing crisis of demography within Russia. This paper will explore how homosexuality has been politicised in Putin’s Russia. This research uses a discourse analysis of three ethnographic articles published by open Democracy as part of an exploratory series known as Queer Russia. The data is analysed within a framework that considers the historical narratives of queer identity in Russia and the Soviet Union. The analysis also considers theoretical frameworks laid out by Nikita Sleptcov, Michele Rivkin-Fish, and Benedict Anderson in order to qualify the paper’s thesis.