Gay Activist to Meet Obama in Russia Scorns ‘The Fanatic Champions of Traditional Values’

Penny Starr | September 4, 2013 | 4:31pm EDT
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A ballet dancer performs during a protest manifestation at Museum Square in Amsterdam on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Margriet Faber)

( – The White House has confirmed that President Barack Obama will meet with gay activists while he is in Russia for the G-20 Summit, including Igor Kochetkov, head of the LGBT Network in that country.

“On Friday in St. Petersburg, the president will meet with Russian civil society leaders to discuss the important role civil society plays in promoting human rights and tolerance,” a White House official told “Invited are representatives from groups supporting human rights, the environment, free media, and LGBT rights, among others.”

Kochetkov, who told the Associated Press on Sept. 3 that he would attend the meeting with Obama, posted a commentary on his Facebook page blaming “‘fanatic champions of ‘traditional values’” for what he said is behind the recent flap over the visa status of pro-gay activists Lady Gaga and Madonna while they performed in that country and the Russian law that restricts homosexual propaganda to minors.

“The fanatic champions for ‘traditional values’ have already succeeded in their call for a restriction of the visa regime of foreign artists,” Kochetkov wrote in a blog that was translated from Russian to Norwegian, then to English. “Maybe we ought to avoid helping them to draw a new iron curtain around Russia?”

Kochetkov said in the commentary he is against a boycott of the games, saying that it is better to use them as a platform to further the LGBT agenda in that country and around the world.

“Yes, we must not allow the Sochi Olympics to be used to create an illusion that everything is perfectly all right, and to allow the opinion in Russia as well as in the rest of the world to close its eyes against the fascistification of this nation,” Kochetkov wrote. “But then the answer is not a boycott. T

“The answer is active participation, not only by the athletes,” Kochetkov wrote.

Kochetkov said Russia is “on the verge of fascism” and compared the next year’s Olympics in Russia to the 1936 Olympics in Germany hosted by Adolph Hitler.

The Associated Press story also said another gay rights group in Saint Petersburg, Coming Out, had not yet decided whether to accept the invitation.

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