These young women are the members of Pussy Riot
, the punk rock band that staged a whimsical protest of Vladimir Putin's policies and were subsequently jailed for it. That photograph is pre-trial; the women were trucked off to Siberia and slammed into isolated rat cellars, as is the way of it when it comes to the Russian justice system. It looks like they're going to be released by a special amnesty measured drafted by Putin (alongside some Greenpeace protesters that were given the same treatment for obstructing some oil rig work): Big Brother cares so deeply for them, you see. He hates to have to hurt them like that... hopefully they won't force Him to do it to them again.
Violence against the LGBT community in Russia is ongoing, ranging from neo-Nazi gangs using social media sites to lure gay teenagers to discrete locations, where the teenagers are tortured and sometimes killed on camera, to more 'old school' things like thugs pulling-up in front of gay clubs / bars and just shooting-up the place (or trying to gas all of the occupants). Of course, the Kremlin is very quick to point-out that these acts of violence are not state sanctioned - but why would they need to be? Putin's cult of personality & the chilling effect of Moscow's selective policing has made a KGB-like entity irrelevant: any burglary or terrorism can now be corwdsourced instead.
It's quite brilliant, so long as you're willing to eat the cost of domestic stability; no intrigue, no way to directly blame the Kremlin for human rights abuses (because Siberia doesn't count, of course, for some reason), to spy game or direct expenses for keeping a state within a state operational. Just have the police turn their head wherever is most convenient.
Russia has cancelled most of it's foreign adoption programs citing fears that gay-friendly countries might corrupt their orphans, leaving perhaps thousands of children to suffer without hop in Russian orphanages, it's browbeat the Ukraine into breaking-off partnership with the EU (this is an ongoing crisis that may yet see a positive resolution, but I'm not hopeful) and there are murmurings of possible embassy closures.
I've had enough of this crap:
If there is even a single stripe of courage left in the soft-spined politics of the west, the Sochi games should absolutely be cancelled, and it should be said very loudly and very clearly why these games were cancelled. I understand that this will hurt athletes, but look at what we're going to be glamorizing if we turn a blind eye to this. It was bad enough to hold the games in mainland China even after seeing the appalling conditions present at the rehearsals - but at least the Chinese government is putting some effort into trying to clean-up it's act. Russia is the same as it's always been - a place dominated by politics of fear.
If the IOC can't find it within itself to either move the game to a different city (probably too short notice at this point) or cancel them outright for this year, then fuck them. I'll become a very vehemently anti-Olympics person. You can't have an organization that claims to represent the interests of international community & human diversity and have it hosting celebrations in a country that is violently opposed to either of those values.