Russia elections: Vladimir Putin to run again for president
Vladimir Putin has announced his intention to stand in the Russian presidential elections.
Putin has been in power either as prime minister or president of Russia since 2000.
If he wins the March 2018 election he will be eligible to serve until 2024.
He made the announcement in a speech to workers at a car factory in the Volga city of Nizhny Novgorod.
“I will put forward my candidacy for the post of president of the Russian federation,” he said.
Opinion polls suggest he will win the election easily.
Putin has backed many deeply homophobic laws during his time in charge of Russia.
Researchers found that hate crimes against the LGBT community have doubled since the introduction of an “anti-gay propaganda” law in Russia by Putin.
The law, which came into action five years ago, has seen a sharp spike in violent attacks across the country, reports Reuters.
200 out of the 250 crimes studied are acts of murder, according to the Centre for Independent Social Research.
Putin’s spokesperson also denied there was a purge against gay people in Chechnya.
He recently claimed that it is his “duty” to stop gay people getting married so that people have more babies.
The Russian President made the claim in an extended interview with pro-Russian journalist Oliver Stone, which aired on Showtime in the US this week.
In the interview, Putin explains the rationale behind his anti-LGBT policies.
He said: “I can tell you this… as head of state today, I believe it’s my duty to uphold traditional values and family values.
“Why? Because same-sex marriages will not produce any children.
“God has decided, and we have to care about birth rates in our country. We have to reinforce families.
“That doesn’t mean that there should be any persecution against anyone.”
He also rallied against same-sex adoption, claiming it’s better for children to grow up in a “traditional” family.
The Russian leader said: “I cannot say that [gay adoption[ is welcomed by our public.
“I say this frankly. As in my view, children will have a freer choice when they become adults if they grow up in a traditional family.”
Same-sex adoption is banned in Russia.
He has denied the country has a “problem” with gay people, claiming: “Russia recognises and does not infringe on the rights of non-traditional sexual orientation.”
Putin also claimed that the country’s record of homophobia is not reality – and is a “label attached by other countries.”
He continued: “It is a label attached to the Russian Federation by other countries, especially by those which have criminal responsibility for people of non-traditional sexual orientation.
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“[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.”
“We are not punishing anyone, 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.”