How Can We Stop a Modern-Day Russian Adolf Hitler?

Image“Participation in these games must not be construed to be an endorsement of the policies and practices of the Russian government,” said a leader of the American Olympic Committee and the anti-boycott forces. “Measures have been adopted to ensure that there will be no violation of the fundamental principles of fair play and sportsmanship, or the Olympic standards of freedom and equality to all,” he added.

“There was some talk about the Olympics being boycotted because of what Putin was doing to the gay people in Russia,” said one athlete. “But it was never discussed amongst the team members. We aren’t interested in politics, you see, at all. We are interested in going and winning.”

We’ve all heard the quotes, right? There are reports of Russia beating up LGBT people—bad—and enacting percussion around them, stripping them of rights and sending them to detention camps. Now the Olympic Games are scheduled to take place in Russia next winter. What to do, what to do? Boycott the games? Boycott vodka?

What is going on now is not unprecedented. In fact, the quotes above are not about Russia at all; they are real quotes, but they were doctored slightly. I changed a few words. “Russian” and “Russia” should say “German” and “Germany.”

As in Nazi.

Here are the 2013 statements: “As a sporting organization, what we can do is to continue to work to ensure that the Games can take place without discrimination against athletes, officials, spectators and the media,’ the IOC said in a statement. “To that end, the IOC has received assurances from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.”

“The Olympics are not a political statement, they are a place to let the world shine in peace and let them marvel at their youthful talents… I respect the LGBT community full heartedly, but I implore the world not to boycott the Olympic Games because of Russia’s stance on LGBT rights or lack thereof. I beg the gay athletes not to forget their missions and fight for a chance to dazzle the world.” (Johnny Weir)

Those statements are about Russia now. See any difference? I don’t. Neither does playwright Harvey Fierstein, who said in a recent Op Ed piece, “Mr. Putin’s campaign against lesbian, gay and bisexual people is one of distraction, a strategy of demonizing a minority for political gain taken straight from the Nazi playbook.”

Harvey is dead on. Putin has been crafting a strategy for years and it parallels the strategy laid out by a man named Joseph Goebbels, the architect of the “Nazi playbook.”

It makes sense, in a horrible, immoral, horrific life-disillusioning way. It is a tale of a former superpower trying to emerge from its own devastation. Russia faces the world as a shell of what it once was. Its people are angry; its economy is in shambles.

In The Face of the Third Reich,by Joachim C. Fest , Goebbels’s contribution is described. “For Hitler’s sombre, complex-determined visions, his initiative, ecstatic relationship with the masses, Goebbels found the techniques of persuasion, the rationalizations, the slogans, myths and images. It was from Goebbels that der Führer, the term by which Hitler appeared as redeemer, demiurge and blessed saviour, received its visionary content. He astutely turned the initially irresolute Adolf Hitler into der Führer and set him on the pillar of religious veneration. With strenuous Byzantinism, consciously mingling the sacred with the profane, he spread around Hitler that messianic aura which so appealed to the emotions of a deeply shaken nation.”

Putin has been putting the same techniques into action. Before 2008, an organization called Nashi was organized. It was a youth-oriented, pro-Kremlin group meant to go up against street forces who opposed Putin. Nashi based much of their own internal directives on plagiarized writings by Goebbels. The practices are documented in the film Putin’s Kiss. Helle Faber, the producer, stated, “It was shocking for us to realise that this organisation was actually established in Russia . . . we were shocked about the undemocratic methods they used and we were shocked that this was actually going in on 2008, 2009, when we started doing the film. I think that we really have to be aware of organisations like that, because in my opinion it’s just like the Hitlerjugend in the ‘30s. I thought that the world had become wiser, but we obviously haven’t. So I think it’s very important to put the focus on an issue like this.” Nashi became a political organization in 2013 and now operates under the party name of “SMART Russia.”

So, is Putin on his way to becoming our generation’s Adolf Hitler? He is behaving that way, and his actions mirror those of the Nazis as described by the site Yad Vashem, “Nazi anti-Jewish policy functioned on two primary levels: legal measures to expel the Jews from society and strip them of their rights and property while simultaneously engaging in campaigns of incitement, abuse, terror and violence of varying proportions. There was one goal: to make the Jews leave Germany.”

As a gay dad, I was terrified and sickened to read further in Fierstein’s piece: “it is rumored that Mr. Putin is about to sign an edict that would remove children from their own families if the parents are either gay or lesbian or suspected of being gay or lesbian. The police would have the authority to remove children from adoptive homes as well as from their own biological parents.”

