James Rodgers is an academic at City University and he used to be a journalist. He was a foreign correspondent for the BBC and worked in Russia for long periods between 1991 and 2009.
As an immigrant from one of the first countries to legalize gay marriage, I agree with you [about Putin treating LGBT people badly]! However, a lot of people I see are just blaming Putin. […] We also have to consider the public who voted for him. Some of those people are most likely agreeing with him and voting for it. I saw this in another comment, but if gay men are being murdered for being gay, I suppose some of Russia must agree with him.
From: Notaslubbyseal | Mulgrave Primary School
It is true to say that there is a lot of anti-gay prejudice in Russia. People who support gay rights have been fined for their activities. The European Court of Human Rights decided in the summer that one of Russia’s laws ‘encouraged homophobia’, but that does not mean that Russia will change the law. Being gay was illegal in Russia until 1993, and there are still a lot of people who are against LGBT rights.
Safety is more important [than freedom] because if people don’t feel safe they will get in to wars. If you are involved in a war then lots of people are in danger and they lose their freedom anyway. For example in Syria people are running away as they are not safe to stay in their homes. They have lost the freedom to enjoy their lives.
From: LP | Chiltern Way Academy
This is a very interesting point, and one which is relevant to the way that Russia has been governed since Mr Putin first became the President in the year 2000. For most of the last century, Russia was a Communist country. That meant that everyone was supposed to be equal, but in fact senior people in the Communist Party had privileges which other people did not. While Russia was a Communist country, the Communist Party was in charge, and other political parties did not exist. In 1991, the Communist Party lost power. After that, people had more freedom, but many also became very poor – while a very few became very rich. For that reason, a lot of Russians, especially people who remember the 1990s, think that democracy means that people will be poor. For the first years that Mr Putin was in power, many ordinary Russians became better off, and they are very grateful for that. Others, though, want more freedom and say that they want another President. Many of them went out onto the streets to protest on October 7th, which was Mr Putin’s birthday.
"While the UK and Russia do have their differences at the moment, the leaders of both countries understand that there are many ways of addressing these without going to war."
Is it illegal for Vladimir Putin to be in power for more than 17 years or because he is the government and ruler of Russia does it not matter?
From: Bat Queen211 | Michael Faraday Primary School
No, it is not illegal. Mr Putin served two terms as President of Russia from 2000-2008. The Russian constitution – the laws which say how the country must be governed – only allow a president to serve two consecutive terms. So in 2008, Mr Putin stepped down as president, only to return when he won the Presidential election in 2012. In March, he is expected to stand for President again. A victory then – and he faces no serious opposition – would permit him to stay in power until 2024.
In your opinion do you think that the UK should start a war with Russia?
From: LionessLion | Allhallows Primary Academy
I think that would be a disastrous idea, and thankfully it is not likely to happen. While the UK and Russia do have their differences at the moment, which means that they often disagree, the leaders of both countries understand that there are many ways of addressing these without going to war. For example, western countries have currently put sanctions on Russia. That means that some businesses are not working with Russia in the way they did before, so Russia is not able to get all the things it wants from other countries.
You are not free if you can’t speak up because you don’t have freedom of speech or press and that’s one of the main things in freedom.
I think people should speak up anyway, even if they could get hurt or maybe even killed. They are standing up for Russia, and will go right into our history books.
From: StarryLilacUnicorn | Streatham Wells Primary School
There are a lot of people who would agree that you are not free if you are not able to say what you want. There are lots of examples throughout history of people being hurt or killed for speaking up. In Russia in the last twenty years, there have unfortunately been examples of both politicians and journalists being killed, but the people who agreed with them do their best to make sure that they are remembered for what they stood for.