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 examine 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 important 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 during which language does that is via the development of identities, each at a macro (state) stage and a micro (particular person) stage (Epstein 2010, 328). This essay will particularly give attention to the position that lesbian, homosexual, bisexual and transgender identities (henceforth known as LGBT) play in shaping Transatlantic relations, as a way 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 legislation 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 examine, I’ll initially look at the imprecise language used within the propaganda laws itself and clarify how the primarily vacuous legalese has enabled the Russian state to show a blind eye to homophobic hate crimes. I’ll then describe a few of the rapid impacts of this laws on the Russian LGBT+ group with shut reference to studies from the Human Rights Watch. Following on from that, I’ll analyse the responses of the 2 foremost worldwide audiences that criticised the Russian “anti-gay” laws: the EU and the USA. In doing this I’ll spotlight each what was stated and, crucially, what was not stated. I’ll then talk about the style during which Russia responded to Western criticism, earlier than analyzing the language that Barack Obama utilized in his tackle 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 must be regarded as a type of energy (Craith 2007, 5). Realist students have historically missed 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, important constructivists imagine that language issues. Language may 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 is important to take all these acts under consideration when analysing state behaviour. One other core facet of important 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 vitally troublesome to supply a concrete definition that explains exactly what ‘discourse’ is, as it’s an primarily 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 may be regarded as an assemblage of overlapping conversations involving a number of audio system, and therefore, the primary query posed by a discursive method to finding out IR is: who speaks? (Epstein 2010, 341). Epstein argues that, identical to people, states can and do speak, and that this speaking is a basic a part of who they’re and the way they act (Ibid, 341). Essential constructivists recognise that it’s via ongoing modes of communication between states that Transatlantic relations are continuously 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 sphere of potential 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 regularly entails a number of actors, a back-and-forth dialog between two social actors may be regarded as a ‘dialogue’ (Hutchings 2011, 640). Hutchings means that there are three “threads of that means” at work on the subject of ‘dialogue’. The phrase can be utilized to explain: a common 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 any individual else,” or a negotiation between two actors which can be maybe trying to succeed in 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, identical 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 may be, and continuously 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’s going to essentially maintain a privileged place inside a special dialogue in a special context (Milliken 1999, 250). This can be very necessary to acknowledge that these energy dynamics are certainly not mounted, and that to insinuate that they maintain true regardless of context can be an act of mental complacency (Ibid, 249). Hutchings argues that we have to keep away from mechanically utilizing “the West/non-West binary as a manner of characterising the members in dialogic change,” which is an concept that might be examined once more later in the course of the dialogue of the case examine (Hutchings 2011, 640). Certainly, the West/non-West binary is a chief 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 necessary position in difficult the slender rationalist give attention to energy and pursuits that was beforehand dominant inside 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 strong lens via which we are able to view Transatlantic relations. It’s critical to do not forget that identities, like discourses, don’t exist in a vacuum and must be examined in relation to context (Legro 2009, 38). Relying on the context, an actor’s identification can enableor constrain their capacity 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). On the subject of 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 tackle every of those in flip. Legro proposes that it’s the plasticity of identification inside the anarchic worldwide system that allows a state’s nationwide identification to vary and never stay mounted (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 usually internalised, they go unquestioned, and thus they’re usually 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 usually manifest themselves via language and discourse (Holzscheiter 2014, 146). This line of pondering will reappear later after 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 continuously evolving to adapt to the worldwide political setting (Kitchen 2009, 96). Risse advocates the concept collective identities change via “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 “specific non-discrimination protections protecting sexual orientation” (O’Dwyer 2018, 37). This signalled a transparent normative shift during which assist for sexual minorities had turn into a core side of the EU’s identification in addition to its coverage mission (Ibid, 38). An analogous 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 thought 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). Usually 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 for the reason that finish of WW2, to the extent that it has endured long gone the tip of the Chilly Struggle when many had been sceptical about its probabilities of survival (Kitchen 2009, 97). There’s positively some fact in the concept shared ‘liberal values’ underpin the Transatlantic group and are the explanation 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 actually 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 idea 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 will articulate what the amorphous ‘we-ness’ really consists of (Mattern 2001, 352). Mattern conceptualises the connection between phrases and identification via the concept of a story ‘gun’ (Ibid, 352). She argues that, in principle, states are the authors of their very own identification narratives (Ibid, 352). In observe nonetheless, in relation to 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 an identical 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 power 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 Examine: The 2013-14 LGBT Rights Dialogue between Russia and the West

LGBT rights discourses have been constantly missed by the tutorial literature on the Transatlantic safety relationship. When assessing important 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 properly (Hoogensen and Rottem 2004, 156). Marginalised teams, just like the LGBT group, are arguably the almost definitely to expertise insecurity inside the societies during which they stay (Slootmaeckers, Touquet and Vermeersch 2016, 1). Thus, this can be very necessary to carry LGBT identities out of the margins of educational scholarship and place them on the forefront of the evaluation, to elucidate how their experiences slot in with the larger image.

