With all of the recent news, many people have been wondering why there are so many problems with gay rights in Russia. The easiest answer comes down to culture, but there are also religious and government aspects as well. In addition, what rights someone gets are actually dependent on where they are living in Russia, and not on the national government as a whole. It is, however, illegal to participate in gay sexual activity in most of Russia, some areas just don’t prosecute it to the same level as others.
Being gay in Russia has a long history, but so does persecution of gay people as well. Russia is home to both fundamentalist Muslim communities, as well as fundamentalist Christian communities as well. The severe weather int eh country and the isolation of different areas made it very easy for different moral absolutes to pop up depending on where you lived in the country. These absolutes have not changed in the last 1000 years, and the soviet government was not interested in changing them, only in changing the way that labor worked. This means that entire generations have grown up exactly the same way that their parents, grandparents, and so on grew up.
In addition, Russian culture has always been influenced by a lack of resources and a need to live off of the land. This means that people who act outside of the norm and who appear to not be working towards a better life for the entire village or group are going to be shunned or made to feel bad about themselves. This explains why, even in bigger cities, things like gay pride parades and clubs are seen as a negative thing.
In addition, rural areas, such as Chechnya, have extremely fundamentalist governments. These governments actually work off of religious ideals, and these ideals hold that being gay is a sin. This is why there have been so many state sanctioned murders of gay men in the last few years. The people in these areas are actually viewing it as a cleansing of their area, allowing people who are on the right side of these religions to continue on with their lives, without being surrounded by this supposed sin.
Until Russia starts governing itself as a single entity and takes the plight of everyone in their society seriously, the outlook on gay rights in Russia is extremely grim.