Since 2013, Russia has put forward a socially conservative norms and values paradigm that challenges the European Union’s (EU’s) normative pull in Eastern Partnership countries like Ukraine – especially when it comes to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) policies. The adoption of legislation on ‘propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors’ that same year and the homophobic discourse relating to the situation reinforced the link between state violence and homosexuality as a tool for geopolitical othering in Russia. Notwithstanding Ukraine's normative isomorphism towards the EU, the difficulties surrounding LGBTI activism since the signing of the Association Agreement illustrate that also in Ukraine the risk of extra-judicial violence and geopolitical othering remains. Yet at the same time, Ukraine's normative isomorphism towards the EU prevents policymakers from state violence towards and geopolitical othering, thereby effectively setting their state policies apart in an ever divergent path from their Russian neighbour.
European Foreign Affairs Review