In May 2015, Vadim Pokrovsky, the head of the Federal Center for the Fight Against AIDS, announced that Russia is facing an epidemic of HIV. In January 2016, the number of HIV-infected people in Russia reached 1 million known cases. The Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, created by presidential order more than two decades ago, recently presented to the Moscow City Duma a policy proposal for combating the spread of AIDS in Russia. According to the newspaper Kommersant, the institute's staff members—none of whom is a medical specialist—have come to the conclusion that the West is actually working to spread AIDS, and the only way to fight the disease is to promote monogamous and absolutely heterosexual families. Based on Kommersant's report, Meduza breaks down the new plan to fight AIDS into three main points.
The Russian Institute of Strategic Studies (known as “RISI,” in Russian) was created back in 1992. The organization's website says its staff are involved in “matters of national security” and “fighting the falsification of history.” Tamara Guzenkova, one of RISI's resident scholars who worked on the AIDS report, has been vocal in the Russian media as a critic of the post-Maidan leadership in Ukraine. She's also fond of describing the supposed decline of the European Union.
Presenting RISI's new research to the Moscow City Duma were the institute's deputy directors, Tamara Guzenkova and Oksana Petrovskaya, as well as Igor Beloborodov, who heads RISI's team working on demography, migration, and ethno-religious issues. Based on their presentation, RISI appears to believe that the following “three rules” apply to Russia's battle with the spread of AIDS.
1. The spread of AIDS is the work of companies producing condoms, pornography, and sex toys. According to Beloborodov, condom manufacturers are interested in selling more of their product, which is why they intentionally pressure young people to have sex. He also argued that pornography is too easily accessible, and the makers of sex toys are nothing but “lobbyists interested in the population's fornication.”
2. You can't fight AIDS the way the West does. Beloborodov accused Western nations of imposing sex education on students in Russia as a means of “demographic deterrence.” Petrovskaya, meanwhile, said the West ignores “cultural values” when trying to combat AIDS. She said you can study the evidence of this phenomenon simply by looking at how AIDS is confronted in “the more Western [city of] St. Petersburg” and “the more traditional Moscow”: “The earthen primordiality of the naturally growing holy Moscow land stands in opposition to the artificially and rationally organized Petersburg, the main component of which has become the apocalyptics of [the Strugatsky brothers'] the Doomed City.” Guzenkova said “the HIV/AIDS problem is being used as part of the information war against Russia.”
3. Condoms don't help. Igor Beloborodov (inaccurately) quoted a Spanish doctor named Jokin de Irala, the author of a book about sex education. Beloborodov said, “Contraceptives remove the self-preservation role of personal behavior. Five sexual encounters wearing a condom as a teenager are equal to one unprotected encounter.” He went on to say with confidence, “There's no better form of protection against sexually transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS, than the monogamous family—a heterosexual family, it must be emphasized—that rests on loyalty. And I hope they never find a better way.”
For readers wishing to learn more about HIV and AIDS from the scientific community, please consult your doctor or consider visiting resources online, such as the World Health Organization's website on HIV and AIDS.