Since 1896 the Olympics have been uniting the countries of the world to compete and recognize the beauty of diverse culture on a global scale. With the three Olympic values being excellence, respect, and friendship, the Olympic movement is an iconic organization of civil rights and overall humanitarianism. These Olympic values continue to be advertised to prepare for the upcoming 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia. To prepare for such an event the Russian government undertakes matters of construction, advertisement, environment, education, and culture. However with such hype over bringing together the Russian people for this international event, a hypocritical controversy lurks in the background. Russia can accept all people across the globe but not its own citizens of the LGBT(Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender: sometimes including Q for Questioning) community. Up until 1999, homosexuality was considered a mental illness in Russia. Since this recent reverse for natural rights to homosexual people, the majority of Russian society still refuses to allow such behavior to exist. How can we translate the unifying structures of the Olympic arenas for Sochi’s winter games as a metaphor to the overall acceptance that the LGBT community of Russia should be receiving?
With arenas that stand the test of time, the Olympics offers an opportunity for architects to bring together the world under one roof and remember the unity of such an event forever. One outstanding precedent which represents such a structure would be Herzog & De Meuron’s National Stadium of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Also known as the “Bird’s Nest”, the National Stadium illustrates a continuous shape in which facade and structure are one of the same. The opening ceremony within this majestic stadium was one of the most memorable events in Olympic history. Moreover, the Chinese culture was taken into account from the beginning design process of Herzog & De Meuron. On the other hand, like Russia, China’s treatment of human rights to its people were under reform when announced their position to hold the 2008 games in 2001. The International Olympic Committee thought that such a power would accelerate the improvement of the nation. But even after the Olympics of 2008 came to an end, the Chinese government successfully altered the global image of China’s view of human rights but not much improvement occurred. Some would say that the state of this issue consequently worsened after the games. But China is definitely not the first Olympic games to have controversy and protest. In 1936 the Summer Olympic games were held in Berlin, Germany before the beginning of World War II. With the National Socialist Party (Nazi’s) in full swing under the rule of Adolf Hitler, the antisemitism movement in Germany forbade the participation of any Jewish athletes. This decree led to a global protest from athletes and Jewish people. But unlike the Jewish American athletes who refused to compete in such a country, LGBT American athletes present day are ready to compete and celebrate their wins with the LGBT community. Recalling that this antisemitic act at the Olympics led to a World War and hyper genocide of a people, what will it take to save the LGBT people from being killed and segregated? Or will the protests and acts of violence go unnoticed and unjustified like the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City, Mexico? In 1968, ten days before the games in Mexico City, a massacre of student protestors ranging from thirty to three hundred were killed by the Mexican government. Ten thousand college and high school students assembled in the Plaza de las Tres Culturas to counter the abuse of the Mexican government in preparation for the games. Being such a threat so close to the games, the government took action and attacked the students of the peaceful protest. How will Russia handle the 2014 Winter Olympic Games for the LGBT community of Russia and more importantly its LGBT global visitors?
The main advertised target of protest being Moscow’s Red Square where famous buildings such as St. Basil’s cathedral and the Kremlin stand. St. Basil’s cathedral, now a dormant church, serves no purpose of worship but as a museum. It is commonly the iconic building which represents Russia as a Nation. And the Kremlin stands today as the rightful place of the Russian government. With two buildings that offer such prestige to the entire country of Russia, it makes since that the LGBT community would take their stance outside their walls. A long with Red Square, there are three other squares which continue to serve as popular places of public protest: Bolotnaya Square, Lubyanka Square, and Pushkin Square. Each of these squares are in a close radius from one another at the center of Moscow. All being surrounded by at least some form of government organization whether it be ties to the Kremlin or even the KGB. With Pushkin Square being one of the busiest public squares in the world and Moscow being the largest city in Europe, it is ironic that the Russian government and the powerful nations of the world do not pay more attention to the protests which are observed here.
With Russia’s inhuman violence towards its citizens being pulled to the international stage of media, other countries and fellow olympic athletes have spoken up in defense of their LGBT brothers and sisters. Obama himself disagrees with the protest of the Olympic games not being held, however he doesn’t comply with how Putin has handled the situation of the LGBT athletes and visitors. Remarks from Russian lawmakers say that “gay” and “pro-gay” athletes or visitors will be arrested at the 2014 Olympic games. Also Putin bans all forms of protest from now until a month after the Olympics. Athletes from around the world, especially America, have come into the public eye about their feelings of this hatred. Some fellow Russian athletes passively protest by painting their fingers the colors of the LGBT flag. Other athletes have come out of the closet to the media to show that they will not be hiding in Russia. American athletes in particular refuse to change the way they are for Russia and plan to dedicate their medals to the LGBT movement around the world. If arrests like the ones mentioned actually occur, then what kind of controversial international event shall conclude in Sochi?The Ice Arena for the Sochi, Russia 2014 Winter Olympics.
In modern day Russia, the Russian government and a large population of it’s citizens openly deny basic civil rights to its LGBT members of the nation. This denial has escalated to the point of protests ending in catastrophic violence. The hypocrisy of this notion is undeniable since Russia is hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. The Olympic games being an event which openly welcome all countries and all cultures to cohabitate and be one as a global community. With Russia dealing with its protests and hosting of the Olympics, the nation will have to take a stance and change their outlook on the issue forcing them to take an extremist position, either denying gays to exist in Russia or accepting them as humans and allowing them rights.