Unlike those in the United States who continue to leverage homophobia for political gain, Putin has but one single point of leverage: The majority of his people are anti-gay. For America, the momentum has shifted toward an LGBT-affirming majority, and although homophobic leveraging has not by any stretch been eradicated, it continues to diminish. This shift can be attributed to the tireless work of LGBT advocates and allies, to educate and inform those whose ignorance make them easy prey for inciting bigotry and hate. Sharing real people with real stories has helped all Americans to begin to see that indeed we are all the same: Love is love, and families are made from love.

In my opinion, that is what we must try to do for Russia. Through information and education, the same methods used for decades in the West, we need to fight homophobia at the core in which it thrives: ignorance.

Here are some strategies I would suggest implementing:

  • Don’t boycott the games—“gay” them up. Ask for all nations supporting marriage equality to carry the rainbow flag with their nations flag. Ask all athletes with LGBT friends, family, or relations to come out and wear a flag, and, most importantly, tell their stories.
  • Don’t boycott vodka, but give the suppliers the chance to run LGBT education programs in Russia. Give them the chance to educate their public and put their money where their mouth is; if they do, buy more vodka.
  • Cull the genius brainpower from Facebook pages like Wipe Out Homophobia, Gay Marriage USA and The Equality Mantra, and formulate ways to distribute the LGBT love and family stories in Russian to Russia, to reach an unaware populace.
  • Restrict the travel privileges of Russian government officials and business people to the West. The LGBT groups in Russia are asking for this, and we should respond.
  • Contact all the U.S. businesses doing commerce in Russia. We need to stop doing business with these entities as well if they do not include LGBT education with their capitalism.
  • President Obama and Secretary John Kerry must be our mouthpieces. They need not only to condemn the actions in Russia, they need to use their bully pulpits to educate.

Hatred and fear are formidable political action motivators. Truth and love are their adversaries, and equally effective, as the past several years of advocacy in America have begun to demonstrate in concrete results. We need the Russian people to know us. They need to see the gay dads and lesbian moms who have nurtured children, many saved from horrible lives in foster care. They need to see our love stories. They need to understand our humanity.

World War II ended with an atomic bomb. We need to change Russian hearts and minds with an atomic bomb of love, truth, and education.

Let’s drop an LGBT truth nuke on Putin’s ass.

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 Follow us on Twitter @JandJDad

Special thanks to Rachel Hockett for editing help on this article.

About robw77

A single gay dad who cares. His story can be read here: and here:
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33 Responses to How Can We Stop a Modern-Day Russian Adolf Hitler?

  1. Pingback: How Do We Stop a Modern Day Hitler? Commentary on Putin and his Nazi parallels | Kinkementary Sex |

  2. Pingback: A Gay Dad’s Open Letter to the International Olympic Committee: Move the Damned Games Already | evoL =

  3. Jerry says:

    I too well remember what it was like growing up gay in the 1950’s-1960’s South. It only took two people to file a complaint and off to the institution where “cures” ranged from electroshock, lobotomies and isolation. There is nothing worse than a Government selecting a category of citizen for extermination. In the past week, I have seen seven reports of people being brutalized, beaten and killed because someone or another thought the individual was gay…two of the reports specified the attackers were State Police. Hold the games in Russia, spend your gazillion dollars to strengthen Putin’s Treasury and then view the aftermath. There is nothing good to come from this.

  4. Pingback: Do you think the Olympic sponsors would get message if enough people shared this photo? | It Is What It Is

  5. casey says:

    2 men raised a gloved fist to make a point when Hitler himself was in control of the Olympic games and won support from around the world. All gay athletes should be ready to show their solidarity in the same fashion. a bracelet, an arm band, a stocking cap, a pin. Show you support your fellow athletes fly a rainbow from the winners circle. Bravery hell yeah, but earth changing moves are like that. They are there to win medals but they all want immortal fame too.

  6. Gregg Davis says:

    The IOC appears to be taking the same route it did in the 1930’s. There will be no showing support for LGBT in these games, either by countries as a whole or by individual athletes. If anything Putin is being more uncompromising than Hitler was. And the reasons are obvious. In the 1930’s Germany was still very weak, despite the bombastic militaristic face it showed the world/ It couldn’t afford to turn the world against it completely yet. Putin, on the other hand, rules a country that, poor as it is at the moment, has vast energy reserves and nuclear weapons. Hitler worried about French troops marching into the Rhineland and his government collapsing overnight. Putin has no such fears. It looks like a boycott is really the only decent option.

