From the AFP, via Yahoo - We have a news story that will sound very familiar to Americans. Surprise! Yes, we Americans have this very same debate regarding the nature of safe sex promotion and various groups which promote it, versus churches, conservative parents groups, conservative congressmen, etc.
As AIDS cases rise in Russia, tactics to fight the disease have become a divisive issue with some politicians charging that education on safe sex pushed by Western groups amounts to promotion of immorality and calling on President Vladimir Putin to intervene.
"In the guise of AIDS prevention, Western foundations encourage pedophilia and prostitution," Lyudmila Stebenkova, a member of the Moscow municipal legislature representing the pro-Kremlin United Russia party, charged recently.
"They even show children how to put on a condom!" she complained.
Shocked by a UNICEF film distributed to Moscow schools, Stebenkova urged the Moscow legislature - which, like the national parliament, is controlled by United Russia - to vote in favor of an appeal calling on Putin to limit the activities of international anti-AIDS groups in Russia.
A draft text of the proposed appeal to Putin has received the backing of Patriarch Alexy II, head of the Russian Orthodox Church.
This was not the first time that the country's authorities, increasingly out of synch with the West, have addressed the issue.
Stebenkova, who chairs the city's health commission, had already drawn the ire of AIDS-combatting groups after recently launching a poster campaign in Moscow dominated by the slogan: "There is no safe sex."
Critics interpreted the slogan as an attack on contraception use and a call for abstinence.
"We're buying AIDS prevention programs from countries we were at war with a few years ago," said Vadim Pokrovsky, chief of the federal center on preventing and fighting AIDS.
While I agree with promotion of safe sex and sexual education, within the United States it seems to be started at earlier and earlier ages, and with undesirable messages and subtexts (this is my opinion). Sexual education seems to have become so liberal in the past decade, to the point that even liberal minded people question the methods and messages favored by groups such as Planned Parenthood.
These groups within Russia are picking up the identical message. Although this sounds like mostly conservative backlash - Russia can be surprisingly conservative. There is a very real dichotomy within Russia, between the decadent and lurid versus the traditional and religious. The West positions itself yet again to suffer another backlash from conservative Russian elements, through guilt of association.