Home News Language Issues: Analysing the LGBT Rights Dialogue Between Russia and the West

Language Issues: Analysing the LGBT Rights Dialogue Between Russia and the West


The evaluation of language and discourse was once a uncared for space of research inside IR, however fortunately there may be now a large quantity of scholarship on the topic (Craith 2007, 5). An integral a part of the vital constructivist perspective is the concept language is each a social building and a social constructor, which implies it has the capability to actively form the world round us (Holzscheiter 2014, 143). A technique through which language does that is by way of the development of identities, each at a macro (state) stage and a micro (particular person) stage (Epstein 2010, 328). This essay will particularly deal with the position that lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender identities (henceforth known as LGBT) play in shaping Transatlantic relations, as a method of illustrating the significance of language, discourse and dialogue. Firstly, I’ll clarify how language is highly effective, earlier than shifting on to debate how phrases get tied to identities. Having laid that basis, I’ll then launch into an in-depth evaluation of Russia’s “anti-gay” propaganda regulation that was handed by the state Duma on 30th June 2013, and the next back-and-forth dialogue that ensued between Russia and the West. I’ll argue that this dialogue constructed clashing identities: a pro-LGBT West versus an anti-LGBT East. When analysing the case research, I’ll initially look at the obscure language used within the propaganda laws itself and clarify how the basically vacuous legalese has enabled the Russian state to show a blind eye to homophobic hate crimes. I’ll then describe a few of the speedy impacts of this laws on the Russian LGBT+ group with shut reference to experiences from the Human Rights Watch. Following on from that, I’ll analyse the responses of the 2 major worldwide audiences that criticised the Russian “anti-gay” laws: the EU and the USA. In doing this I’ll spotlight each what was mentioned and, crucially, what was not mentioned. I’ll then focus on the way through which Russia responded to Western criticism, earlier than inspecting the language that Barack Obama utilized in his handle to European leaders in March 2014 to explain the rift between Russia and the West.

Language, Discourse and Dialogue

It is very important make clear from the outset that language will not be impartial; phrases ought to be regarded as a type of energy (Craith 2007, 5). Realist students have historically neglected the facility of language in worldwide relations within the mistaken perception that it’s of minimal significance vis-à-vis a state’s materials actions (Ibid, 4). In stark distinction, vital constructivists consider that language issues. Language will be utilised by social actors in each a written and a verbal sense, and constructivists are united within the perception that to talk can also be to behave (Epstein 2010, 343). Thus, it’s important to take these kind of acts into consideration when analysing state behaviour. One other core facet of vital constructivism is the concept language and discourse are co-constituted, which signifies that they’re mutually integral to one another’s existence (Holzscheiter 2014, 143). It is rather troublesome to offer a concrete definition that explains exactly what ‘discourse’ is, as it’s an basically contested idea; lecturers have resigned themselves to the truth that there’ll all the time be a number of competing interpretations of what ‘discourse’ is and the way it operates (Ibid, 143). Put merely, discourse will be regarded as an assemblage of overlapping conversations involving a number of audio system, and therefore, the principle query posed by a discursive strategy to finding out IR is: who speaks? (Epstein 2010, 341). Epstein argues that, similar to people, states can and do speak, and that this speaking is a elementary a part of who they’re and the way they act (Ibid, 341). Important constructivists recognise that it’s by way of ongoing modes of communication between states that Transatlantic relations are always being constructed, de-constructed and re-constructed (Diez 2001, 6). Discourses are hardly ever a stage taking part in discipline; sure states occupy privileged positions inside discourses and have their voices amplified on the expense of states that occupy much less privileged positions and due to this fact have their voices silenced (Milliken 1999, 229). An actor’s behaviour can also be “regulated by pre-existing discourses that construction the sector of attainable actions” (Epstein 2010, 343). Thus, states orient themselves in relation to different states by embracing sure discourses and both ignoring or difficult others (Ibid, 343).

