Anyone with a knowledge of Olympic history knows that boycotts of the games have had their own problems. Like it or not, the enormous investment of time and energy that athletes invest in participating is nothing like on the same scale that it takes the rest of us to walk past a Chick-fil-A or take a pass on Florida orange juice (ala Anita Bryant).
The competing boycotts of the 1980s (Moscow and then LA) are widely seen as having accomplished little.
What has largely been missing from the debate is asking what do Russian LGBTs themselves want others to do. Their opinion is not monolithic — the bar owners and other “good homosexuals” have typically poo poo’d pickets and demonstrations, not unlike the “good homosexuals” here who denounced Stonewall, etc. back in the day.
On the other hand, those who have done the most to put the issue of LGBT rights on the Russian national agenda, organizing illegal demonstrations in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and many other cities, hand in hand with organizing legal fights going right up to the European Court, have a different opinion.
Here is what Nikolai Alekseev, the most prominent among them, had to say on Facebook on Saturday night (our time):
It’s official! Organising Committee of Moscow Gay Pride and founders of the banned Pride House Sochi decided today against the boycott of Winter Olympics in Sochi and instead to organise Winter Sochi Pride on the day of the opening of Olympic Games on 7 February 2014. Join us! It will be much more effective to draw attention to official homophobia in Russia all around the world and expose the hypocrisy of the International Olympic Committee which went into discriminatory agreements with Russian regime and of the European Court of Human Rights which still has not considered our complaint concerning the unlawful denial to register Pride House Sochi! Vive Sochi Pride 2014
I have been more than a bit disturbed about the ignorance among many LGBTs in the West — signaled by their hints of superiority — which ignore the complicity of our U.S. politicians, esp. the Obama administration, for the current state of affairs in Russia. Yes, the Russian politicians are primarily to blame in this instance, but the Obama administration has been crassly cynical about aiding and abetting this in order to promote its own geopolitical interests.