After being invited to attend by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Conor McGregor flew to Moscow to watch the game and see France overcome Croatia.
“Today I was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin,” McGregor wrote on his social media. “This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honoured to attend such a landmark event alongside him. Today was an honour for me, Mr Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup.”
Today I was invited to the World Cup final as a guest of Russian President Vladimir Putin. This man is one of the greatest leaders of our time and I was honored to attend such a landmark event alongside him. Today was an honor for me Mr. Putin. Thank you and congratulations on an amazing World Cup. Россия вперёд!
To describe a man who has overseen the purge of thousands of gay men as “one of the greatest leaders of our time”, is extremely problematic.
Here is a short history lesson for McGregor as to what kind of leader Putin actually is…
After the fall of communism, there was a liberal period where LGBT+ people living in Russia experienced freedom. Homosexuality has been decriminalised in Russia since 1993, the same year as Ireland, and things were getting better.
Since Putin came into power, everything has gone into reverse.
As Peter Tatchell recently described him: “he is a hardline ultra-nationalist, a very macho man: beliefs in the strong macho Russian male ethos.
“He is also in political alliance with the Russian Orthodox Church where he supports them and they support Putin.
“He cracked down after Pussy Riot, he did the churches bidding by introducing this new law about any action which might be seen as disrespectful to the church becoming criminalised.
“He also responded to their appeal by backing the law in 2013 which bans the “promotion” of homosexual propaganda.”
For the past year, it has been widely reported that Chechen authorities have been arresting, beating, and ‘disappearing’ gay men in what has been branded a gay purge.
McGregor’s “great leader” has direct power over Chechnya and he has refused to intervene to stop these homophobic “witch hunts”.
McGregor prides himself on the fact that he speaks without thinking, as we found out when he made a homophobic slur last year.
What is frustrating is that he has such an influence on millions of privileged straight white men, in Ireland and around the world, and he chooses to use that influence with such ignorance, its spectacular.
I think it would be an insult to LGBT+ allies to put McGregor in the same category, he is not what constitutes an ally.
Some have defended McGregor’s admiration of Putin as the Russian leader has “been a great leader for Russia economically and territorial”.
Economy and territory mean nothing when citizens live in fear and are prisoners in their own country for being who they are.
Author Julius Goat recently summed up those who grade a person for their economic performance on one hand and their treatment of human beings on the other:
“Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed.
That word is Nazi. Nobody cares about their motives anymore.”
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