Versus a discourse, which frequently entails a number of actors, a back-and-forth dialog between two social actors will be regarded as a ‘dialogue’ (Hutchings 2011, 640). Hutchings means that there are three “threads of that means” at work as regards to ‘dialogue’. The phrase can be utilized to explain: a basic dialog between two actors in which there’s not a lot concern for what’s at stake of their dialogue, a “staged” encounter between two actors that has been “scripted by someone else,” or a negotiation between two actors which can be maybe making an attempt to achieve a consensus (Ibid, 640). Though the 2 phrases aren’t interchangeable, there are a selection of similarities between discourse and dialogue. It goes with out saying that an actor’s use of language is equally as integral to the event of a discourse, as it’s to the event of a dialogue (Holzscheiter 2014, 144). Each discourses and dialogues are formed by totally different contexts, but in addition they have the capability to assemble contexts themselves (Hutchings 2011, 641). Equally, dialogues, similar to discourses, aren’t all the time equal and there are sometimes energy dynamics inside them (Milliken 1999, 229). As there are two actors concerned in a dialogue, binaries will be, and regularly are, constructed inside their interactions (Ibid, 229). These binaries create a relation of energy such that one aspect of the binary is privileged, and the opposite aspect is relegated to an inferior place (Derrida 1981). These energy dynamics can, and do, change over time and are once more depending on context; in different phrases, simply because an actor has a privileged place in a single dialogue doesn’t imply that it’ll essentially maintain a privileged place inside a unique dialogue in a unique context (Milliken 1999, 250). This can be very vital to acknowledge that these energy dynamics are not at all fastened, and that to insinuate that they maintain true no matter context can be an act of mental complacency (Ibid, 249). Hutchings argues that we have to keep away from routinely utilizing “the West/non-West binary as a approach of characterising the individuals in dialogic alternate,” which is an concept that shall be examined once more later throughout the dialogue of the case research (Hutchings 2011, 640). Certainly, the West/non-West binary is a main instance of how discourses and dialogues assemble identities.


Similar to language, the idea of identification is “central to analysis agendas that search to maneuver past rationalist and materialist assumptions of state motion” (Bucher and Jasper 2017, 392).

Though identification scholarship has performed an vital position in difficult the slender rationalist deal with energy and pursuits that was beforehand dominant throughout the IR academy, there are those that criticise identification evaluation due to the “conceptual fuzziness” of the time period (Epstein 2010, 328). However, I’d nonetheless strongly argue that identification is a robust lens by way of which we will view Transatlantic relations. It is important to keep in mind that identities, like discourses, don’t exist in a vacuum and have to be examined in relation to context (Legro 2009, 38). Relying on the context, an actor’s identification can enableor constrain their skill to behave in sure methods (Ibid, 38). Moreover, an actor’s preferences and pursuits are additionally inseparably tied to their identification (Bucher and Jasper 2017, 392). As regards to the worldwide system, discourse can form each a person state’s nationwide identification and collective identities which can be shared by a bunch of states; I’ll handle every of those in flip. Legro proposes that it’s the plasticity of identification throughout the anarchic worldwide system that permits a state’s nationwide identification to vary and never stay fastened (Legro 2009, 37). The important thing query (or the ‘puzzle’) that he identifies is: “when can we count on nationwide identities to be malleable and when will they be comparatively resilient to vary?” (Ibid, 37). His reply to this query is prefaced with the acknowledgement that nationwide identities are troublesome to change as a result of they’re typically internalised, they go unquestioned, and thus they’re typically assumed to be pure, to the extent that any considered another identification would appear outdoors of the realm of risk (Ibid, 44). He subsequently argues {that a} state’s nationwide identification signifies how they understand themselves in relation to the worldwide order, and that this notion is formed by “the dominant guidelines, establishments and norms that characterise the worldwide system” (Ibid, 38). These guidelines and norms typically manifest themselves by way of language and discourse (Holzscheiter 2014, 146). This line of pondering will reappear later once I analyse how and why Russia’s sense of nationwide identification is commonly figured as being in opposition to the established ‘Western’ worldwide order, led by Europe and America.

