Obama to Meet with LGBT Rights Groups During G20 Trip to St. Petersburg, Russia

President Obama plans to meet with several Russian LGBT groups later this week when he visits St. Petersburg to attend the G20 Summit, Buzzfeed reports:

PonomarevFour Russian non-governmental organizations told BuzzFeed Monday they had been invited to the meeting, scheduled for this Thursday at St. Petersburg’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The groups include veteran human rights activists Lev Ponomarev (pictured) and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, legal aid NGO director Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out, a St. Petersburg-based LGBT organization. Another local LGBT group, the LGBT Network, is believed to be attending, though director Igor Kochetkov declined to comment to BuzzFeed, saying that he had been “asked not to say anything.”

Election monitoring group Golos is also believed to have been invited, though BuzzFeed could not reach its director or deputy director to confirm. Russia’s justice ministry forced Golos, which used to receive funding from USAID, to disband this summer under a law on “foreign agents” that many believed was created specifically to target the group.

Earlier last month, of course, Obama canceled a G20 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, a decision that was at least partly based on Russia's human rights abuses.


  1. Gregory In Seattle says

    Given the Obama Administration’s past actions regarding LGBT rights, I am positive that the meeting with Putin was cancelled because of Putin’s promise of retaliation if the US gets involved in Syria. That Obama can use this to curry points at home without actually doing anything is a bonus.

  2. DB says

    Thank you President Obama! You are the best president ever for gay civil rights and human rights in general.

  3. Randy says

    That’s pretty bold. It takes away the argument from Olympic participants that they just have to let Russia do whatever without comment.

  4. reality says

    Turning down a world leader to speak with gay leaders is a huge move. People without any understand of world politics may not be able to wrap their heads around it.