What's odd about Russia's homophobia is how it stands in stark contrast to the rather liberalized values the country has regarding issues like divorce and abortion. While not a complete historical analysis, Masha Lipman at The New Yorker explains that the discrepancy, in part, is the rejection of the forced modernization by the Bolsheviks.
The early Soviet period involved a radical rejection of the ancien regime, a forced modernization by the Bolsheviks that included universal literacy and suffrage (along with the elimination of political choice, of course), as well as brutally imposed secularization, among other things.
Despite the Russian government's apparent complacency with their treatment of homosexuals, it's creating problems both with international relations and within its own borders. A protest against Russia's laws collected over 300,000 signatures and the IOC continues its weak attempts to at least pretend to care by asking for clarification on how the law will be enacted on Olympic athletes and attendees. Speaking on Yelena Mizulina, chairperson of the Russian Duma’s Committee on Family, Women, and Children who framed the gay "propaganda" ban, Russian celebrity Kseniya Sobchak publicly mocked the "champion of high moral standards",
"My husband and I … are thinking of filing our own suit against Mizulina for insulting our private family life. The phrase ‘oral sex’ is so firmly associated with Mizulina now that we no longer feel like having it any more.”
Andrew Sullivan offers his insight on the article and suggests that a protest is needed at the Sochi Olympics, one that protesters need to be prepared to be arrested for.
Unpack your rainbow flags! Get ready to be arrested! Expose the neo-fascist regime’s classic tactics to maintain popular support by demonizing an already despised and marginalized minority. Putin wants the attention of the world in Sochi. Let’s make sure he gets it.