Collective identities are arguably extra complicated phenomena than nationwide identities as they contain a number of states, are extraordinarily multifaceted, and are always evolving to adapt to the worldwide political atmosphere (Kitchen 2009, 96). Risse advocates the concept collective identities change by way of “reasoned consensus” (Risse 2000, 1). He means that this tends to happen when actors are confronted with new rising guidelines or norms that problem the established order (Ibid, 1). This mechanism can positively be utilized to the EU’s transfer in direction of supporting the burgeoning LGBT rights motion. In 1998 it was declared that the EU would block the accession of any nation that had state insurance policies that infringed upon the rights of lesbians and homosexual males (Ayoub 2016, 26). Then, in 2000, the European Union Constitution of Elementary Rights was formally ratified and included “express non-discrimination protections protecting sexual orientation” (O’Dwyer 2018, 37). This signalled a transparent normative shift through which assist for sexual minorities had grow to be a core aspect of the EU’s identification in addition to its coverage mission (Ibid, 38). The same argument may very well be made for the Transatlantic identification. Kitchen explains that Europe and America share a way of duty in direction of one another that’s premised on a mutual feeling of ‘we-ness’ (Kitchen 2009, 97). An concept of a Transatlantic ‘self’ is constructed after which positioned in relation to ‘others’ which can be excluded from the collective and framed as being totally different (Neumann 1996, 142). Typically these ‘others’ are imagined to be harmful entities that may very well be potential safety threats to the Transatlantic collective ‘self’ (Ibid, 142). The Transatlantic identification has historic roots which were strengthened over a number of many years because the finish of WW2, to the extent that it has endured long gone the tip of the Chilly Struggle when many have been sceptical about its possibilities of survival (Kitchen 2009, 97). There may be positively some fact in the concept shared ‘liberal values’ underpin the Transatlantic group and are the rationale behind its enduring relevance (Moravcsik 2003, 85). States who determine as being part of the Transatlantic group should argue that these ‘liberal values’ matter and that they’re a core facet of the Transatlantic identification, as it’s definitely not a on condition that they are going to be universally embraced (Kitchen 2009, 111). The truth that phrases like ‘freedom,’ ‘liberty’, and ‘democracy’ are sometimes cited as being the premise of the Transatlantic group demonstrates how identities and phrases are interwoven (Moravcsik 2003, 85). As collective identification building is an ongoing course of, language and discourse play a key position as they’ll articulate what the amorphous ‘we-ness’ truly consists of (Mattern 2001, 352). Mattern conceptualises the connection between phrases and identification by way of the concept of a story ‘gun’ (Ibid, 352). She argues that, in concept, states are the authors of their very own identification narratives (Ibid, 352). In apply nevertheless, on the subject of collective identities, it tends to be highly effective states that select the narrative and weaker states that both voluntarily tag alongside behind them or are coerced into doing so. In the same method to how bodily weapons “lure victims with a non-choice between loss of life and compliance,” narrative ‘weapons’ can be utilized by actors to powerfully assert their identification claims and drive any potential dissenters into complying with the ‘we’ (Ibid, 352). The ‘Chilly Struggle’ is an instance of a story gun that has been utilised by each the USSR/Russia and the West to bolster their respective collective identities (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay 2014, 107). Though it may be tempting to classify all disagreements between Russia, Europe and America as being paying homage to the ‘Chilly Struggle,’ I’ll chorus from doing so within the context of this essay as a result of there may be not sufficient proof of escalated tensions to justify the label.

Case Research: The 2013-14 LGBT Rights Dialogue between Russia and the West

LGBT rights discourses have been persistently neglected by the tutorial literature on the Transatlantic safety relationship. When assessing vital safety threats to Europe and America, students have sometimes been responsible of conflating state safety with human safety and making the implicit assumption that if a state is deemed to be safe then all of their residents are safe as effectively (Hoogensen and Rottem 2004, 156). Marginalised teams, just like the LGBT group, are arguably the most probably to expertise insecurity throughout the societies through which they dwell (Slootmaeckers, Touquet and Vermeersch 2016, 1). Thus, this can be very vital to convey LGBT identities out of the margins of educational scholarship and place them on the forefront of the evaluation, to clarify how their experiences slot in with the larger image.

