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Putin Tries to Reassure on the Olympics

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin is trying to reassure the world that Olympic athletes will not be arrested for little things like carrying rainbow flags during the games, the latest in a string of contradictory statements from the Russian government on the issue.

While Russian officials have reassured the International Olympic Committee that Russia will not discriminate against homosexuals during the Feb. 7-23 Sochi Games, they also have said that the law will be enforced. This has left open the question of what would happen to athletes or fans if they made statements or gestures that could be considered propaganda.

In the interview at his country residence outside Moscow, Putin said that they would not be punished. But he clearly has no intention of allowing a gay pride parade during the Olympics. Last month, he signed a decree banning all demonstrations and rallies in Sochi throughout the Winter Games.

Besides, he says gay people are treated well in his country. He talks to them and everything. And he listens to a gay composer:

“I assure you that I work with these people, I sometimes award them with state prizes or decorations for their achievements in various fields,” Putin said in an interview with The Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television late Tuesday. “We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.”

He added that Russians love Tchaikovsky even though the composer was said to have been a homosexual. “Truth be told, we don’t love him because of that, but he was a great musician and we all love his music,” Putin said.

I bet he even lets them use his bathroom, as long as they don’t spread “propaganda” on the way.

Comments

  1. says

    Besides, he says gay people are treated well in his country. He talks to them and everything.

    And the cops who arrest them let them use their bathrooms!

    Like I said before, this is primarily about isolating Russian people from foreign people, influences and ideas. The vague and contradictory statements will most likely have the effect of getting Olympic officials to advise athletes to stay withiin their designated areas, “just to be sure.”

  2. John Pieret says

    He added that Russians love Tchaikovsky even though the composer was said to have been a homosexual. “Truth be told, we don’t love him because of that, but he was a great musician and we all love his music,” Putin said.

    And those darkies sure have rhythm!

  3. René says

    I always found it rather ironic that the Russian riot police, known for their brutal behaviour especially against gays, are named ОМОН — you can copy this Cyrillic to search for a picture.

  4. scimaths says

    Russia is a violent and macho culture. Amnesty Int have published reports on the rate of domestic violence – aka men beating and killing women at an estimated rate of 9,000 to 14,000 per year (though this never gets the interational calls for boycotts). Alcoholism, drug abuse, and HIV are serious problems. Homophobia, including the violent beatings that are on the rise, is all part of the package.

    Maybe we will get a light shone on some of this, but I honestly don’t hold out much hope.

  5. eric says

    the latest in a string of contradictory statements from the Russian government on the issue.

    I think contradiction is part of the point. The government makes potential protesters have a very real fear of legal retaliation, but with plausible deniability to the IOC and other countries.

  6. exdrone says

    Putin acknowledging a dead guy’s homosexuality to the media and valuing his worth to society is not propaganda. A living Russian giving positive witness of his own homosexuality to the media is propaganda. Why do you people refuse to understand the difference? In the first case, children are reassured, and marriages are unaffected; in the second case, children are corrupted, and marriages are undermined. The next thing you will say is that a group of people gathering to take pride in the accomplishments of a gay person should be allowed. That’s ridiculous. … unless it’s a Tchaikovsky concert. Then it’s okay.

  7. says

    If I were an Olympic athlete (yeah, like that’s ever going to happen) not only would I fear official state action but I would also be more afraid of the gangs of homophobic thugs who go around beating up LGBT people. I’m sure the State Police would immediately jump in to stop this kind of violence and I am sure that the perpetrators will immediately be brought to justice and given the maximum penalties for their crimes. I’m just as sure that I wlll be competing in the next Olympics.

  8. vmanis1 says

    I am not one who believes that history repeats itself, either in the cyclical manner of Toynbee, or the well-known aphorism by Karl Marx, that history repeats itself twice, the first time as tragedy, then as farce. However, there are some nasty resonances of the Nuremberg Laws in the current Russian direction. First we have the existing law that prevents propaganda for `non-traditional sexual orientations’. Next we have a bill already introduced in the Duma, which defines `non-traditional sexual orientation’ as a factor in child custody. What’s next?

    A thought that has been terrifying me recently is that since nobody propagandizes for something that’s immutable, the current Russian orthodoxy on the subject is that being LGBT is something that can be changed. Therefore, the `compassionate’ thing to do is to provide `therapy’ to help people struggling with being LGBT to `change’. Next, for those people who decline the therapy, perhaps it can be administered involuntarily. This sounds like the involuntary commitment of political prisoners to psychiatric hospitals under the Soviets.

    As for the fag-bashing gangs, one only need think of the roving bands of SA thugs who used to beat up Jews while the Nazi government denied any responsibility to see another resonance.

    I am not saying this is inevitable, or even likely. Somewhere along the line, Putin[*] might become convinced that this is doing Russia immense harm in the international community, and pull the plug. Still, we do know what the Nuremberg Laws led to, and I think there is good reason to be apprehensive.

    [*] The fact that there is overwhelming support for these laws in the Duma means nothing. Putin is very clearly the puppetmaster here.

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