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Putin assures West there are no restrictions on sexual minorities in Russia

September 19, 2013, 20:14 UTC+3

President emphasizes that law bans propaganda of homosexual relations among minors

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VALDAI, Novgorod Region, September 19 (Itar-Tass) - President Vladimir Putin assured the West that there were no restrictions on sexual minorities in Russia and said all concerns were excessive.

“No one is oppressed here because of his sex. There are no laws in Russia that punish sexual minorities for their orientation,” Putin said at the Valdai International Discussion Club on Thursday, September 19.

He said Russia had adopted a law that bans the propaganda of homosexual relations among minors.

Russia has recently adopted a law that bans homosexual propaganda. The law punishes homosexual propaganda by imposing fines of 4,000-5,000 rubles for individuals, 40,000-50,000 for officials, and 400,000-500,000 rubles for legal entities.

At the same time, the accompanying note says that administrative penalties will be charged not for the homosexual orientation of a person but for advertising homosexuality among children.

The law spurred a negative reaction in many countries and some hotheads even called for boycotting the Olympic Games in Sochi.

The issue appeared to have raised such a strong reaction abroad that Putin had to explain publicly on several occasions that there were no laws in Russia aimed against people with non-traditional sexual orientation.

He told Russia’s Channel One and the Associated Press that the law banning homosexual propaganda among minors aimed to improve the demographic situation in the country and would not have a negative impact on the Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.

“I hope there will be no negative consequences especially since we have no laws aimed against persons with non-traditional sexual orientation,” the president said.

He assured the journalists that “persons with non-traditional sexual orientation are not discriminated against in any way here either professionally or in terms or salary or even if they achieve some success in work, they are not discriminated against in terms of their recognition by the state, I mean awarding them orders and medals. They have absolutely equal rights as citizens of the Russian Federation.”

However “those who are trying to teach us, including some of our colleagues and friends in the United States, should know that the U.S. itself has a lot of problems with persons with non-traditional sexual orientation,” Putin said, adding that such orientation is still considered a criminal office in some states, specifically in Oklahoma and Texas. “If it’s really so, then we have a very strange situation where we are being taught by those who are not an example to follow themselves. Statistics indicate, some independent non-governmental organisations keep such statistics, and they insist - I am not saying that this is really so but they say that some American companies discriminate against persons with non-traditional sexual orientation by paying them smaller salaries. I’ve heard there are such statistics. But the fact that non-traditional sexual orientation is regarded an offence, such atavism has long been eliminated here,” the president said.

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