Earlier than I look at the current LGBT rights dialogue between Russia and the West, for the needs of contextualisation, I’ll briefly define how the laws relating to Russia’s LGBT inhabitants has modified over time. From 1933, gay relations between two males have been criminalised within the USSR, as stipulated by article 121 of the Felony Code of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (Verpoest 2017, 10). Historians usually agree that there was a prevailing perception throughout the USSR that homosexuality was each a psychological dysfunction and “a product of the bourgeois way of life” (Kon 2010, 17). The regulation criminalising homosexuality was abolished in April 1993 after the collapse of the USSR, though males who have been imprisoned below the earlier laws weren’t launched (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay 2014, 99). Additional authorized safety for the LGBT group was not forthcoming within the new post-Soviet period, and lingering hostile attitudes in direction of homosexuality nonetheless remained pervasive (Ibid, 100). Certainly, Verpoest argues that all through the Nineties and 2000s homosexuality was nonetheless seen as “one thing perverted and overseas” in Russia as a result of “low visibility of homosexuality” in Russian society (Verpoest 2017, 11). It is very important make clear that the ‘anti-gay’ propaganda regulation that prompted such a excessive diploma of worldwide consternation didn’t seem out of nowhere; comparable laws had already been handed by regional and metropolis stage legislatures in St Petersburg, Archangelsk, Ryazan, and Kostroma from 2003 onwards (De Kerf 2017, 36). Furthermore, the Russian state truly handed a number of legal guidelines that infringed upon the rights of LGBT folks in 2012-13 apart from the propaganda regulation (Verpoest 2017, 9). A 100 12 months ban on the organisation of homosexual pleasure marches was enacted by Moscow courts in June 2012, after years of them being forcibly cancelled or suppressed by the police (Ibid, 9). Legal guidelines have been additionally handed that forbid Russian same-sex {couples} from adopting kids and overseas same-sex {couples} from adopting Russian kids (Mortensen 2016, 350). It’s also vital to acknowledge that solely a small minority of the Russian folks seem to have been in opposition to those legal guidelines after they have been launched; a June 2013 ballot carried out by VTsIOM (the Russian Public Opinion Analysis Centre) indicated that 88% of Russian residents supported the brand new laws (Verpoest 2017, 9). However, the legal guidelines sparked a world outcry with American and European media shops branding them homophobic and giving them the ‘anti-gay’ label (De Kerf 2017, 36). This label later grew to become inextricably tied to the propaganda regulation within the ensuing discourse, which additional exemplifies the facility of language and phrases (Ibid, 36).

Scrutinising Russia’s “anti-gay” propaganda regulation

At first look, the language used within the official authorized documentation is perplexing due to how obscure it’s (Mortensen 2016, 368). The regulation prohibits the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to these below the age of 18, punishable by a high quality of as much as 1,000,000 rubles if transgressed (Verpoest 2017, 11). I consider that this phrasing was not unintended; it was a strategic, intentional and deliberate alternative of phrases. What precisely does the phrase ‘propaganda’ imply on this context? To cite an English translation of Article 6.2 of the Russian Federation’s Code on Administrative Offences:

Propaganda is the act of distributing info amongst minors that 1) is aimed on the creation of non-traditional sexual attitudes, 2) makes non-traditional sexual relations enticing, 3) equates the social worth of conventional and non-traditional sexual relations, or 4) creates an curiosity in non-traditional sexual relations.

(Verpoest 2017, 11)

I’d argue that this definition supplies little or no clarification over what the regulation does and doesn’t classify as ‘propaganda’. Waving a rainbow pleasure flag, holding arms with a member of the identical intercourse in public, screening movies that cowl LGBT themes and speaking brazenly about LGBT points may all technically be classed as a violation of the regulation (Mortensen 2016, 365). Moreover, the utilization of the time period ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ as an alternative of ‘homosexuality’ is fascinating as a result of it enhances the notion that “LGBT people are outlined by way of negation […] as one thing finest to not point out out loud or in official paperwork” (Ibid, 366).

