Putin tells gays attending Sochi Olympics to “leave kids alone”

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that gays attending the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, as either athletes, media or guests, won’t be arrested under Russia’s draconian new anti-gay propaganda law, provided that they “leave kids alone.”

Putin’s comments contradicted earlier assurances, given in an interview in September, that the anti-gay law would not apply to Olympians.

In other words, Vladimir Putin just reiterated the fact that the anti-gay law does apply to the Olympics, and that athletes, guests and media who run afoul of the law will be thrown in jail.

Russia passed draconian anti-gay law this past summer

Russia passed the law, banning “gay propaganda,” last summer as part of a larger crackdown on dissent and minorities in the country.  The ban is so broad that it would likely make it illegal for anyone to be openly gay, unless they publicly profess that they hate themselves.

Putin used to run the domestic equivalent of the KGB.

Putin used to run the domestic equivalent of the KGB.

The ban also makes it illegal for straight people to express any kind of public support for gay people.  A Russian newspaper recently ran afoul of the law for simply including a quote from a gay person in an article about that person losing their job because they’re gay.

And Russia’s Jewish autonomous region was recently investigated by Moscow because its flag has a rainbow on it, and the rainbow is one of the symbols of the gay rights movement (fortunately for the Jewish region, Moscow deemed their flag to be not-gay).

Interior Ministry and sports minister affirmed that law would apply to Olympians

Shortly after the law was passed, Russia’s sports minister Vitaly Mutko, and the Interior Ministry, both affirmed that the Olympic athletes, media and guests would be arrested if they violated the new law. Nonetheless, many in the media mistakenly interpreted Putin’s September interview as evidence that the law would be suspended during the Olympics. Put has now made clear that that is not the case.

Pedophilia charge long-since discredited

The Washington Post article this morning about Putin’s new threat against Olympians, which was otherwise quite good, did not mention that the gay-pedophilia canard was discredited decades ago by the western scientific community.

From the American Psychological Association:

Despite a common myth, homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.

The Post risked leaving the impression, with any readers who aren’t terribly informed on the topic, that perhaps the allegation was true. It’s not enough to say that human rights activists won’t like the accusation that gays are a threat to children. The media needs to be clear in their reporting on this that the accusation is a lie that was debunked years ago.  Not only are many Americans probably not aware of this fact, people like Putin are betting that his own citizens have no idea as to the truth on this matter.  Thus, it behooves the media to not simply leave defamatory, and untrue, allegations dangling.

Russian Foreign Ministry document calls gays "queers."

Russian Foreign Ministry document calls gays “queers.”

Putin also added – falsely – that, unlike the US, Russia does not criminalize sex between gay people.  In fact, the US Supreme Court struck down those law, in the remaining states that had them, in 2003, 11 years ago.   Perhaps Putin is getting his “gay facts” from the same Russian official who decided to translate “nontraditional [sexual] orientations” to “queers” in an official Russian Foreign Ministry report.

Russia’s race to the 19th century

What’s interesting about Putin’s latest barrage against gays is that he’s gone back in time and chosen a religious right “fact” that was debunked decades ago in the west.  This suggests that either Putin is a liar, or that Russia’s scientific and medical community is horribly backwards.  And even if Russia’s science communities aren’t backwards, and know that Putin is lying, Russia is so not-free that there is no way that the experts can publicly challenge Putin’s bizarre assertion without losing their jobs, at the very least, and possibly even their lives.

It’s also a sign of how far America’s religious right has infiltrated Russia.  With their prospects dimming in the states, as even Republicans are now embracing gay people, America’s “christian conservatives” have moved abroad, and are attempting to pass anti-gay legislation in Russia, Eastern  Europe and Africa.

Even Republican House Speaker John Boehner recently held a meeting in the US Capitol to look at Russia’s and Africa’s “best practices” for oppressing gays.  And the secretive GOP organization known as “The Family” has also been heavily involved in this area.

The real threat to children is Vladimir Putin and Russian homophobia

Of course, the real threat to Russian children has been the oppressive anti-gay atmosphere created by Putin and others in Russia in recent years.  Vigilante groups now operate freely in the country, where they kidnap young gay teens and torture them, on camera, then post the videos on Russia social media, while Russian authorities refuse to prosecute, even though they have clear images of the perpetrators on camera, and even their hometowns.

russia gay kidnap

15 year old gay Russian boy kidnapped, tortured and filmed by anti-gay vigilantes that the Russian government refused to arrest.

Putin also claimed in the interview that police do not pluck gays off the street in Russia.  No need for that when the neo-Nazis, who are in cahoots with the government, do it for you.

Russian vigilantes show off a young gay boy they claim to have abducted and then doused with urine after entrapping him via a gay social media site. Reports from Russia suggest the boy may now be dead.

Russian vigilantes show off a young gay boy they claim to have abducted and then doused with urine after entrapping him via a gay social media site. Reports from Russia suggest the boy may now be dead.

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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