Russia: Group plans to hold gay-inclusive ‘open games’ just after Sochi Winter Olympics

Joseph McCormick October 29, 2013
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A group in Russia has announced plans to hold a “gay games” in Moscow just days after the Winter Olympics take place in Sochi in February 2014.

Russia has been heavily criticised because a federal bill banning gay “propaganda”, which was signed into law by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin in June.

It prescribes fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under the age of 18 – ranging from 4,000 roubles (£78) for an individual to 1m roubles (£19,620) for organisations.

The Winter Games are due to be held in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi in February 2014.

Viktor Romanov, the chairman of the board of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, said the Moscow event will be for amateurs, and will open after the closing ceremony at Sochi.

“We are starting on February 26 so that people who want to — sportspeople, officials, journalists — can travel from Sochi to Moscow to support us,” Romanov told AFP in an interview late Monday.

“We will be grateful to any official or any famous figure who comes to support us.”

Current plans will see the Russian Open games take place in Moscow from 26 February to 2 March 2014.

Romanov denied that the games would be in breach of the law.

“The law does not cover us because we are not doing propaganda of homosexuality, but propaganda of sport and a healthy lifestyle,” Romanov said. “We aren’t breaking the law.”

The group is not obliged to apply for permission from authorities to hold the event.

Campaigners note that there has been an increase in violence and state persecution against LGBT people in Russia following the passing of the laws.

In September, Mr Putin insisted that the legislation only bans the “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors,” and argued that there was “no infringement on the rights of sexual minorities.”

Mr Putin added that although some European countries have introduced same-sex marriage, “the Europeans are dying out… and gay marriages don’t produce children.”

In the same month the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stated it was satisfied Russia’s anti-gay laws did not threaten the Olympic Charter.

In response, Amnesty International accused the IOC of missing an opportunity to defend LGBT equality in the global sporting arena.




More: anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Europe, G20, Moscow, putin, Russia, Russia, sochi olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics, Sochi Winter Olympics 2014, St Petersburg, Stephen Fry, Vladimir Putin, Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics 2014

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