The truth that the terminology is so open to interpretation grants a big quantity of discretion to policemen and judges to implement the regulation how they need, which is clearly an alarming prospect (Ibid, 365). One other issue to contemplate is that the Russian administration possible opted for obscure language to keep away from straight undermining the European Conference on Human Rights (ECHR). The Russian state has ratified the ECHR and is anticipated to uphold its core ideas, certainly one of which is to respect the rights of minority teams to precise themselves with out worry of prejudice or discrimination (De Kerf 2017, 36). The anti-propaganda regulation doesn’t blatantly violate the ECHR to the identical extent {that a} Russian re-criminalisation of homosexuality would have finished, hypothetically talking (Ibid, 40). It’s notably extra delicate. This has enabled Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to defend the laws and unfold the message that Russia does respect the rights of LGBT folks, on the situation that they don’t promote their way of life or publicly transgress societal norms (Wilkinson 2013, 5).

What was the speedy affect of the regulation on the lives of Russian LGBT people? Was there something for the worldwide group to be involved about? Though there isn’t any direct proof to counsel that the regulation itself prompted homophobic hostility in Russia to extend, there was a substantial quantity of harmful rhetoric already being espoused by anti-LGBT hate teams (Feyh 2014, 103). Neo-nazi organisations just like the ‘Nationwide Socialist Group 88’ and the ‘Moskovsky Pores and skin Legion’ allegedly claimed that the summer season of 2013 can be a gay “looking season” (Ibid, 104). Different vigilante teams kidnapped homosexual males and teenage boys by focusing on them on-line, luring them on the pretext of a faux date, after which continuing to abuse and humiliate them (Human Rights Watch 2014). A whole bunch of video recordings of those harrowing encounters have been posted on-line, and present victims being bodily attacked, compelled to drink urine, and stripped bare in opposition to their will so homophobic slurs may very well be spray painted onto their our bodies (Ibid). In a 2014 interview, Russian LGBT activist Igor Iasine argued that anti-LGBT hate teams noticed the propaganda regulation as an indication that the federal government formally supported homophobia, and as such they have been inspired to proceed to terrorise LGBT folks (Feyh 2014, 104). Police have been apparently reluctant to analyze these hate crimes, and the victims themselves have been typically blamed for the assaults while the perpetrators evaded punishment (Human Rights Watch 2014). Moreover, the authorities weren’t afraid to place their homosexual propaganda regulation into motion; only a few weeks after the regulation was handed, Kirill Kalugin was arrested for waving a rainbow flag in Moscow’s Crimson Sq. (Verpoest 2017, 12). Not lengthy after, the Deti 404 web site, which housed a web-based assist group for LGBT kids, was completely blocked and its founder, Yelena Klimova, was fined 50,000 rubles for “distributing homosexual propaganda” (Tetrault Farber 2014).

The Western response

Curiously, it was celebrities who have been initially essentially the most outspoken of their criticism of Russia, as world leaders took some time to formulate essentially the most acceptable diplomatic response (Arana 2013). In August 2013, David Cameron, then the UK Prime Minister, agreed to have interaction with the well-known comic and actor Stephen Fry, who was a vocal critic of Russia’s ‘anti-gay’ propaganda regulation (Mason 2013). Fry known as for a British boycott of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic Video games as a method of protest, nevertheless Cameron dismissed this suggestion by asserting that attending the Video games can be a “higher approach of difficult prejudice” (Ibid). He subsequently vowed that he would “problem” Putin throughout the G20 summit that was scheduled to happen a number of weeks later (Luhn 2013). Nonetheless, considerably disappointingly, a extra thorough condemnation of the Russian ‘anti-gay’ propaganda regulation was to not be forthcoming from Cameron; when questioned on the topic he as an alternative regularly resorted to the utilization of obscure language that promised motion however lacked conviction (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay 2014, 97). President Barack Obama, then again, was marginally extra prepared to take part within the LGBT rights discourse and make substantive vital remarks. Though each him and Cameron refused to entertain the prospect of a boycott, Obama made an announcement by appointing Billie Jean King, an out and proud lesbian, to the US Winter Olympic delegation (Liptak 2013). Extra notably, throughout an interview with American tv character Jay Leno, Obama proclaimed that America ought to have “no endurance for international locations that attempt to deal with gays or lesbians or transgender individuals in ways in which intimidate them or are dangerous to them” (Politico 2013). Obama’s intelligent alternative of phrases on this occasion enabled him to not directly denounce Russian homophobic discrimination with out explicitly mentioning Russia. I feel that this remark epitomises the primary section of the LGBT rights dialogue between the Transatlantic alliance and Russia within the aftermath of the passage of the ‘anti-gay’ propaganda regulation. It’s simply as vital to replicate on what was not mentioned in addition to what was mentioned, and with that in thoughts, it’s clear that each the UK and America have been reluctant to decide to highly effective speech acts that explicitly and forcefully condemned Russia for violating the rights of their LGBT residents.

