The ban on 'homosexual propaganda' has, in fact, unleashed a wave of violence, assault and extreme homophobia across Russia.
The United Kingdom needs to stand by its fellow Russian citizens in standing up, being counted, and ending any cultural ties such as twinned towns, to make a clear statement that we fundamentally disagree with their policy on homosexuality.
Since the passing of law there have even been brutal murders, with on 23-year-old male being murdered by 'beating, setting on fire, crushing of the head with a large stone and inserting glass bottles into his anus'. This needs to be deplored, as do the increasing numbers of homophobic attacks amongst Russian people on the basis that someone is, or at least looks, gay.
UK people cannot stand by and allow our towns and cities to be linked to such barbarism whilst our politicians politely continue their discourse with words and smiles. We must take definitive action and cut ties, and the benefits to Russia that come with them, from twinning our cities with Russian ones.
It is even more relevant and important that the UK is seen to be taking action with the upcoming Olympics, scheduled for the Russian city of Socha in 2014. Despite assurances from 'senior Russian government' that international citizens will not be subject to 'anti-gay' laws, with Russia's recent history we cannot accept this as assurance that our athletes and representatives will even be safe.
If enough towns, cities and even nations stand up and boycott the these links and consider boycotting the Olympics, then this will put mounting pressure on Russia to end the mistreatment of LGBT citizens and work towards protecting their fundamental human rights, to express themselves and be who they want to be, and be safer than they were before.
We need to immediately end all regional and national city-twinnings with Russia, as this will make a bigger statement to Russian Government, and give UK people a louder voice, whilst working towards a diplomatic solution to genuine concern around Russia's abhorrent treatment of homosexual people.
If we are really proud of our freedom of speech, human rights history and our equality laws, especially the recent equal marriage bill, then we need to be equally proud that we didn't just stand by and let Russians' assault, beat and murder their fellow citizens just because they were gay.
A continued cultural relationship with Russia brings shame on the United Kingdom and we need to act now.
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