Advocates for LGBT rights don't seem to be showing any signs of of slowing down in their efforts to highlight Russia's disturbing recent turn towards homophobia. In fact, if anything, they're getting more creative. RIA Novosti reports on the latest:
An already besieged set of events intended to promote investment in the Russian economy has come under further pressure, as a US gay rights activist has launched a petition asking the New York Stock Exchange to cancel its upcoming Russia Day.
The NYSE describes Russia Day, due to take place Monday, as an opportunity for “executives to engage in strategic discussions with business peers, asset allocators and investors, and Russian government officials about the opportunities in doing business and investing in Russia today.”
But the petition posted to Change.org describes investment opportunities as less important than human rights and accuses the Russian government of “banning any gay-positive speech and tacitly encouraging violence against LGBT Russians.”
“American money should not be supporting a country that is terrorizing its gay community,” the petition states.
As The New Civil Rights Movement pointed out, activists have already scored three big wins around the NYSE's Russia Day. First, James Silkenat, President of the American Bar Association, cancelled a keynote he had planned to give at the Russia Forum NY investors' conference. In addition, Goodwin Procter LLC, a major law firm which had planned to host Russian officials at its New York City office, pulled out of the conference. Finally, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office explicitly disavowed any connection to the event after a claim that Bloomberg had sponsored it.
On Monday, Sergey Belyakov, Russia's deputy minister of economic development, is scheduled to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. We'll have to wait and see if the NYSE pulls out of Russia Day, although it seems unlikely it will do so at this late hour.