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Why is Vladimir Putin so determined to criminalize homosexuality?

Russian president scapegoating gays to distract from failing policies, writes Harvey Fierstein

Russian president Vladimir Putin has "declared war on homosexuals and so far, the world has mostly been silent," laments actor and playwright Harvey Fierstein

"The world remains almost completely ignorant of Mr. Putin’s agenda," writes Fierstein in a July 22 New York Times opinion piece that shines a light on Putin's possible motivations. 

"Historically this kind of scapegoating is used by politicians to solidify their bases and draw attention away from their failing policies, and no doubt this is what’s happening in Russia," writes Fierstein.

"Counting on the natural backlash against the success of marriage equality around the world and recruiting support from conservative religious organizations, Mr. Putin has sallied forth into this battle, figuring that the only opposition he will face will come from the left, his favorite boogeyman." 

Recently Fierstein took to Facebook with a passionate call to arms to tackle Putin: "There are only two ways to deal with a tyrant: Starve out the rat, or destroy him."