First, from Timothy Snyder:
Russian intervention in Ukraine is directed against the EU, which Moscow has now decided is a threat to its interests and indeed a civilizational challenge. President Putin’s global crusade against gays has become, during these last few weeks, a specific foreign policy doctrine directed against the EU. The Kremlin has made clear that control of Ukraine is one step towards the creation of a Eurasian Union, a rival organization to the EU which will reject European “decadence” in favor of a defense of Christian heterosexuality etc. For months press organs close to the Kremlin have referred to Europe as “Gayropa.”
And then, from Daniel Berman:
Just as Stalin could plan the mass deportation of the USSR’s Jewish population to camps while playing with his half-Jewish grandson, so Putin views homosexuality as cultural rather than racial or genetic. Hence there is no more cognitive dissonance between him claiming to have associates who are gay while also seeing gays as a seditious fifth column. Individual gays as individuals can be loyal Russians who commit acts in private. The LGBT movement however is part of a global network of NGOs that are allied in conspiracy with those both domestically and abroad who seek his overthrow. For them there can be no quarter.Berman's analysis of Putin's world view and motives is, he admits (and claims), speculative but well-informed. Basically, he argues that Putin respects and feels he understands leaders, including adversaries, who seem to act simply to maximize state power and their own authority, but feels betrayed and threatened by individuals and entities, internal and external, purporting to act out of a concern for human rights, international law, or any such flim-flam, which finds a kind of epitome in gay rights. Obama, according to Berman, embodies in Putin's view the rootless cosmopolitanism that Putin despises and fears:
Obama appears as subversive to him as he does to Glenn Beck. Furthermore, having subverted his own country, he is now working, through the international promotion of atheism, gay rights, and his support of opposition in the Ukraine and of the EU in Libya and Syria to spread the cancer of “rootless cosmopolitanism” abroad.That is...interesting. I don't pretend to understand Putin's motives and world view myself. But it does strike me as plausible that the LGBT movement is more than just a convenient whipping boy to him.
Related: Jews, Gays and History