  7. I guess, you don’t know who Hitler was. And you don’t know who Putin is. If you knew it, you wouldn’t name Putin “modern Hitler”. For example, in modern Russia Jews have everything they want. It is the best period of Russian history for them.

    • Warren Bloom says:

      You’re missing the point. Hitler was a dictator bent on genocide; Putin is a dictator bent on genocide. Therefore, for the purposes of this conversation, Hilter = Putin.

      • Genocide – is a depopulation of a nation. Hitler tried to exterminate Jews because of his racial theory. Putin doesn’t try to exterminate smb.

        • Paulo says:

          Are you so blind that you refuse to see? Or is it just that you have such low regards for gay people that you don’t even see the parallel (perhaps parallel is too much for you)

          • I just form my opinion about this issue basing not on propaganda, but on the real life in Russia.

            And what is interesting. Why are western Mass media so angry only about Russia? Why don’t they cry about human’s rights in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar? May be because Saudi Arabia is an ally? And Russia is not?

  8. Maila says:

    Miss Universe 2013 will also be held in Russia in November. I wonder, with all the gay people that’s involved in the pageant ( staff, pageant fans, friends and families of the contestants), how will the Russian government assure their safety? Does Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe Organization, have any concern about this at all?

    • robw77 says:

      Good points. There is also another worldwide athletic event in Moscow. These are all flying under the radar.

  9. Michael says:

    I’d like to weigh in on this just a little. Having been to Russia and experienced the governmental climate there, violence toward members of the LGBT community is primarily conducted by fellow citizens, not the police. While in Russia, Moscow Pride had just begun and the government actually had police barricade the street so that LGBT members could protest safely without fear from the mobs of citizens protesting Pride. It was actually the government providing the very basic rights of safety and freedom of speech to the LGBT community. Now, I will admit, there is no movement to change legislation to allow same-sex marriage since homosexuality was only decriminalized in the 1990s, in our very lifetime. Having been to both countries and seeing how both countries use propaganda to continue a Cold War mentality, I now trust very little about what I hear regarding our two countries political events and relations. Yes, Putin is a very powerful man and is essentially the dictator of the Russian Federation (not in title but in general support), but I think the government understands that the vast majority of people in Russia do not support the LGBT community, forcing legislation against the majorities belief may result in more death or suppression than what is currently present in the country. Is that fair? Of course not. But it may be the safest option since members of the LGBT community are being attacked like Americans were in Stonewall (except Russians are being beaten by their own countrymen). It hard to grasp since in America, a sweeping majority cares very little if gays are given the right to marry as they see it doesn’t concern their daily welfare, but our government has made great efforts to overrule the people. Its odd to see the Russia is practicing more democracy on this matter than America. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the propaganda between each country is neither right nor wrong.

    • robw77 says:

      Thanks for the discussion Michael. The observation from the article is that yes, the main problem in Russia is an anti-gay population, and that fuels Putin’s ability to exploit this issue. the other point is that the abuse of the LGBT community is being done by a public and permitted by the government in far too an orchestrated fashion. Putin has much more influence on the grass roots level, and things are far too “coincidental”. Bottom line— it is rolling out the same way Nazi holds in Europe did, and it must be stopped. Appreciated your input.

  10. cheshire cat says:

    how preposterous to suggest gaying up the games and wearing badges. Do not play into stereotyping. Do you not know where the triangle symbol came from? A rainbow flag has no legitimacy beside a country flag. Do not be so vain and tunnel visioned that you cannot see that the subject is oppression and not just LGBT.

    Go. Win. Come Home. Ignore.

    • robw77 says:

      Thanks for your comments, although I do not understand the points you are trying to make. Identifying as LGBT, and LGBT friends and family is not “playing into stereotyping”. The fact that the pink triangle came from the Nazis is a non-sequiter. The travesties in Russia are 100% around persecution of LGBT — so I cannot imagine why you think that is “vain and tunnel visioned”. If you would like to share other oppression being conducted , please do so, but your callousness over LGBT issues is pretty evident and the “Go.Win.Come Home. Ignore.” could be followed with “Do exactly what Putin wants.” Thanks for joining the discussion.

