President Barack Obama is set to meet with Russian LGBT rights groups as well as several other Russian human rights activists at this week’s G20 summit in St. Petersburg, BuzzFeed reported Monday.
Obama cancelled a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in August amid tension over the country’s offer of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden. The news of Obama’s planned meeting with Russian LGBT activists is likely to be viewed as a jab at Putin, who signed an anti-gay law earlier this year.
Four Russian non-governmental organizations told BuzzFeed Monday they had been invited to the meeting, scheduled for this Thursday at St. Petersburg’s Crowne Plaza Hotel. The groups include veteran human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva, legal aid NGO director Pavel Chikov, and Coming Out, a St. Petersburg-based LGBT organization. Another local LGBT group, the LGBT Network, is believed to be attending, though director Igor Kochetkov declined to comment to BuzzFeed, saying that he had been “asked not to say anything.”