On how discriminating LGBTs will bring Hungary closer to Russia

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“ Hungary’s government is welcoming a hate group that promotes a worldview demonising an entire class of people. What are we to take from that? Are we to think that the Hungarian government was unaware that the World Congress of Families held these beliefs? (…) This is not normal conservative politics […] There’s a geopolitical angle which is about Russia and the Kremlin trying to sell its message. The Kremlin uses [groups like] the WCF to assert its soft power in central European society. By elevating this conference to a state-level event, we now almost see that Fidesz is positioning itself as a far-right party. It goes against European values because people rally against the equality of men and women or of a minority group like the LGBT community. They are obviously going against legislation which tries to secure these groups rights and status. In political terms, it will allow the Hungarian government to assert its own ultra-conservative position on the world stage and help relations with the Kremlin. The Russian people here wouldn’t be allowed to participate without the Kremlin’s knowledge, so their presence will help establish some high-level connection between Hungary and Russia ”

Robert Tait, ‘Hungary’s Prime Minister welcomes US ‘anti-LGBT hate group’ ‘, The Guardian

On why the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Russia shows the cruelty of the Putin regime

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“ All authoritarian regimes loathe minority religions, perhaps because religious groupings are one of the most powerful ways of imagining a world that might be different. Tolerance is a late and perhaps unnatural development in human history but that only increases its value. Freedom of religion means freedom to be wrong or it means nothing at all. And in the case of the Witnesses, with their astonishing stubborn patience in the face persecution, we can see how the content of their beliefs really doesn’t and shouldn’t affect their right to hold them. At a time when most of the concern about Putin’s Russia is concentrated on its behaviour abroad, the attempted suppression of the Witnesses shows just how much damage he can do within his own borders ”

Andrew Brown, ‘Why Putin’s persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses should worry us’, The Guardian

On why the Russian persecution of political and religious minorities

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“ Since Russia has adhered to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, it is legally required to guarantee religious freedom and freedom of speech. Both of these rights, however, have long been neglected. One of the bases on which the main discrimination is based is the law against extremism introduced in 2002. In theory, it was necessary to fight terrorism: the original text prohibited ‘incitement to conflicts for ethnic, nationalist or religious reasons’ and banned ‘violence or the instigation of violence’. Over time, various changes have been made and the reference to violence has been eliminated: this has allowed the Russian authorities to use the law to pursue political opponents of the government of President Vladimir Putin and religious groups like Jehovah’s Witnesses, despite being peaceful and not violent ”

Translated from Italian.

Il Post, ‘Russia has banished Jehovah’s Witnesses’, Il Post

On Trump’s foreseen exploitation

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” Governments ask themselves, how can the arrival of an impulsive, inexperienced and self-important American president be exploited for our benefit? Russia, Israel and potentially China exemplify this approach ”

Simon Tisdall, ‘Appease or oppose? How the world’s nations are reacting to Trump’, The Guardian