Following – the Russians?

The Russians have had enough. Last year at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, they initiated a process that was supposed to result in a resolution connecting human rights to traditional values. Almost immediately, they walked into a buzz saw of opposition from the usual quarters: the European Union, the United States, and their NGO supporters from “human rights” and homosexual groups.

The western powers are very good at derailing what they don’t like. The original Russian draft resolution asserted that human rights have their roots in the moral force of traditional values. It included language supporting the right to life, the importance of the family in society, and the role of major religions, things that could easily have come from the pen of Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council.

Left-leaning states charged that the Russian draft failed to consider the connection between traditional values and human rights abuses. Specifically the United States and some European countries said that the rights of women, homosexuals, and transsexuals were undermined by traditional values.

A new “study” was commissioned, which ended up removing all references to the right to life, family, and religion. More than that, the new draft targeted traditional values as undermining the rights of women and minorities.

As usually happens at the United Nations, the left was satisfied. But not the Russans and not many others either. The new study was supposed to be discussed in Geneva last week. And here the Russians struck with a conservative cultural confidence that can only send shivers down the spine of the Europeans and the LGBT claque in the U. S. Department of State.

The Russians simply ignored their opponents, demanded a vote and won. They were far from alone. The resolution was co-authored by over sixty other governments and ended up passing the Human Rights Council with a vote of 25 –15, with 7 countries abstaining.

The new document strikes a blow for traditional values in the understanding of human rights and makes clear that human rights are universal and not “evolving,” as the left asserts.

Within moments of the vote, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a statement that my C-FAM colleague Stefano Genarrini described as “brimming with confidence.” As in this:  “The Russian Federation, together with the opinion allies, will continue promoting the idea of the inseparable connection of human rights and traditional moral values in the Human Rights Council.”

The statement went on to criticize the actions of the European Union and United States, specifically mentioning that the “negative position of these countries, their unwillingness to work at the text and fanciful arguments against the resolution draft cause regret.”

What we are witnessing at the United Nations is an awakening of the Russian social policy bear. Many governments have grown weary of the aggressiveness of the sexual left, now firmly ensconced in the U. N. bureaucracy and human rights machinery.

Most member states are fed up with the constant reproductive health and rights drumbeat. In fact, at the recently concluded Rio+20 negotiations on the environment, Russia led the way in cutting out reproductive-rights language, a setback that caused the left, including Hilary Clinton, to denounce the Rio outcome document.

We are many years into the effort to make homosexuality and its attendant permutations into new protected categories of international law. More than half of the U. N. General Assembly object to this, the Russians in particular.

Most countries are nervous or downright fearful about standing up to the pressure. Many of them rely on the largesse of the United Nations, European Union, and United States. The Obama State Department made personal visits to U. N. missions and made threats over a vote in the Human Rights Council calling for a study of violence against homosexuals.

A country like Jamaica, for instance, which is politically and culturally hostile to homosexuality, withered under such pressure and – though they did not vote in favor – agreed to abstain.

But Russia is not afraid of U. N., E. U., or U. S. bullying. Russia is deeply concerned with its own shrinking population and has begun an internal debate about legal abortion. The Russian people do not accept homosexuality as normal. At the same time, Russia seems happy to join this fight with her geopolitical competitors.

Having Russia lead on these issues helps in many ways. It takes the pressure off of the Holy See, which has always been uncomfortable to be seen as leading this fight. The Holy See has preferred to lend moral support, to speak out at key moments – but not to lead. Then there is the fact that Russia is not a Muslim state. Muslim states acting alone or through the Organization of the Islamic Conference are caricatured as Ayatollahs on social policy.

Some will say, that’s all well and good, but should social conservatives make common cause with a geopolitical competitor of the United States? Some will ask if we’re concerned about Russia’s domestic crackdown, and what about Pussy Riot?

In a perfect world, the western democracies and the United Nations would champion the unborn rather than promote abortion. They would defend traditional marriage rather than promote barbaric sexual practices as human “rights.”

Russia is far from perfect, but on social policy she is a good deal better than we are at the moment.


Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse

Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-Fam.

