President Obama may meet with human rights and LGBTQ activists during an upcoming trip to Russia for the G-20 summit, according to a report from BuzzFeed.
Four Russia non-governmental organizations have reportedly been invited to attend the meeting, which is scheduled for Thursday. Invited groups and individuals include human rights activists Lev Ponomarev and Lyudmila Alexeyeva and gay rights groups Coming Out and the LGBT Network. In a statement to BuzzFeed, LGBT Network director Igor Kochetkov declined to comment on the alleged meeting, saying only that he had been “asked not to say anything.”
Obama will not be meeting with President Vladimir Putin while in St. Petersburg. Last month, Obama abruptly canceled his scheduled meeting with Putin after Russia granted asylum to former National Security Agency contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden.
While this may be Obama's first meeting with LGBTQ groups in Russia, arranging a meeting with activists and critics of the Kremlin is not an unprecedented move. As BuzzFeed notes, Obama met with civil society and opposition activists during his last visit to Russia in 2009.
Obama addressed Russia's anti-gay law on "The Tonight Show" back in August: