Russian President Vladimir Putin says that athletes who wear rainbow flags at the Sochi Olympics will not be punished under the anti-gay propaganda law. Despite the very existence of this law, Putin also claims that homosexuals are not discriminated against in his country.
“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 told The Associated Press, referring to the gays. “We have absolutely normal relations, and I don’t see anything out of the ordinary here.”
A likely, and familiar, story.
See, “these people” and good ole Vlad Putin are on good, ordinary terms. Terms that preclude “these people” from being openly gay, at least in the presence of children, for fear of punishment by the government for propagandizing the youth with their “non-traditional sexual relations.”
Previously, the International Olympic Committee had been reassured by the Kremlin that athletes and spectators at the Sochi Olympics would be exempt from the law, which the Russian government immediately contradicted. Hard. Not only would everyone be subject to the law, but the IOC also reminded athletes that it doesn’t go for any of that propaganda stuff either.
Just to make sure everything went smoothly, last month Putin also banned any and all demonstrations/rallies in Sochi during the Games. Meanwhile, homophobic and transphobic violence towards Russia’s LGBT community remains unchecked, so really the lives of “these people” to which Putin’s referring are anything but ordinary.
And that whole de-gaying of Tchaikovsky thing? Putin admits that that’s one of the least savory parts of the composer’s legacy. “Truth be told, we don’t love him because of that,” he said, “but he was a great musician and we all love his music.”
And speaking of which, maybe Putin’s willing to change his tune, after all — he did offer to meet with LGBT activists…should they ever ask to see him.