  • Walter

    Russia is a lawless, rotting thugocracy with profound social and moral problems: alcoholism rampant, population in decline, life expectancy in decline, highest divorce rate in the world, highest abortion rate in the world, church attendance below 5%. Not to mention ongoing hostility to the Catholic Uniate Churches by the Orthodox Church. There is profound disconnect between what the government trumpets and how people live and what they believe. Their government is corrupt to the core, kind of like the Corrleone family. Not a role model for the US or anybody, unless you just care about headlines or are paying lip service to traditional values to cover up problems and corruption.

    Re. homosexuality, you ignore Catholic teaching and conflate homosexuality (a condition that is disordered but not inherently sinful) with legal protection of homosexual acts/support of gay marriage. But that’s nothing new.

  • Sean

    добрая весть. The spread of the homosexual agenda in the West was in paqrt the result of the active campaigning of the Soviet regime, and was one of the Fatima prophecy’s “Errors of Russia” (communism, radical feminism, easy divorce, abortion, and other social problems are others). Even if the motivation is national survival, it’s good to see that the post-Soviet Russians are wising up about the idiocy of those failed policies.

  • Joe

    Another ironic example of how Russian democracy has surpassed the American version. Despite the fact that voters in 32 U.S. states have rejected same-sex marriage, the LGBT lobby and the President and his rainbow allies are making end runs to the courts to circumvent the democratic process. If Obama is re-elected, don’t be surprised to see a constitutional amendment offered that legalizes homosexual “marriage.”

  • Jacob R

    Walter I’m not sure what you’re talking about.

    If Russia is a rotting thugocracy then what are we?

    Our government is corrupt to the core as well. The CIA assassinates people. Religious institutions are burned down and massacred in this country. They’re trying to outlaw Judaism in San Francisco and Obama is hoping to make being an authentic Catholic a federal offence.

    At least Russia is starting somewhere and at least it hasn’t murdered a hundred million babies like this evil country!

  • Brad Miner

    @Joe: Your logic is inconsistent. If voters always turn down same-sex “marriage,” wouldn’t we expect the amendment process to fail? State legislators in New York were willing to risk re-election by voting for it; I doubt that’s true in most other states.

  • Austin Ruse

    Walter, we kill 1.2 million defenseless babies a year. We are leading the global fight to spread this all over the world. Moreover, we are leading the fight to make sodomy a human right, not the condition of same ssx attraction disorder, but the act and all that goes with it, marriage, adoption, etc, and to make all this equal to other established human rights like freedom of religion. This is why the Church holds the same view as the Russians.

  • Walter

    The Soviet Union was the first country in the world to legalize abortion in all circumstances. The post-Soviet Russian culture continues this legacy. It currently has the highest rate of abortion in the world (though not the highest number, because its population is much smaller than China). I don’t know if accurate statistics exist, but I suspect their total from 1920 surpasses the US.

    A pro-life movement is trying to get off the ground, but as Mr. Ruse points out, it is small and is driven by economic urgency (ie, a shrinking population is a huge economic problem) than a grounding in natural law or religious conviction.

    Re. their government vs ours? For starters, look no further than this week’s debate in the US. It would never happen in Russia, unless Putin hand-picked his opponent.

  • Sean

    Jacob, the Russians have had a staggering number of abortions: during any given year, Russia has the highest number of abortions per woman of child-bearing age in the world (the highest in terms of sheer numbers of abortions, meanwhile, go to either communist China or democratic India).

  • Sue

    Walter is spot on. Jacob and all, just because we’re saying there’s a problem with Russia doesn’t mean there’s no problem in America. In fact, the seeds for the problems in America were laid in the problems of Russia. Which were themselves laid with American and British plutocrats. (Who are themselves also backing Romney, I’m afraid).

    Stalin was concerned about birthrate too, and outlawed abortion for awhile. Putin is a former KGB and looks like he never got a spanking for that. Obama was a red diaper baby, living up to every dream of his father. We are seeing the results of not having insisted on Nuremberg trials for the Communists and their collaborators when the Berlin Wall went down. And Russia now has very slick propaganda for their “pronatalist” image it wants to project.