Earlier than I look at the latest 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 had been criminalised within the USSR, as stipulated by article 121 of the Legal Code of the Russian Soviet Federated Socialist Republic (Verpoest 2017, 10). Historians usually agree that there was a prevailing perception inside the USSR that homosexuality was each a psychological dysfunction and “a product of the bourgeois way of life” (Kon 2010, 17). The legislation criminalising homosexuality was abolished in April 1993 after the collapse of the USSR, though males who had 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 Nineteen Nineties and 2000s homosexuality was nonetheless seen as “one thing perverted and international” 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 legislation that brought on 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 really handed a number of legal guidelines that infringed upon the rights of LGBT individuals in 2012-13 moreover the propaganda legislation (Verpoest 2017, 9). A 100 yr ban on the organisation of homosexual satisfaction 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 had been additionally handed that forbid Russian same-sex {couples} from adopting kids and international same-sex {couples} from adopting Russian kids (Mortensen 2016, 350). Additionally it is necessary to acknowledge that solely a small minority of the Russian individuals seem to have been in opposition to those legal guidelines once they had been launched; a June 2013 ballot performed 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 legislation within the ensuing discourse, which additional exemplifies the facility of language and phrases (Ibid, 36).

Scrutinising Russia’s “anti-gay” propaganda legislation

At first look, the language used within the official authorized documentation is perplexing due to how imprecise it’s (Mortensen 2016, 368). The legislation prohibits the distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” to these below the age of 18, punishable by a tremendous of as much as 1,000,000 rubles if transgressed (Verpoest 2017, 11). I imagine that this phrasing was not unintentional; it was a strategic, intentional and deliberate selection 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 data 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 gives little or no clarification over what the legislation does and doesn’t classify as ‘propaganda’. Waving a rainbow satisfaction flag, holding palms 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 legislation (Mortensen 2016, 365). Moreover, the utilization of the time period ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ as an alternative of ‘homosexuality’ is attention-grabbing as a result of it enhances the notion that “LGBT people are outlined via negation […] as one thing greatest 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 legislation how they need, which is clearly an alarming prospect (Ibid, 365). One other issue to think about is that the Russian administration doubtless opted for imprecise language to keep away from straight undermining the European Conference on Human Rights (ECHR). The Russian state has ratified the ECHR and is predicted to uphold its core ideas, one in all which is to respect the rights of minority teams to precise themselves with out concern of prejudice or discrimination (De Kerf 2017, 36). The anti-propaganda legislation 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 individuals, on the situation that they don’t promote their way of life or publicly transgress societal norms (Wilkinson 2013, 5).

