Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Russia is Not Europe and Not Much of an Ally

Mr. Putin appears to have a bad attitude toward the U.S. and Europe on both social and foreign policy issues. His most notorious statement expresses his general view on authoritarianism: “First and foremost it is worth acknowledging that the demise of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century.”

Most recently, he has criticized Europe’s and the West’s excessive focus on homosexual rights, while the Duma and his government “outlaw gay propaganda” and same-sex adoptions. His criticism, no doubt, is a reflection of recent demonstrations against his increasingly authoritarian regime in Moscow.

And, of course, in his recent confrontation with President Obama, Putin argued for the superior moral position of Russia backing the Assad regime and not the rebels. Most of his policy is reactionary, but his public relations is smooth, if disingenuous.

Although Putin is clearly bothersome for the West, he is reflecting Russian public opinion. The level of Russian acceptance of homosexuality is closer to Pakistan than Britain, France, Germany or most countries in Europe. Russians’ impression of Iran is far more favorable than any nation in Western Europe or even Egypt.

See Pew:
The global divide on homosexuality
Global views of Iran overwhelmingly negative

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