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Russian lawmakers and Putin allies want Canadian ambassador to ‘burn in hell’ for ‘promoting LGBT+ agenda’

Nick Duffy June 30, 2020
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Canadian Ambassador to Russia Alison LeClaire

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks to Canadian Ambassador to Russia Alison LeClaire (ALEXANDER ZEMLIANICHENKO/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pro-Putin lawmakers in Russia have called for Canada’s ambassador to be punished for supposedly promoting an “LGBT+ agenda” in the country.

Allies of Putin have raged at ambassador Alison LeClaire after she issued a joint statement with ambassadors from the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand “calling upon the government of the Russian Federation to adhere to its stated commitment to protecting the rights of all citizens” including LGBT+ people.

Canada’s Alison LeClaire faces anger in Russia over Pride Month celebrations.

LeClaire also posted a video marking Pride Month, in which she called out an “increase in violence and intimidation of the [LGBT+] community by local authorities and other actors” in Russia.

Amid a week-long referendum on constitutional changes that is underway in Russia, LeClaire also alluded to “proposals for constitutional amendments that if adopted would lead to an increasingly less inclusive national legal framework”.

Ahead of the vote, allies of Putin have been accused of exploiting public homophobia in order to convince them to back reforms that would consolidate power in the hands of the Russian leader.

Canada's Ambassador Alison LeClaire and Russia's President Vladimir Putin
Canada’s ambassador Alison LeClaire and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (Alexei Nikolsky/TASS via Getty Images)

The various measures, which can only be approved as a package or rejected entirely, includes a passage that would define “the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman” – a largely symbolic move, given gay weddings and same-sex adoptions are banned in Russia and unlikely to be legalised.

Critics say the real intent of the reforms is a provision to reset the clock on presidential term limits – allowing Vladimir Putin to stay in power for another decade, rather than leave office when his current term ends in 2024.

Pro-Putin lawmakers want Canada’s ambassador to ‘burn in hell’.

Given the apparent eagerness to turn the referendum into a vote on LGBT+ issues, Russia’s state media and pro-Putin lawmakers have unsurprisingly seized upon LeClaire’s comments.

CBC reports that Russian TV show 60 Minutes dedicated an entire segment to discussing the clip of LeClaire.

Pyotr Tolstoy, of Putin’s United Russia party, said: “She will burn in hell. This woman, the ambassador of Canada, is a typical representative of this type of single, middle aged ‘dame’ who are activists for the promotion of LGBT+ agendas in Europe, in America, in Canada, and now here.”

Igor Korotchenko of pro-Kremlin outlet National Defence added: “At the very minimum, this ambassador should be called in by the ministry of foreign affairs, and she should be officially and decisively be issued a protest of meddling in the internal affairs of Russia.”

LeClaire and other ambassadors have marked Pride Month on a number of previous occasions previously without the level of public anger.

Ahead of the referendum, Putin allies put out an anti-gay advert aiming to stoke homophobic sentiment in the country.

The ad, which depicted a boy being adopted by two men and forced to wear a dress, concluded with the message: “Decide the future of the country. Vote for the amendments to the constitution.”

More: Alison LeClaire, Canada, Homophobia, Russia, Vladimir Putin

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