While meeting with civil rights leaders this week, Vladimir Putin claimed that Russia has absolutely no issue with gay people, and that any accusations of homophobia against his country are fabrications concocted by the West.
“Russia recognizes and does not infringe on the rights of non-traditional sexual orientation,” Putin said.
He went on to say that his country’s record of homophobia as reported by the international media is simply inaccurate. Russia loves and respects gay people. Don’t believe the hype.
“It is a label attached to the Russian Federation by other countries,” Putin alleged. “Especially by those which have criminal responsibility for people of non-traditional sexual orientation.”
Putin may claim this to be true, but these truly horrifying videos of violence against LGBT people in Russia don’t lie.
He continued: “[Homosexuality] is not the choice of our society, but those are people whose rights are not cut. [It’s not our] intention to persecute people of whatever non-traditional orientation.”
Evidently Putin doesn’t recall the more than 30 people who were arrested during last year’s Gay Pride celebration in Moscow for no apparent reason.
Or the four Dutch tourists who were arrested and banned from the country for three years for filming a documentary about gay rights in Russia.
Or the arrests of more than a dozen gay rights activists who dared to wave rainbow flags and sing the national anthem during this year’s Winter Olympics.
Oh yeah, then there was that whole “homosexual propaganda” bill The Russian State Duma passed by a vote of 434-0 in June 2013.
“We are not punishing anyone,” Putin babbled, “but traditional family, healthy nation — those are our choices. One does not exclude the other, and one does not affect the other. I believe, a balanced approach like this is absolutely correct.”