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Ma Lettre ouverte à Wladimir Poutine (en anglais)

Mr President,
Between the tax haven you granted Gérard Depardieu and the political asylum you granted Edward Snowden, you are in the limelight as well in France as in the rest of the world: how generous you are, ready to shelter the widow and the orphan under your protective wing !
Forgive me if I spoil this gentle and kind atmosphere by reminding you of a law voted by you or-please forgive me-by the Russian Members of Parliament in June which in a very foggy way declares that  propaganda for " non traditional sexual relationships " should be prohibited before minors and punished should they take place.
Thanks to this non-defined notion of propaganda, this regulation allows all LGBT issues to be forbidden, since any kind of information can be regarded as propaganda! Discuss suicide prevention for young homosexuals ? No.
Discuss about accepting differences ? No. Discuss about not feeling happy ? No..Discuss homophobic violence ? No..Discuss about rights , equality,marriage and visibility of LGBT rights: no, no,no and no.
Mr President, this law -apart from the fact that it is damaging to your image of "protector of the weak and vulnerable" is a mistake. A gross mistake. A historical and dramatic mistake. But one thing good about mistakes is that they can be corrected.
While I am challenging this State Homophobia, you could answer that this law portrays the opinion of the majority of your population, which seems to be homophobic and that anyway it is none of my business since I am just a  French citizen.
On one hand , I could only agree with you, concerning the issue of public opinion in your country. The last polls I have seen show that 34 % of the people surveyed think that homosexuality is a disease, another 23 % think it is a perversion, 49 % would like homosexuals to be treated by physicians or psychiatrists, 16 % think they should be isolated, and 5 % actually think one should just "liquidate"them. I went myself to the first Gay Pride in 2006 in Moscow and I could not help noticing the violence of extremist little groups but also of the ordinary people passing by.
But facing this situation, you , as a Head of State, don't you think you should try to make society change instead of letting it stagnate in certainties which are more based on ignorance than on rational opinions ?
There is no doubt that prejudice and discrimination are born from ignorance. What is needed  is an ambitious education policy based on knowledge and not indoctrination, on getting to know others instead of rejecting them systematically. But this does not even enter your mind since you allow all these little groups to express their hatred towards people whom you consider to be subhuman and even criminal.
You could also answer that this law is part of Russian internal affairs. To that I can only answer that many people agree with you: as soon as one speaks about Russia, this great economic power with so many natural resources, everybody becomes silent; some voices, which usually speak up loudly suddenly become hushed when the file on Russia is opened. Apparently it' s the Russian climate which extinguishes voices !
But all these people are wrong and so are you. Wrong, because the Federation of Russia is part of the Council of Europe, which as you might recall , is an organization aiming at defending Human Rights, democracy and constitutional states. These are important issues which emerge in the Federation of Russia, condemned many times for not respecting them.Today, the Council of Europe should fearlessly pronounce itself. It is not even a question of legitimacy but of survival. Because we clearly see what you are aiming at.
Mr President, you are challenging the democrats, not only the societies defending LGBT rights, but every single one of us, the humanistic values we defend, a political regime which is considered as weak by some , but which is the only one that really works: democracy.
You force us to make a choice: give up and accept that our values are nothing more than a lot of words and just bits of valueless papers or defend these values with all our strength concretely and obstinately. We cannot remain neutral because this non-choice would simply mean that we disown ourselves.
We must make you relent. We must make you change your course of action because it is not possible to imagine that the Olympic Games 2014 should take place in a country that does not respect Human Rights.
Heads of State like President Obama are already speaking up. The IOC will have to also speak up and not just utter vague humanist declarations.
Mr President, it is only honorable for heads of states to recognize their mistakes . You still can take another course than the homophobic one you are taking right now. You, so proud of your country and its great history, don' t become the head of state who will let Russia return into the dark ages of totalitarian and freedom-destroying countries.
Mr President, please receive the greetings of a fervent activist.

Jean-Luc Romero
Counselor of the Ile-de-France region.

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