Voices from Russia

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Putin’s Message to Gays in Sochi: “Leave Children in Peace”

00 Putin vs Obama. 11.11.13


On Friday, President Vladimir Putin said that gay people should feel comfortable at the Sochi Winter Olympics, but “leave children in peace”. In June, Putin signed into law a bill forbidding promotion of homosexuality amongst minors, sparking months of controversy ahead of the 7-23 February Olympics in Sochi. The law’s proponents argue that they intended it to protect children from harmful influences, but critics allege the move restricts freedom of speech and is part of a broader crackdown on the Russian gay community.

Putin said at a meeting with Olympic volunteers in the mountain village of Krasnaya Polyana, the venue outside Sochi for Olympic snow sports, that gay sex isn’t a crime in Russia, so, gay people can “feel calm, at ease, but leave children in peace, please”. The remarks come a day after Putin reiterated that wouldn’t be “no discrimination” at the Games. He previously said that Russia would “do everything” to make sure of a warm welcome for Sochi guests “regardless … of sexual orientation”.

The MVD, which controls the police, shall enforce the controversial anti-gay law at the Olympics. There’ll also be tight restrictions on protests, which must take place at a park in a small town that lies more than 12 kilometres from any Olympic venues. US President Barack Obama won’t attend the Games, and his nomination of two gay former athletes to his country’s delegation was widely interpreted as a comment on the Russian law.

17 January 2014




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