David Stone has taught in the History Department at Kansas State University since 1999 and specializes in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. In addition to having received his Ph.D from Yale University in 1997, Dr. Stone has written several books on Russian history and will discuss how gay rights and the Sochi Olympics fit into its storied past.
Russia has been in the news in recent months because of its anti-homosexual legislation and the resulting calls in the West for an Olympic boycott. Professor David R. Stone, who teaches Russian history at Kansas State and has written several books on the subject, will discuss the Olympics, gay rights, and how those fit both into a larger context of Russian history and the particular politics of Vladimir Putin’s Russia today. Stone will suggest that the two sides are largely talking past each other: Western voices describe the issue as one of individual rights: the ability of individuals to determine how they will live their lives. In Russia, by contrast, the issue is looked at in cultural and national terms rather than individual terms. Russian opinion generally regards the West as hypocritically and unilaterally imposing its own values on other societies. Ironically, Russian civil society has raised many concerns about the Sochi Olympics, but those have received far less attention in the West.