Friday, February 21, 2014

End-of-Week News Roundup: Russia as Republican Paradise

"Now it seems the red scare has become the ultimate red state," Jones said. Indeed, he spoke to several Russian officials on the subjects of the economy (13% flat tax with no budget deficit), immigration (cheap labor, but at a cost to national identity), feminism (both men and women are tired of it), gun control (even liberals are opposed), sexual freedom (homosexuality is outlawed) and religion (abortion and premarital sex are effectively against the law in the name of the free market).

"Cossacks attacked us, beat us with whips and abundantly sprayed us with pepper gas," Tolokonnikova tweeted. ... Police arrived later and questioned witnesses, but no one was arrested.

But the contingent of Kuban Cossacks serving in Sochi are just modern Russians who happened to be born white and Orthodox Christian in the Krasnodar region, the traditional Cossack heartland. Thanks to this legacy—and the political expediency of all things "traditional" in Russia now—they’ve been able to claim a privileged status in local law enforcement, allowed to detain people until police arrive and conduct anti-immigrant raids.

But the unofficial protest ban is not absolute: three Americans from the Bible-thumping "Street Preacher" movement protested outside the Sochi train station on the opening day of the Olympics with signs reading "Homo sex is sin" and "God bless Putin for his stand against the sin of homosexuality, which the Lord considers an abomination."

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