The director of the Institute of Political Studies in Moscow has defended Russia’s anti-gay laws, saying they protect children against “homosexualism” and has argued the case for gay conversion therapy.

Dismissing calls for a boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympics, which are being held in the Russian city of Sochi in February, Sergey Markov told BBC Radio 5 Live: “There are some talks [sic] about boycott, but we know the position of most of the serious politicians – and all I would say [is the] Olympic and sports politicians are totally against such a boycott”. He added: “Nobody believes that a real boycott can happen”.

Mr Markov then defended Russia’s anti-gay legislation, saying it protected children against “gay activity” and “homosexualism”. He warned: “gays want gay sex – homosexual sex. Gay politicians want to create conflicts and problems, different political movements and so on.” Mr Markov then advocated gay conversion therapy, the discredited medical practice of trying to change sexuality from gay to straight, describing it as “special medicine”.

BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Sam Walker quizzed him on the medicine remark, at which he replied: “Medicine…er, can be in use for the moving from the homosexual sexuality to the normal sexuality…”

He added: “Now we have some different medicine research which is ready to make… some medicine conditions move [from] the homosexual […] to the more normal sexuality.”

Mr Markov then claimed it was “gay politicians” who were “blocking such medical research”.

Last week, officials in Russia banned Swedish couples from adopting Russian children because of Sweden’s support for equal marriage.