CNN. “Russian athletes issue angry denial of ‘gay kiss’ protest” Recorded Aug 20 2013. CNN Aug 20 2013. Web,http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/dam/assets/130819175530-firova-ryzhova-story-top.jpg.
Reuters, Thomas. “German ministers say Russian gay law smacks of dictatorship” Recorded Aug 12 2013. Global Post. Web, http://www.globalpost.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/gp3_slideshow_large/photos/2013-August/russia_anti-gay_putin.jpg.
RFE/RL.. “Moldovan LGBT March Location Changed” Recorded May 16 2013. Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty. Web,http://gdb.rferl.org/B079254B-4AA5-4BBC-AED1-F37E7A884064_mw1024_n_s.jpg.
Cush, Andy. “RUSSIA WILL ARREST GAY OLYMPICS ATTENDEES, SAYS RUSSIAN POLITICIAN” Recorded July 30 2013. Animal NY. Web, http://content.animalnewyork.com/wp-content/uploads/russia-gay-right-arrest.jpg.
Global Equality.. “The Facts on LGBT Rights in Russia.” Global Equality. Web,http://www.globalequality.org/storage/images/kremlin-color-web.jpg.
BSN.. “Large ice arena is completed in Sochi” Recorded Jan 21 2013. Black Sea News. Web,http://www.blackseanews.net/files/image/(24-99-99-99)/83567.jpg.
Nissim, Mayer. Digital Spy, “Tilda Swinton waves gay pride rainbow flag in Russia.” Last modified July 4, 2013. Accessed September 7, 2013.
Stopera, Matt. BuzzFeed, Inc., “36 Photos From Russia That Everyone Needs To See.” Last modified July 22, 2013. Accessed September 4, 2013.
This article bluntly documents how Russia’s government and citizens are refusing LGBT citizens their natural human rights with severe violence. The police are abusing and arresting gays due to the new Russian law against gay propaganda.
Udell, Emily. “Dark Side of Russias Rainbow.” In These Times, November 30, 2007. http://inthesetimes.com/article/3424/dark_side_of_russias_rainbow (accessed September 7, 2013).
After reviewing Russia’s treatment of gay rights, this article dives into the mind of Nikolai Alexeyev, a founder of the gay rights organization Gay Russia, and his feelings on the present state of this controversy. His work consists of fighting prejudice, securing legal rights and encouraging political engagement.
Wikipedia, “LGBT History in Russia.” Last modified Sept 3, 2013. Accessed September 7, 2013. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LGBT_history_in_Russia.
In depth history of LGBT history in russia going all the way back to 1716. Good references of people in charge, dates events happened, and tieins to religion and law.
“Protest.” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences. 2008. Encyclopedia.com. (September 7,2013) http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G23045302098.html
Describes what protest is, what it has meant, and how its used. Involves law, religion and sexuality as examples.
Adam, Barry D. “Lesbian, gay, transsexual, bisexual movements.” The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Blackwell Publishing, 2009. 07 September 2013
The whole Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest goes into the whole history of LBGT controversy everywhere.
Mertus, Julie. The Rejection of Human Rights Framings: The Case of LGBT Advocacy in the US. manuscript., Johns
Hopkins University Press, 2007. JSTOR (20072835) http://www.jstor.org/stable/20072835
“This article explores why many advocates concerned with lesbian, gay, and transgendered (LGBT) rights in the US have not chosen to frame their struggles in human rights terms. The article recognizes that framing a cause in human rights terms can be an effective way of claiming the moral high ground and of asserting affinity with others throughout the world who seek to condemn human wrongs and promote human dignity. However, this is not always the case. This article uses a historical review of LGBT organizing in the US to explain why human rights framings also may be viewed as unduly restrictive and even detrimental when identity is the central organizing factor.” Abstract
Handler, Joel. Postmodernism, Protest, and the New Social Movements. manuscript., Wiley Law and Society Association, 1992. JSTOR (3053811)http://www.jstor.org/stable/3053811
The article discusses what postmodernism means for politics and architecture and how they evolve into new social movements and future protests. “In architecture, postmodernists rebelled against modernism.”
Wondermondo, ” Saint Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow.” Last modified August 21, 2011. Accessed September 7, 2013. http://www.wondermondo.com/Countries/E/RUS/Moscow/StBasils.htm.
This web source reveals the history of St. Basil’s Cathedral while providing a plan drawing, an elevation, and other documentation.
The Olympic Movement, “Sochi 2014 Venues.” Last modified 2013. Accessed September 7, 2013. http://www.sochi2014.com/en/games/places/objects/sea/.
The Olympic movement in preparation for Sochi 2014 Winter games has a rendered threedimensional map that shows all venues for the games.
Video and Audio
The Olympic Movement.. “See You In Sochi 2014!.” Sochi 2014 Videos. The Olympic Movement Sept 24 2012. Web, http://www.olympic.org/sochi2014winterolympics.
This video is a collective presentation from the Olympic Movement of how the organization is preparing for Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic games.
NewsToday7.. “Gay ‘Kissing Protest’ at Russian Parliament Descends into Violence.” YouTube Jan 23 2013. Web,
Begins with a Russian women speaking Russian about her cause. Then the video dissolves into a collection of people protesting parliament for gay rights and homophobes hitting them.