The Russian response

Russia’s multi-layered response to the primary wave of Western criticism will be organised into two major strands: certainly one of defence and certainly one of counterattack. Putin steadfastly denied any insinuation that Russia’s LGBT inhabitants have been experiencing stigma, harassment and violence, claiming that “we’ve completely regular relations [with the LGBT community] and I don’t see something out of the atypical right here” (Luhn 2013). Putin was additionally persistently adamant in his defence of the laws and made a number of makes an attempt to clarify the logic behind its introduction to the Western media (Mortensen 2016, 352). In an interview with the German nationwide broadcaster, Putin responded to the calls to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics by explaining:

We’ve handed a regulation in keeping with which propaganda amongst minors is prohibited. However I’ll say this once more: each in your nation, in all European international locations, and in Russia, there’s a huge downside with the inhabitants. The demographic downside is that the delivery price is low. The Europeans have gotten extinct, do you perceive this or not? And same-sex unions don’t produce kids.

(Ibid, 352)

The language getting used on this reply was intentionally making an attempt to rewrite the favored Western narrative that Russia was a ‘homophobic’ state. Putin is arguing that the regulation was not borne out of anti-LGBT sentiment, however relatively a recognition that falling delivery charges in Russia have been a matter of vital concern that wanted to be addressed (Mole 2018, 1). He frames this argument in a fashion that constructs declining delivery charges as a mutual dilemma that Russia and Europe shared; in all probability in an try to make the propaganda regulation appear extra palatable to Western audiences. Demographic issues have been definitely a much less abhorrent clarification than these provided by different Russian politicians, a few of whom recommended that the propaganda regulation would shield kids from paedophilia and scale back the variety of incidences of kid abuse (Mortensen 2016, 364).

The counterattack strand of this section of the dialogue is the place we see the emergence of the clashing West versus East identities being constructed. In his 2013 finish of 12 months Presidential handle, Putin alluded to Western criticism of the propaganda regulation earlier than saying:

We all know that on the earth, an increasing number of folks assist our place on upholding conventional values, which for millennia have been the religious and ethical foundation of civilization, and each nation: the standard household values, true human life, together with non secular life, a life not solely of fabric but additionally religious values of humanity and variety of the world.

(Verpoest 2017, 10)

Right here Putin is justifying the regulation on the grounds that it reinforces the significance of “conventional household values.” Slootmaeckers, Touquet and Vermeersch cite this for instance of Russia positioning itself aside from the West and “offering another political and cultural mannequin that […] promotes ‘genuine’ nationwide cultures, while concurrently resisting democratic and ‘fashionable’ values imposed from overseas” (Slootmaeckers, Touquet and Vermeersch 2016, 3). It positively seems that Russia made a acutely aware resolution to assemble itself because the worldwide flag-bearer for the preservation of conventional values amid the worldwide rise in acceptance of ‘non-traditional’ values (Ibid, 3). This resolution was made blindingly obvious when the Russian Overseas Ministry printed its “Report on the Human Rights State of affairs within the European Union” in January 2014, which closely criticised the EU’s “aggressive” marketing campaign to ahead the rights of sexual minorities throughout Europe (Mortensen 2016, 357). Maybe irked by the EU’s deliberate investigation into LGBT rights abuses in Russia, the Russian Overseas Ministry evidently felt compelled to retaliate in variety (EURACTIV 2014). The report states that:

the European Union and its Member States contemplate, as certainly one of their priorities, the dissemination of their neo-liberal values as a common way of life for all different members of the worldwide group. That is notably evident of their aggressive promotion of the sexual minorities’ rights. Makes an attempt have been made to implement on different international locations an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and a few form of a pure social phenomenon that deserves assist on the state stage.

