Following his cancellation of a bilateral meeting with President Vladimir Putin, U.S. President Barack Obama may infuriate the Kremlin further by meeting Russian human rights activists, including LGBT rights groups, during his upcoming trip to St Petersburg for 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.
It is believed to be the first time Obama has met with members of the Russian LGBT community. Asked about Russia’s anti-LGBT law in August, Obama told Jay Leno that he had “no patience for countries that try to treat gays or lesbians or transgender persons in ways that intimidate them or are harmful to them.
Read more: http://www.buzzfeed.com/maxseddon/ob...-g20-sidelines