In the interview for euronews, Carnegie's Maria Lipman talked about why Russia’s anti-gay laws are supported by a majority of Russians and why international pressure by the West to change these laws won’t work.
According to Lipman, the main reason that Russia’s anti-gay laws have stirred up such strong emotions is the lack of open social discussion about the issue. Twenty years ago, Russia removed the ban on homosexuality, Lipman said, but now, Vladimir Putin has a political monopoly and is moving toward social conservativeness. Without open social discussion, the issue of homosexuality lay dormant. This allowed gays and lesbians relative freedom to practice their lifestyle in the shadows, but the general attitude stayed very conservative, Lipman said.
Russian lawmakers were surprised by the strong Western reactions to the recent laws, she added. These reactions reflect the fact that, in the West, LGBT rights are a pressing issue. She concluded that while some gestures will be made to address the concerns of the West, the law will remain because “that makes Putin popular—that he can stand up to the pressure from the West.”