(Ministry of Overseas Affairs of the Russian Federation 2014, 7-8)

Paradoxically, in refuting Western allegations of homophobic discrimination, Russia proved that these allegations have been justified, as they asserted that the LGBT group will not be deserving of the identical rights and state safety afforded to the heterosexual inhabitants. Thus, by early 2014 it was apparent that Russia had deserted any try at pro-Western rhetoric and was as an alternative decided to determine its personal norms and values system, in opposition to the EU and America (Verpoest 2017, 10).

Obama’s response

America’s reply to those verbal counterattacks from Russia strengthened the East/West identification divide. In March 2014, Obama gave a speech on the Palais Des Beaux-Arts in Brussels following talks with EU and NATO leaders on how finest to react to the Russian annexation of Crimea (CNN 2014). The significance of the political context can’t be overstated as it’s possible that the Crimea disaster compelled the West to talk out in opposition to Russia’s actions with better conviction than earlier than, which thereby prompted a consolidation of the pro-LGBT ‘Western’ identification (Verpoest 2017, 4). Throughout his speech, Obama took the chance to repeat his earlier condemnation of the ‘anti-gay’ propaganda regulation, however this time he elaborated on his criticisms in a lot better element, in mild of Russia’s steady refusal to simply accept that they have been violating the rights of their LGBT residents (The Washington Submit 2014). He proclaimed that:

Western beliefs and values of openness and tolerance will endure long gone repression. As an alternative of focusing on our homosexual and lesbian brothers and sisters, we will use our legal guidelines to guard their rights. As an alternative of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we will affirm the aspirations that we maintain in widespread. That’s what is going to make America sturdy. That’s what is going to make Europe sturdy. That’s what makes us who we’re.

(Obama 2014)

That is an especially highly effective speech act for quite a few causes. Firstly, he classifies the values of openness and tolerance as being distinctly ‘Western’ in character, thereby tying them to the Transatlantic collective identification. By way of this he implies that Russia may by no means outline itself as a nation that upholds these values. Secondly, Obama’s use of language latches onto the ‘West versus East’ narrative that Russia had beforehand constructed, however he inverts the roles being performed by the 2 sides. The Russian Overseas Ministry report portrayed the West as being the “aggressors” of their mission to problem nations who fail to assist LGBT rights, while concurrently portraying Russia as an admirable defender of “conventional household values” (O’Dwyer 2018, 228). As an alternative, Obama characterises Russia because the aggressor who’s “focusing on” the LGBT group and frames Europe and America as being the protectors of LGBT rights. Lastly, the phrase “that’s what makes us who we’re” is designed to stress each that the Transatlantic alliance stands united in its assist for LGBT rights, and that supporting LGBT rights has grow to be a vital a part of the Transatlantic identification. This hyperlinks again to Kitchen’s evaluation of ‘we-ness’ and the concept language is an efficient device for developing points that may then be reified inside discourse as being integral to the Transatlantic group (Kitchen 2009, 111).

Subsequently, in conclusion, it’s undoubtedly vital to contemplate language when analysing Transatlantic relations between Europe and America. Furthermore, inserting language on the forefront of the evaluation may also reveal fascinating insights into how Europe and America work together with Russia, as I’ve demonstrated. It seems that the ‘West versus East’ identities inside LGBT rights discourse have been constructed and strengthened by each Russia and America throughout their dialogic alternate. Though this binary arguably paints too simplistic an image, it’s positively true to say that the Transatlantic alliance has included the safety of LGBT rights into its political identification, and that Russia, in stark distinction, has not (O’Dwyer 2018, 38). These clashing identities got here to the fore once more when, in June 2017, the European Court docket of Human Rights dominated that the ‘anti-gay’ propaganda regulation discriminated in opposition to homosexual folks and incentivised homophobia (Reilhac and Osborn 2017). Russia disputed the decision, and the regulation has not been repealed or amended, as of July 2021 (The Moscow Occasions 2021). Thus, it is very important acknowledge that the dialogue between Russia and the West relating to LGBT rights will not be restricted to the snapshot that I’ve analysed. It’s an alternate that can hopefully proceed to evolve over time.


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