Europe-Asia Studies 70(4) pp 638-665

This study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in the Russian Federation uses frame analysis of civil society input into the UN Universal Periodic Review. It reveals a stark state–civil society ‘disconnect’ reflecting oppressive government practices, including Law No. 135-FZ on ‘non-traditional sexual relations’. This raises wider questions about the efficacy of the review system, not least because issues of performativity and legitimation can be seen to facilitate authoritarian resilience. This allows the ruling elite to continue to dissemble by espousing universal rights yet strategically framing them as heteronormative, integral to the protection of ‘traditional values’ and inimical to identity-based rights claims.