As a sixties baby growing up in London the Russians represented real and impending destruction…indeed when Regan assumed power we were reasonably sure it all be over and sooner rather than later. As the USSR collapsed Russia regressed to something close to its peasant roots until Czar Putin reestablished the monarchy. Nowadays, Russia is a hot bed of tech innovation and in my industry, we spend inordinate amounts of time and effort fending off Russian hackers and bots. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many Russians and in the vast majority of cases they have been charming educated folk…a little crazy in some cases but still.
All of this makes me wonder why on earth a good percentage of the Russian population is made up by apparently rabidly homophobic monsters. Granted there are still an extraordinarily large number of states in the US were you can be fired for simply being gay…so we shouldn’t be too smug…but a good majority of Americans almost certainly wouldn’t join in beating a gay person to death on the street…or film it or post it online. If that happened it’s likely that the police would get involved and (who knows) the perpetrators would likely be prosecuted. Not so in Russia. There it’s common place for people to suffer outrageous assaults, even murder, simply for being gay. A climate of intolerance is encourage even codified by the government.
The most recent manifestation of this lunacy comes to us from St Petersburg where a monument to Steve Jobs (in the form of a giant cell phone) has supposedly been taken down by the company which erected it simply because Tim Cook recently came out as gay.
If this is true (and there may be some uncertainty around the timing) it’s as silly as it is sad. It may be especially ironic because Russians (who can afford them) simply love all things Apple. A much more sincere idiotic reaction might be for Russians to stage iPad burnings where their beloved status symbols would be ritually incinerated…but that’s never going to happen. Meantime I go out of my way not to buy anything made in Russia. Granted that’s a reasonably futile gesture as most of what we buy from Russia is in the form of oil and raw materials and it’s hard to tell whether the gas you are putting in your tank is supporting oppression…but the thought is there.