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Obama To Meet With LGBT Activists While In Russia

World  (tags: 'CIVILLIBERTIES!', 'HUMANRIGHTS!', conflict, ethics, freedoms, government, LGBTQ, politics, society, Russia )

- 1754 days ago -
Four 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.

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Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:30 am
Photo Credit: Jason Reed / Reuters

Following his cancellation of a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama may infuriate the Kremlin further by meeting Russian human rights activists, including LGBT rights groups, during his upcoming trip to St. Petersburg for the G20 summit.

Four 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 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.

Obama’s trip to Russia for a summit of the Group of 20 industrialized nations comes amid a deep rift between the U.S. and Russia, not least over the countries’ competing stances on Syria. Obama was due to hold a one-on-one meeting with Putin in Moscow before heading to the summit, but abruptly called that off last month in the wake of deteriorating relations and Russia’s sheltering of NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden. Putin has repeatedly accused members of Russia’s civil society as being in the pay of the U.S. State Department.

Thursday’s meeting is not unique or unprecedented. Obama met with civil society and opposition activists during his last visit to Russia in 2009. George W. Bush met with NGOs during the G8 summit in 2006.

It is believed to be the first time Obama has met with members of the Russian LGBT community. Asked about Russia’s anti-LGBT law in August, Obama told Jay Leno that he had “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.”

A U.S. Embassy representative did not return several requests for comment.

By: Max Seddon | Buzz Feed Staff | Buzz Feed |

JL A (281)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:54 am
I like the message the cancellation of the one meeting and the scheduling of this one sends to the world.

Sue H (7)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 9:25 am
I'm pretty sure that this will cause Putin to have some sort of temper tantrum.

Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 9:51 am

Let him have a tantrum, his people are fed up with him, the world is angry with his obnoxious desire to recreate the USSR, and some of us are bored by the pandering to Putin.

Mitchell D (87)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 1:28 pm
Yes, I've said that Putin is trying to renstate the Stalinist state.
If this is for real, perhaps Putin will get so angry he'll create his own medical crisis, and having the "good soul" that Bubba said he saw, will, of course, go straight to heaven.

Mike M (40)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 1:50 pm
I would think that Putin will have these members arrested like they have been doing uncover for months and will cause some trouble for the American athletes at the Olympics just cause he is a good ole red boy

pam w (139)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 2:27 pm

Kit B (276)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 2:34 pm

I hope so, Pam. I really hope so.

Glenn Byrnes (197)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 2:42 pm

S J (130)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 3:39 pm
This may cause stroke and send Putin to heaven. Go ahead Mr. President!!!
Best wishes to all Russian activists and LGBT community.

Noted gladly, thanks Kit.

elderberry C (47)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 3:59 pm
Stupid Post and even more so these comments...helloooooo..... incase it slipped your Attention Deficit.....Your wonderful Pres is about to murder thousands of people across the pond....Putin is AGAINST THIS travesty so why don't YOU give him a break?!!.....maybe you think lgbt is more important YA...AND just maybe you are all really in favour of bombing the hell out of yet another sovereign nation. Promoting the lgbt lifestyle agenda and its corrupting influence on the young is nothing to be proud of.

Rose B (141)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 4:00 pm
Good luck to Obama

marie C (163)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 4:42 pm

Sheila D (194)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:12 pm
Elderberry C - SIGH!

Joanne D (38)
Wednesday September 4, 2013, 7:34 pm
Of course this is assuming that the activists, whose names have been in the press, are not locked up by then - and hoping that they don't get locked up as a result.

Just FYI, elderberries are a deep reddish purple, not a bright golden yellow.

TomCat S (128)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 2:14 am
Better them than Putin!

Jane H (139)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 10:23 am
hope something positive results from the meeting.

Roger G (154)
Thursday September 5, 2013, 2:24 pm
noted, thanks
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