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K-State Today

October 31, 2013

Vernon Larson Lecture Nov. 5: 'Russia, Gay Rights and the Sochi Olympics'

Submitted by Julie L. Pentz

David Stone will present "Russia, Gay Rights and the Sochi Olympics" for the Vernon Larson International Lecture at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 5, in Room 206 at the K-State Student Union.

Stone has taught in the history department at Kansas State University since 1999. He specializes in the history of Russia and the Soviet Union. He received his doctorate from Yale University in 1997.

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. Stone, who teaches Russian history 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.

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