Despite global shock and outrage over Russia's brutal crackdown on its LGBT community, the New York Stock Exchange is hosting a "Russia Day" this Monday to encourage American businesses to invest in Russia. American money should not be supporting a country that is terrorizing its gay community.
The New York Stock Exchange is lending its credibility to the effort to entice American investors into investing in the Russian economy. On November 18, 2013, the NYSE will host Russia Day, when leading Russian government officials — some of them the very architects of Russia's homophobic law banning any gay-positive speech and tacitly encouraging violence against LGBT Russians — will ring the closing bell at the stock exchange, to sickening applause from NYSE traders.
It is shocking that the NYSE is calling for investment in Russia. As was done to combat South Africa's apartheid, the call to Americans of conscience should be to divest from Russia, not invest. The NYSE must cancel their Russia Day activities to send a warning to Russian government officials that Russia's abuse of basic human rights is bad for business.
We’ve already seen pressure work. After hundreds signed a petition urging the American Bar Association to not support an event calling for business investment in Russia, they listened. And law firm Goodwin Procter backed out of hosting an event for Russian business leaders after they were pressured to condemn Russia's anti-LGBT laws. I know if the NYSE hears from enough of us, they’ll listen too, and send a message to Russian business leaders and officials that Russia won’t receive the world’s business until the country stops brutalizing LGBT people.
Until Russia ends its brutal crackdown on LGBT people — including officially sanctioned kidnapping, torture, and rape of gay youth and severe laws prohibiting any expression of support for LGBT rights — Russia must be challenged, not financially supported.