Vladimir Putin is moving towards a Stalin type of dictatorship. He is rapidly making his opinions and beliefs those of all Russians. Those who dare to oppose him suffer the consequences. He has proven himself to be a racist and a bigot, and he is changing the rules to force an entire nation to join him.
Prior to the Sochi Olympics Putin banned all material which was positive toward the LGBT community. Many in the west condemned the action although the eastern media called it an overreaction. They have conveniently forgotten that Putin was an upper echelon member of the formerly defunct KGB. His hatred for groups harassed and tortured by him and his associates has risen to the forefront of Russian politics.
Putin’s choice of the individual to light the torch for the Olympics expressed his approval of racism directed at President and Mrs. Obama. Irina Rodnina previously sent a tweet depicting the First Couple at a basketball game staring at a banana; there was no caption.
When Russia invaded and annexed Crimea the impression of most of the world was a move to secure the nation’s military and to ‘rescue’ the thousands of Russians who wished to rejoin their country. In reality it was an ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Crimea. Of the estimated 19,400 refugees who left their lives behind when the Russians invaded their country, many are Muslims. Although life was not easy for them when they lived in Crimea, they considered it home.
Some of the refugees have been accepted into a Christian village called Borinya in the Carpathian Mountains. They are grateful for the kindness which has been bestowed on them, but they miss their homes.
Crimea has devolved into a communist lifestyle. The right to assemble and express free thoughts and ideas has been virtually eliminated. Any individual who voices opposition to Russia’s annexation of Crimea is harassed.
The total number of refugees from the Ukraine is approximately 475,000. Their cry is freedom; saying that they refuse to be ‘told how to live.’
Those who discount the banning of ‘gay propaganda’ in Russia have obviously not read history. Stalin, Lenin, and Hitler did not create sudden change in their nation. Small, seemingly insignificant acts gradually moved the country towards totalitarianism. Germany did not accept Hitler’s hatred of Jews instantly. Propaganda poisoned the minds of its citizens over time.
Racism and bigotry are alive and well in the United States. They are often as subtle as Putin’s ‘new rules,’ but they are a growing problem. When Osama bin Laden ordered the 9/11 attacks, he could not have known the long term effects of those cowardly actions. A country ruled by fear was re-created as the twin towers fell. Optimism, tolerance, trust, and understanding became part of the rubble.
Putin is a cunning villain. He stages every move. His KGB training has served him well, poisoning minds and removing independent thought gradually and effectively.
There is no such thing as overreaction to prejudice; history has proven that a single thought, an individual remark, can produce a tidal wave of racism and bigotry which, in time, overwhelms a society.
By James Turnage