Russia accuses EU of ‘not respecting’ Olympics and of ‘aggressively promoting’ homosexuality

Nick Duffy January 24, 2014
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A Russian official has accused the European Union of trying to impose an “alien view” of homosexuality on other countries, and of misusing the Olympics to do so.

Speaking two weeks before the opening of the Winter Olympic Games, Russian human rights official Konstantin Dolgov criticised EU members for seeking to influence Russia’s anti-gay laws, and for using the Olympics as a political pawn.

Speaking to press in Brussels, he said: “If a skater is planning to come as a member of the Olympic team not to compete, but to fight against a law in the host country, it is very bad. It means that this particular skater does not respect Olympic principles.”

He was in Brussels to launch his study on civil liberties in the EU, which says: “Attempts have been made to enforce on other countries an alien view of homosexuality and same-sex marriages as a norm of life and some kind of a natural social phenomenon.”

He also said in an interview with The Voice of Russia: “There is absolutely no discrimination of LGBT community in Russia as such. There definitely are some incidents, but incidents happen everywhere.”

“I had to counter the widely and wildly politicised views expressed by some representatives of the so-called Russian human rights community.”

The remarks echoed those of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev yesterday, who claimed that Russia’s ‘gay propaganda’ law “has not been applied anywhere”, and that he was not aware of a single Russian who had complained.

Several high-profile heads of state, including Barack Obama, French president Francois Hollande and German president Joachim Gauck, have said that they will not attend the Sochi Olympics.

EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding will also snub the event, announcing recently that she “will certainly not go to Sochi as long as minorities are treated the way they are under the current Russian legislation.”

On Wednesday, Sir Elton John offered to take President Vladimir Putin to personally meet Russians affected by the law, after Putin gave an interview claiming that millions of Russians “love Elton John”.

Russia passed a law in June 2013 banning distribution of “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” among minors, which means gay people cannot express their views on LGBT rights to anyone under the age of 18.

On the issue of whether athletes or spectators at next month’s Winter Olympics could face arrest, President Putin said last week: “Protest actions and propaganda are two slightly different things. Similar, but from a legal point of view, protesting against a law is not the same as propaganda for homosexuality or child abuse.”

More: anti-gay laws, David Cameron, Elton John, 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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