MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday vowed there would be no discrimination against gays at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, despite a storm of controversy over a new law banning the dissemination of gay “propaganda” to minors.
In an interview with Channel One television, Putin dismissed speculation about the law and argued that the legislation was directed only against the propaganda of “non-traditional” sexual relations among minors.
“We don’t have any laws pointed against persons with a non-traditional sexual orientation here in Russia,” Putin said.
The Russian President added: “Russia has adopted a law that prohibits the propaganda of unconventional sex relations among minors, which is a completely different case.”
The law on gay “propaganda”, which was signed by Putin earlier this year, has prompted calls for a boycott of Sochi or for the Games to be moved outside Russia.
“I can assure you that during the Olympics or any other major sports events, Russia will strictly stick to the Olympic principles which forbid any kind of discrimination of people on any basis,” Putin said.
Putin added that the law was aimed not at discrimination but reversing Russia’s alarming demographic decline.
“The people who initiated the enactment of this bill acted on the premise that the same-sex marriages cannot produce children,” the president said.
“Meanwhile, Russia is experiencing certain demographic problems and we’re interested to have more traditional families and more children.”
He noted that most people believe that the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky was gay. “So what? There is no need to make a mountain out of a molehill and nothing terrible is happening in the country.” AFP