What was the rapid impression of the legislation on the lives of Russian LGBT people? Was there something for the worldwide group to be involved about? Though there is no such thing as a direct proof to counsel that the legislation itself brought on 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 time of 2013 can be a gay “searching 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). Lots of of video recordings of those harrowing encounters had been posted on-line, and present victims being bodily attacked, pressured 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 legislation as an indication that the federal government formally supported homophobia, and as such they had been inspired to proceed to terrorise LGBT individuals (Feyh 2014, 104). Police had been apparently reluctant to research these hate crimes, and the victims themselves had been usually blamed for the assaults while the perpetrators evaded punishment (Human Rights Watch 2014). Moreover, the authorities weren’t afraid to place their homosexual propaganda legislation into motion; only a few weeks after the legislation was handed, Kirill Kalugin was arrested for waving a rainbow flag in Moscow’s Purple Sq. (Verpoest 2017, 12). Not lengthy after, the Deti 404 web site, which housed a web based assist group for LGBT children, 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 had been initially probably the most outspoken of their criticism of Russia, as world leaders took some time to formulate probably 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 legislation (Mason 2013). Fry referred to as for a British boycott of the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympic Video games as a way of protest, nonetheless Cameron dismissed this suggestion by asserting that attending the Video games can be a “higher manner of difficult prejudice” (Ibid). He subsequently vowed that he would “problem” Putin in the course of the G20 summit that was scheduled to happen a couple of weeks later (Luhn 2013). Nevertheless, considerably disappointingly, a extra thorough condemnation of the Russian ‘anti-gay’ propaganda legislation was to not be forthcoming from Cameron; when questioned on the topic he as an alternative continuously resorted to the utilization of imprecise language that promised motion however lacked conviction (Rivkin-Fish and Hartblay 2014, 97). President Barack Obama, alternatively, was marginally extra keen to take part within the LGBT rights discourse and make substantive important remarks. Though each him and Cameron refused to entertain the prospect of a boycott, Obama made a press release 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 persistence 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 selection of phrases on this occasion enabled him to not directly denounce Russian homophobic discrimination with out explicitly mentioning Russia. I believe 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 legislation. It’s simply as necessary to mirror on what was not stated in addition to what was stated, and with that in thoughts, it’s clear that each the UK and America had 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 may be organised into two foremost strands: one in all defence and one in all counterattack. Putin steadfastly denied any insinuation that Russia’s LGBT inhabitants had 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 peculiar right here” (Luhn 2013). Putin was additionally constantly adamant in his defence of the laws and made a number of makes an attempt to elucidate 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 legislation in line 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 massive drawback with the inhabitants. The demographic drawback is that the delivery fee 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 attempting to rewrite the favored Western narrative that Russia was a ‘homophobic’ state. Putin is arguing that the legislation was not borne out of anti-LGBT sentiment, however quite a recognition that falling delivery charges in Russia had been a matter of important concern that wanted to be addressed (Mole 2018, 1). He frames this argument in a way that constructs declining delivery charges as a mutual dilemma that Russia and Europe shared; most likely in an try and make the propaganda legislation appear extra palatable to Western audiences. Demographic issues had been actually a much less abhorrent rationalization than these provided by different Russian politicians, a few of whom steered that the propaganda legislation would defend kids from paedophilia and cut 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 yr Presidential tackle, Putin alluded to Western criticism of the propaganda legislation earlier than saying:

We all know that on this planet, increasingly more individuals 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 legislation on the grounds that it reinforces the significance of “conventional household values.” Slootmaeckers, Touquet and Vermeersch cite this for example 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 aware choice 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 choice was made blindingly obvious when the Russian International Ministry revealed its “Report on the Human Rights Scenario 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 International Ministry evidently felt compelled to retaliate in type (EURACTIV 2014). The report states that:

the European Union and its Member States contemplate, as one in all 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 sort of a pure social phenomenon that deserves assist on the state stage.

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

Satirically, in refuting Western allegations of homophobic discrimination, Russia proved that these allegations had 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 greatest to react to the Russian annexation of Crimea (CNN 2014). The significance of the political context can’t be overstated as it’s doubtless that the Crimea disaster pressured the West to talk out in opposition to Russia’s actions with larger 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 legislation, however this time he elaborated on his criticisms in a lot larger element, in gentle of Russia’s steady refusal to simply accept that they had 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 a substitute of focusing on our homosexual and lesbian brothers and sisters, we are able to use our legal guidelines to guard their rights. As a substitute of defining ourselves in opposition to others, we are able to 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 a particularly 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 International 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 a substitute, 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 emphasize each that the Transatlantic alliance stands united in its assist for LGBT rights, and that supporting LGBT rights has turn into an important a part of the Transatlantic identification. This hyperlinks again to Kitchen’s evaluation of ‘we-ness’ and the concept language is an efficient instrument 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 necessary to think about 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 had been constructed and strengthened by each Russia and America throughout their dialogic change. 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 legislation discriminated in opposition to homosexual individuals and incentivised homophobia (Reilhac and Osborn 2017). Russia disputed the decision, and the legislation 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 change that can hopefully proceed to evolve over time.


Arana, Gabriel. 2013. “Obama’s Silence on LGBT-Rights Abuses in Russia.” The American Prospect. July 23. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://prospect.org/power/obama-s-silence-lgbt-rights-abuses-russia/.

Ayoub, Phillip. 2016. When States Come Out: Europe’s Sexual Minorities and the Politics of Visibility. Cambridge: Cambridge College Press.

Bennetts, Marc. 2014. “Russia’s anti-gay legislation is flawed – however so is a few of the criticism from the west.” The Guardian. February 5. Accessed April 3, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/05/russia-anti-gay-law-criticism-playing-into-putin-hands.

Bucher, Bernd, and Ursula Jasper. 2017. “Revisiting ‘identification’ in Worldwide Relations: From identification as substance to identifications in motion.” European Journal of Worldwide Relations 23 (2): 391–415.