    I don’t know whether the Russian government is sincere in this or not, but why do we have to affirm the government anyway – why not just the thoroughly prolife individuals and organizations that are working on this. Is it just because you’ve got a hammer (at the UN) that you see this as a nail?

    This could all be ditto’d for the argument that the Islamists are our best allies at the UN. Be choosy about the individuals you ally with.

  • Anya

    @jacob,my understanding is there are more abortions than live births in Russia each year. I know the poverty, drug abuse and alcoholism as I was born into it and lived through it in Russia til I was 12 and 1/2 years old and adopted by my American family. Because of this I am proud that Russia has stood up for life. I am prayerful that they follow this with true actions in their own country.

  • Jack,CT

    Not sure if the best “comparison” in regards
    to Human rights is Russia!

  • Austin Ruse

    Walter, the prolife impulse of the government may be driven by population problems, but the impulse of the rapidly growing movement is based on a deeper understanding. I can assure you the impulse against the homosexual movement by the government and the people is based on a natural understanding that it is wrong.

    Bottom line is that at the UN on social issues, Russia is right and we are wrong.

  • Bill M

    How is a UN resolution going to solve the Russian population bust? Is the claim of this article that the Russian U.N. delegation trying to appeal to domestic audiences? Given that Russia spends all the rest of its time at the UN shoring up support for Cuba, Syria and Iran, might we think that Russia is simply trying to drive a wedge between the West and the developing world? Further, what good is it to champion “traditional values” when the Russian Federation gets to control the Muscovite Patriarchate? This just doesn’t add up.

  • Joe

    @Brad. I said “offered,” not passed. Point being that the same-sex “marriage” effort will gain traction and perhaps get passed by a few states and then ultimately many.

  • ANNE

    With a US election coming up, aren’t we forgetting the real point of the article –
    That OBAMA and his Administration and his Democratic Party of Death are transporting and working for immoral beliefs all over the world.
    It is obvious that the USA desparately needs a change of Administration.

  • Austin Ruse

    Of course Russia has its own geopolitical agenda, and it includes them in places and not us. Does it really matter if it’s them instead of us brokering Syria? What counts where it matters is that Russia tends to bollix up the sexual buccaneers in the west and the eu. NOT MUCH ELSE REALLY MATTERS. The world can survive a great deal of idiocy but not the destruction of womanhood, children, and family.

  • Aeneas

    What can I say, God Bless Russia!

    Perhaps, perhaps…someday Russia may be a Christian state once more? Why not, it could happen. Religion in Russia is on the rise, and the Orthodox Church there has grown vastly in power, it’s no longer a push over to the government.

    There seems to be alot of disdain for Russia here in the comment section. I understand this, Russia was the great enemy not long ago. But guys we need to wake up, today, in this world, WE fit that description now better than Russia does today.

  • Sue

    “WE fit that description now better than Russia does today.”

    Speak for yourself. I am no longer identifying as an American now that both parties have shred the Constitution and spit on the Declaration of Independence. The INALIENABLE right to life of every human, including rape/incest babies was a key element of my former affiliation. Now that this exceptional aspect of America has been thrown out with the trash, I identify instead with those individuals of whatever nation who uphold the Church’s teachings.

    I repeat, both Russia and USA are thugocracy puppets now, manipulated by globalist money.

    For those who consider themselves conoisseurs of debate, here’s a real one to google:

    Olavo de Carvalho Debates Aleksandr Dugin (I)

    “”What are the historical, political, ideological and economic factors and actors that now define the dynamics and configuration of power in the world and what is the U.S. position in what is known as New World Order?””

  • Bill M

    It actually would seem to greatly matter why Russia is advancing this resolution, and whether it might be only for crass geopolitical reasons. If their reasons are merely geopolitical, then we can doubt whether they will be committed to human rights for any longer than is convenient for them, whether this is the beginning of their attempt to form anti-Western pact amongst conservative Muslim countries and whether devising such wedge issues will allow Russia to remain dominant and a hindrance to U.S. power longer than it should. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend.

    There are lots of things wrong with America, and nothing worse than abortion. But it says a lot for America that most people know abortion is wrong and want to chance it, and moreover that arguments against abortion square perfectly with the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. This also raises the question of whether the reform of the American left is best done through the antagonisms of Russia.