Another Putin Snub: While In Russia, Obama Will Meet With LGBT Activists Instead of Meeting With Putin
By: Rachel Pulaski
The gifted “overcharge” reset button is going to need replacing soon.
Last month, Obama infuriated Vladimir Putin by referring to him as a “bored kid in the back of the classroom.” and cancelled his bilateral meeting with Putin. To add to the tension, instead of meeting with Putin, on Thursday President Obama will meet with the LGBT activists in St. Petersburg while visiting the area during the G20 summit.
Four Russian non-governmental organizations told BuzzFeed Monday they had been invited to the meeting, scheduled for this Thursday at St. Petersburg’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The groups include veteran human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, legal aid NGO director Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out, a St. Petersburg-based LGBT organization. Another local LGBT group, the LGBT Network, is believed to be attending, though director Igor Kochetkov declined to comment to BuzzFeed, saying that he had been “asked not to say anything.”
Election monitoring group Golos is also believed to have been invited, though BuzzFeed could not reach its director or deputy director to confirm. Russia’s justice ministry forced Golos, which used to receive funding from USAID, to disband this summer under a law on “foreign agents” that many believed was created specifically to target the group.