Wave Your Flag

Police detain a gay rights activist in St Petersburg

On April 7th and 8th Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, will visit Amsterdam. Main reasons are to celebrate the start of the Russian-Dutch year 2013 and to open (with the Dutch Queen) an exhibition in Amsterdam’s Hermitage. Mr. Putin is, as we all know, not an ambassador of gay and lesbian rights. In an attempt to influence him City Hall will raise the rainbow flag and the City Council will invite a Russian activist to join the annual Gay Pride. A group called Gay Message 4 Russia (see www.gaymessage4russia.nl) has taken the initiative to hang out the rainbow flag at half-staff. The initiative is supported by former mayor Job Cohen, who was the first to marry gays and lesbians back in April 2001. All excellent initiatives, yes, but honestly speaking, I think Mr. Putin couldn’t care less. As long as he can have a chat and a drink with a queen he is happy.