Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Kremlin Views Sex Education as a Threat to Traditional Values and Itself, Activists Say

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 15 – The Kremlin’s attacks on homosexuality have attracted international outrage, but another part of its campaign against sexual and personal freedom has not, activists say – and that is the Putin regime’s efforts to shut down all forms of sex education because in its view, this subject at all threatens the traditional values Putin wants to promote.

            Despite a 2013 commitment to the Council of Europe to open such classes, Moscow first dragged its feet and now is actively campaigning against sex education, women’s rights activists say, an approach that is harming an enormous number of people and leading to violence of the worst kind (semnasem.org/articles/2024/02/14/v-rossii-seksualnosti-net).

            But even more than those direct consequences, the Kremlin’s attack on sex education efforts is making it far easier for the Putin regime to make all personal issues taboo and thus render the population more susceptible to the kinds of pressure that the current regime is imposing on the Russian people.

            Olga Shchegolyeva, a biology teacher in St. Petersburg who has tried to introduce sex education modules in her classes, says that when people ask how sex education is going in Russia, there is only one answer: it doesn’t exist and never has. For most, sexual enlightenment is linked to debauchery” rather than learning about oneself and personal boundaries.”

            As a result, she continues, “introducing full-fledged sex education in Russia is tantamount to the state giving official recognition to LGBT+ people, acknowledging problems with domestic and sexualized violence, and approving the sexual liberation of society, everything that contradicts traditional values.”

             In reporting on this, Horizontal Russia journalist Anna Ivantsova says that the roots of this lie in the Soviet Union when people infamously said “there is no sex in the USSR.” But now, leaders who grew up in Soviet times are doing everything they can to ensure that “in Russia, there is no sexuality” – or more precisely that everything about it is covered with shame.

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