    • Jerry says:

      The Rainbow Flag was first used by Jesse Jackson as a banner for his Rainbow Coalition…
      The inverted pink triangle was used by the Germans to mark the homosexuals in their path…

  11. Those who do not learn from history will repeat it and this is what happened when the International Olympic Committee agreed to allow the Olympics to happen in Nazi Germany
    Deciding Whether to Boycott

    Soon after Hitler took power in 1933, observers in the United States and other western democracies questioned the morality of supporting Olympic Games hosted by the Nazi regime. Responding to reports of the persecution of Jewish athletes in 1933, Avery Brundage, president of the American Olympic Committee, stated: “The very foundation of the modern Olympic revival will be undermined if individual countries are allowed to restrict participation by reason of class, creed, or race.” Brundage, like many others in the Olympics movement, initially considered moving the Games from Germany. After a brief and tightly managed inspection of German sports facilities in 1934, Brundage stated publicly that Jewish athletes were being treated fairly and that the Games should go on, as planned.

    Debate over participation in the 1936 Olympics was greatest in the United States, which traditionally sent one of the largest teams to the Games. By the end of 1934, the lines on both sides were clearly drawn. Brundage opposed a boycott, arguing that politics had no place in sport. “The Olympic Games belong to the athletes and not to the politicians.” He wrote in the AOC’s pamphlet Fair Play for American Athletes that American athletes should not become involved in “the present Jew-Nazi altercation.” As the Olympics controversy heated up in 1935, Brundage alleged the existence of a “Jewish-Communist conspiracy” to keep the United States out of the Games.

    Brundage’s rival, Judge Jeremiah Mahoney, president of the Amateur Athletic Union, pointed out that Germany had broken Olympic rules forbidding discrimination based on race and religion. In his view, participation would mean an endorsement of Hitler’s Reich.

    Judge Mahoney was one of a number of Catholic leaders supporting a boycott. Al Smith, governor of New York, and James Curley, governor of Massachusetts, also opposed sending a team to Berlin. The Catholic journal The Commonweal (November 8, 1935) advised boycotting an Olympics that would “set the seal of approval upon the radically anti-Christian Nazi doctrine of youth.”

    Beginning in 1933, the American Jewish Congress and the Jewish Labor Committee, joined by the non-sectarian Anti-Nazi League, staged mass rallies to protest Nazi persecution of Jews, political opponents, and others. These groups supported the boycott of the 1936 Games as part of a general boycott of German goods. Other Jewish groups, such as the American Jewish Committee and B’nai B’rith, did not formally support a boycott, in part because they feared that such a posture might trigger an antisemitic backlash in both the United States and Germany.

    Individual Jewish athletes made their own decisions. For example, Milton Green, captain of the Harvard University track team, took first place in the 110-meter high hurdles in regional pre-Olympic trials. His teammate, Norman Cahners, also Jewish, qualified for the final Olympics trials as well. Both chose to boycott the national Olympic trials.

    Many of the liberal and left-wing political groups that denounced Hitler’s fascist dictatorship linked their opposition to the Berlin Olympics with the wider economic boycott of Germany.
    IOC Accepts No Dissent

    “Neither Americans nor the representatives of other countries can take part in the Games in Nazi Germany without at least acquiescing in the contempt of the Nazis for fair play and their sordid exploitation of the Games.” — Ernest Lee Jahncke, American member of the IOC, in a letter to Count Henri Baillet-Latour, President IOC, November 25, 1935

    Ernest Lee Jahncke, a former assistant secretary of the Navy, of German Protestant descent, was expelled from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in July 1936 after taking a strong public stand against the Berlin Games. The IOC pointedly elected Avery Brundage to fill Jahncke’s seat. Jahncke is the only member in the 100-year history of the IOC to be ejected.

    America Decides to Go

    On December 8, 1935, the Amateur Athletic Union defeated the proposal to boycott the Olympics by two-and-a-half votes. Avery Brundage maneuvered the vote to achieve a victory.

    At no time did President Franklin D. Roosevelt become involved in the boycott issue, despite warnings from high-level American diplomats regarding Nazi exploitation of the Olympics for propaganda. Roosevelt continued a 40-year tradition in which the American Olympic Committee operated independently of outside influence.

    Once the Amateur Athletic Union of the United States voted for participation in December 1935, however, the other countries fell in line. Forty-nine teams from around the world competed in the Berlin Games, more than in any previous Olympics. Germany had the largest team at the Berlin Games with 348 athletes. The United States had the second largest team with 312 members. The Soviet Union did not participate in the Berlin Games or any Olympiad until the 1952 Helsinki Games.

    Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of the Nazi anti-homosexual laws.

