November 12, 2016 – Brunswick, Maine
Vladimir “Volodya” Shestakov was my host and guide in St. Petersburg, Russia. Volodya is a retired biologist and a very informed person with many friends in the United States. His English is excellent and this conversation is very informative and enlightening. Volodya talked about President Putin, Syria and the possibility of direct confrontation with America. He expressed his opinion on the events in Crimea and Ukraine and the threats to Russian security with so many US/NATO bases surrounding Russia, and he clarified that Russia is not homophobic. Gay relationships are allowed in the Russian Federation and gays and lesbians, once persecuted by Stalin and Khrushchev, are tolerated. Public displays and parades would not be acceptable to anybody in Russia.