CBS Information. 2013. Obama meets with homosexual activists in Russia. September 6. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/obama-meets-with-gay-activists-in-russia/.

CNN. 2014. Obama continues chiding Russia on homosexual rights. March 26. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://edition.cnn.com/2014/03/26/politics/obama-gay-rights/index.html.

Craith, Máiréad Nic. 2007. Language, energy and identification politics. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

De Kerf, Justine. 2017. “Anti-Homosexual Propaganda Legal guidelines: Time for the European Court docket of Human Rights to Overcome Her Concern of Dedication.” DiGeSt. Journal of Range and Gender Research 4 (1): 35-48.

Derrida, Jacques. 1981. Positions. Chicago: College of Chicago Press.

Diez, Thomas. 2001. “Europe as a Discursive Battleground: Discourse Evaluation and European Integration Research.” Cooperation and Battle 36 (1): 5-38.

Epstein, Charlotte. 2010. “Who speaks? Discourse, the topic and the examine of identification in worldwide politics.” European Journal of Worldwide Relations 17 (2): 327-350.

EURACTIV. 2014. Russia accuses EU of ‘aggressively selling’ homosexuality. January 24. Accessed April 3, 2021. https://www.euractiv.com/section/sports/news/russia-accuses-eu-of-aggressively-promoting-homosexuality/.

European Union Company for Elementary Rights. 2020. “A Lengthy Approach To Go For LGBTI Equality.” FRA. Could 14. Accessed March 23, 2021. https://fra.europa.eu/sites/default/files/fra_uploads/fra-2020-lgbti-equality-1_en.pdf.

Feyh, Kathleen E. 2014. “LGBTQ Oppression and Activism in Russia: An Interview with Igor Iasine.” QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking 2 (1): 100-108.

Fierstein, Harvey. 2013. “Russia’s Anti-Homosexual Crackdown.” The New York Occasions. July 21. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/opinion/russias-anti-gay-crackdown.html.

France24. 2013. France’s Hollande snubs Russia’s Sochi Video games. December 16. Accessed March 23, 2021. https://www.france24.com/en/20131216-france-hollande-russia-sochi-gay-rights-law.

Holzscheiter, Anna. 2014. “Between Communicative Interplay and Buildings of Signification: Discourse Idea and Evaluation in Worldwide Relations.” Worldwide Research Views 15 (2): 142-162.

Hoogensen, Gunhild, and Svein Vigeland Rottem. 2004. “Gender Identification and the Topic of Safety.” Safety Dialogue 35 (2): 155-171.

Human Rights Watch. 2014. License to Hurt: Violence and Harassment in opposition to LGBT Folks and Activists in Russia. December 15. Accessed April 2, 2021. https://www.hrw.org/report/2014/12/15/license-harm/violence-and-harassment-against-lgbt-people-and-activists-russia.

Hutchings, Kimberly. 2011. “Dialogue between Whom? The Position of the West/ Non-West Distinction in Selling World Dialogue in IR.” Millennium: Journal of Worldwide Research 39 (3): 639-647.

Kitchen, Veronica M. 2009. “Argument and Identification Change within the Atlantic Safety Neighborhood.” Safety Dialogue 40 (1): 95-114.

Kon, Igor. 2010. “Homophobia as a Litmus Take a look at of Russian Democracy.” Russian Social Science Evaluation 51 (3): 16-37.

Kondakov, Alexander. 2019. “The affect of the ‘gay-propaganda’ legislation on violence in opposition to LGBTIQ individuals in Russia: Proof from prison courtroom rulings.” European Journal of Criminology 1 (1): 1-20.

Krickovic, Andrej. 2016. “When ties don’t bind: the failure of institutional binding in NATO Russia relations.” Up to date Safety Coverage 37 (2): 175-199.

Labott, Elise. 2011. “Clinton, Obama promote homosexual rights as human rights around the globe.” CNN. December 7. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://edition.cnn.com/2011/12/06/world/us-world-gay-rights.

Legro, Jeffrey W. 2009. “The Plasticity of Identification below Anarchy.” European Journal of Worldwide Relations 15 (1): 37–65.

Liptak, Kevin. 2013. “U.S. delegation to Russian Olympics consists of homosexual athletes.” CNN. December 20. Accessed March 26, 2021. https://edition.cnn.com/2013/12/17/sport/us-delegation-russia-olympics/index.html.