    From February 6 to February 16, 1936, Germany hosted the Winter Olympics at Garmisch-Partenkirchen in the Bavarian Alps. Yielding to international Olympic leaders’ insistence on “fair play,” German officials allowed Rudi Ball, who was half-Jewish, to compete on the nation’s ice hockey team. Hitler also ordered anti-Jewish signs temporarily removed from public view. Still, Nazi deceptions for propaganda purposes were not wholly successful. Western journalists observed and reported troop maneuvers at Garmisch. As a result, the Nazi regime would minimize the military’s presence at the Summer Olympics.

    In August 1936 Olympic flags and swastikas bedecked the monuments and houses of a festive, crowded Berlin. Most tourists were unaware that the Nazi regime had temporarily removed anti-Jewish signs. Neither would tourists have known of the “clean up” ordered by the German Ministry of Interior in which the Berlin Police arrested all Gypsies prior to the Games. On July 16, 1936, some 800 Gypsies were arrested and interned under police guard in a special Gypsy camp in the Berlin suburb of Marzahn. Also in preparation for the arrival of Olympic spectators, Nazi officials ordered that foreign visitors should not be subjected to the criminal strictures of the Nazi anti-homosexual laws.

    #BoycottSochi2014 #BoycottPutinPogroms #BoycottPutinFinalSolution

    • robw77 says:

      Thank you so much for that information. I don’t know if a boycott of Germany would have worked, or been productive in stopping the atrocities. That must be our focus. The parallel is undeniable, and however we deal with the games– we need to stop Putin’s oppression aggressively.

      • Jerry says:

        Putin left the Presidency and set himself up as Chancellor which puts him over the Presidency, and his post is for life…it is as thou the Tsars have returned…

  12. Are we forgetting that as people attending and athletes are supposedly safe, what about those who live there and can not leave. They are in danger and the more that we ignore this the more will die… We in this country sending money in any way helps to keep their government running.. It helps to keep that same power in office in which can ultimately kill thousands of people who have done nothing wrong… I’m sorry but personally I can not contribute any bit to that… Those of you who can hey more power to you, butt in the long wrong remember it was your money as well that helped this man do this harm…

  13. imelda moore says:

    I’m sick to the teeth about how to handle Russia. All companies have nothing to do with Russia,don’t buy anything russian, do not let them into our country. Remember the Nazi murdered 22 thousand gay people during the second world war, boycot the game’s and hit them where it hurts there pocket. They are just evil people if you are gay would you want to live there i for one would not. When they stop there hatered against our community throught whatever methods then we have some hope.

  14. Max says:

    I completely agree with you regarding NOT boycotting the Olympics and “gaying” them up instead. I’ve been very frustrated with all of this boycott talk recently. People don’t realise that would only make things worse for the country and the LGBT community.
    First of all, the boycott would just push the people further into the hands of Putin’s propaganda. The Kremlin would just use the boycott for its anti-Western rhetoric and would make its people believe that the country was being a victim of Western pressure and aggression. That could lead to further violence towards the gay community.
    Second of all, by boycotting the games you’d also be punishing all those athletes who had been practising so hard and for whom the Games are the highlight of their careers.
    Finally, what Russia needs is to see the human face of homosexuality. At the moment, there are no gay role models, let alone athletes. The Russians need to see that gay people are just like everybody else and can “even” play sports, win medals, have families and have whole nations behind them supporting them.
    That’s why instead of boycotting, athletes both gay and straight, as well their supporters, need to carry rainbow flags or wear some rainbow badges. Why not push some European teams to have a rainbow on their uniforms?!
    Many think that gay athletes and gay activists would be under the threat of being attacked by the Russian authorities. They should not be. The world’s eyes will be on Sochi and the government will try its best not to get any negative media attention. That is why they would not dare detain gay athletes and LGBT supporters.
    The Olympics is a unique chance to make a difference in Russia. We should not miss it.

  15. AJewishGayAmerican says:

    The problem with this article, is that it ignores the fact that Russian Vodka companies and Russian citizens cannot disseminate positive information about the LGBT community because it’s already against the law To speak up. The LGBT communities voice has already effectively been silenced in Russia.

  16. Dr. Rex says:

    Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    he, the know who likes to be manly, poses showing his torso and physical attributes and now diligently starts an official, government “agenda” against the LGBT in Russia!!!
    … wonder what skeletons he has in HIS closet!!!

  17. Dr. Rex says:

    Excellent comparison ……. he, the know who likes to be manly, poses showing his torso and physical attributes and now diligently starts an official, government “agenda” against the LGBT in Russia!!!
    … wonder what skeletons he has in HIS closet!!! SMH …

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