Luhn, Alec. 2013. “G20 summit: Putin to be pressed on homosexual rights in Russia by US and UK.” The Guardian. September 4. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/04/g20-summit-putin-gay-rights-russia-obama.

Mason, Rowena. 2013. “David Cameron met Stephen Fry to debate Russian homosexual rights row.” The Guardian. August 18. Accessed April 3, 2021. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/aug/18/david-cameron-stephen-fry-russia-gay-rights.

Mattern, Janice Bially. 2001. “The Energy Politics of Identification.” European Journal of Worldwide Relations 7 (3): 349-397.

Milliken, Jennifer. 1999. “The Examine of Discourse in Worldwide Relations: A Critique of Analysis and Strategies.” European Journal of Worldwide Relations 5 (2): 225-254.

Ministry of International Affairs of the Russian Federation. 2014. Report on the Human Rights Scenario within the European Union. January 23. Accessed March 29, 2021. https://legacy.gscdn.nl/archives/images/russenbitchenterug.pdf.

Mole, Richard C. M. 2018. “Introduction to “Soviet and Submit-Soviet Sexualities”.” Slavic Evaluation 77(1): 1-5.

Moravcsik, Andrew. 2003. “Putting A New Transatlantic Discount.” International Affairs 81(4): 74-89.

Mortensen, Stehn A. 2016. “Discursive Propagation in Putin’s Russia: Prohibiting “Propaganda of Non-Conventional Sexual Relations”.” Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie 72 (2): 349-381.

Neumann, Iver B. 1996. “Self and Different in Worldwide Relations.” European Journal of Worldwide Relations 2 (2): 139-174.

Obama, Barack. 2014. President Obama Speaks at Palais Des Beaux Arts. March 26. Accessed April 1, 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCxLTn6TNaA.

O’Dwyer, Conor. 2018. Coming Out of Communism: The Emergence of LGBT Activism in Jap Europe. New York: New York College Press.

Politico. 2013. Jay Leno’s interview with President Obama (transcript, video). August 7. Accessed April 4, 2021. https://www.politico.com/story/2013/08/jay-leno-obama-interview-transcript-video-095279.

Pouliot, Vincent. 2016. “Hierarchy in observe: Multilateral diplomacy and the governance of worldwide safety.” European Journal of Worldwide Safety 1 (1): 5-26.

Reilhac, Gilbert and Andrew Osborn. 2017. “European courtroom angers Russia with ‘homosexual propaganda’ ruling.” Reuters. June 20. Accessed April 4, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-court-lgbt-idUSKBN19B0V9.

Risse, Thomas. 2000. “”Let’s Argue!”: Communicative Motion in World Politics.” Worldwide Organisation 54 (1): 1-39.

Rivkin-Fish, Michele, and Cassandra Hartblay. 2014. “When World LGBTQ Advocacy Turned Entangled with New Chilly Struggle Sentiment: A Name for Inspecting Russian Queer Expertise.” Brown Journal of World Affairs 21 (1): 95-111.

Slootmaeckers, Koe, Heleen Touquet, and Peter Vermeersch. 2016. “EU Enlargement and LGBT Rights—Past Symbolism?” In The EU Enlargement and Homosexual Politics: The Affect of Jap Enlargement on Rights, Activism and Prejudice, by Koe Slootmaeckers, Heleen Touquet and Peter Vermeersch, 1-16. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Tetrault Farber, Gabrielle. 2015. “Russian LGBT activist fined for ‘homosexual propaganda’”. The Moscow Occasions. January 25. Accessed March 20, 2021. http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/russian-lgbt-activist-fined-50-000-rubles-for-disseminating-gay-propaganda/514867.html

The Moscow Occasions. 2021. Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes Up in Russia, Watchdog Says. February 5. Accessed March 31, 2021. https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/02/05/anti-lgbt-hate-crimes-up-in-russia-watchdog-says-a69176.

The Washington Submit. 2014. Full Transcript: President Obama offers speech addressing Europe, Russia on March 26. March 26. Accessed April 1, 2021. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/transcript-president-obama-gives-speech-addressing-europe-russia-on-march-26/2014/03/26/07ae80ae-b503-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html.

Verpoest, Lien. 2017. “The Finish of Rhetorics: LGBT insurance policies in Russia and the European Union.” Studia Diplomatica 68 (4): 3-20.

Wilkinson, Cai. 2013. “Placing “Conventional Values” Into Follow: The Rise and Contestation of Anti-Homopropaganda Legal guidelines in Russia.” Russian Analytical Digest 138: 5-7.

Additional Studying on E-Worldwide Relations